Morningstar has released a report on mutual fund and ETF flows during February — when the United States was just beginning to take coronavirus action and the market woke up to it.
Today the S&P 500 stands around 2,400, dramatically lower than it had been at its highs of around 3,400 on Feb. 18. When the market started falling, redemptions started rising. According to Morningstar:
- In February, U.S. equity funds lost $17.5 billion, while actively managed equity funds saw $20 billion in redemptions. Further, a record $27.8 billion flowed out of the SPDR S&P 500 ETF.
- Much of the equity outflows went into taxable-bond funds, which had $23.3 billion in inflows for the month. Morningstar noted that long-term government bonds had their strongest inflows since early 2019.
- Liquid assets saw huge inflows as investors moved to cash equivalents. Money market funds had $31.4 billion in inflows. The firm noted that this was the first time since October 2019 that money market funds got more in assets than long-term funds, which saw $25.5 billion in inflows.
- Overall in February, where assets were held led with U.S. equities at $8.5 billion, taxable bonds at $4.6 billion, and money market funds at $3.6 billion.
Actively managed funds overall saw an inflow of $11.7 billion, with active taxable-bond and municipal bond funds leading the way with inflows of $24 billion and $9.7 billion respectively.
On the passive side, there was a net inflow of $13.8 billion, with international equity above far above other categories with almost $11 billion in inflows.
As far as bond funds, intermediate core-plus bond saw greatest net inflows, with the ultrashort bond and short-term bond following. High-yield bonds saw a net $2 billion in outflows.