According to the Financial Research Corporation, stock and bond funds experienced net inflows of $32.7 billion in March. International/global equity-objective funds had net inflow of $18.6 billion, followed by corporate-focused funds with $11.7 billion. Fidelity Series High Income attracted $8.6 billion to lead the fund sales chart. FRC’s fund-flows data includes ETFs and excludes money market funds in its universe of mutual funds. The top fund families tracked by FRC, based on assets as of March 31, were Vanguard, American Funds, Fidelity, BlackRock and PIMCO. This includes ETF assets but not fund-of-funds assets.
Boston-based FRC’s data differs only slightly from that of Morningstar, which noted in its most recent report: “The pace of long-term inflows slowed slightly to $27.0 billion in March from nearly $28 billion in February, due largely to a drop off in U.S. stock flows.”
International-stock funds took in $6 billion, says Chicago-based Morningstar. “That was driven by nearly $2.7 billion in emerging-market inflows, after the category had experienced anomalous, modest outflows the previous month,” wrote CFA Kevin McDevitt, an analyst and editorial director.
Taxable bonds slightly surpassed February’s haul with $18 billion in inflows, as bank-loan funds led the way with $4.3 billion, he adds, while municipal-bond outflows slowed for a third consecutive month with less than $2.6 billion in outflows. Meanwhile, more than $40 billion has vacated municipal-bond funds over the last five months, which represents 7.8 percent of total assets. Demand for alternative and commodity funds remained steady with $1.1 billion and $1.8 billion, respectively, in inflows. Also, money market funds saw $12.5 billion in net outflows — which were roughly even between taxable and tax-free offerings.
In its monthly analysis, Morningstar reports that the Templeton Global Bond continued to lead all funds in March with nearly $1.9 billion in estimated inflows. “This shows investors’ interest in finding a hot hand, but also in diversifying out of the crumbling dollar,” said McDevitt in a press release. With more than $52 billion in U.S. assets, the fund is nearly five times the size it was two years ago.