The final week of May ended with US lawmakers voting to lift the country’s debt ceiling, markets assigning a one-in-three chance that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in mid-June and the price of oil testing 18-month lows. Against this backdrop, flows into all EPFR-tracked Equity Funds hit a 17-week high on the back of record-setting inflows to Technology Sector Funds and China Equity Funds absorbed nearly $5 billion.
Debt ceiling no obstacle for US Bond Funds
Amidst increasingly stark warnings of economic chaos if the current standoff over the US federal debt ceiling is not resolved, EPFR-tracked US Bond Funds pulled in another $8.1 billion going into the final week of May as they recorded their 21st consecutive inflow.
Market Insights: Retail flows
During this session, Quantitative Analyst Azalea Micottis showed how EPFR’s fund flows data can work with retail flows to uncover key insights for investors.
The best defense is a good Chinese economy
Worries about the impact a two-pronged credit squeeze, driven by quantitative tightening and the pressure on regional bank loan books, will have on the US economy kept investors in a defensive frame of mind during the week ending May 17.
Off the wires: Bank turmoil is paving the way for even bigger ‘shadow banks’
Turmoil in the US banking industry has persisted into the second quarter, with interest rate hikes, skittish depositors and the scramble for tighter regulation heaping more pressure on major banks. These constraints, as the New York Times suggests, could cause businesses to look elsewhere for loans. Hence, there is a chance that borrowers turn to non-traditional banking or “shadow banking” options that are less constrained by existing regulations. But where does this present an opportunity for investors? In Money Market Funds that invest primarily in short-term, low-risk debt.
Off the wires: Investors bet on shrinking pool of tech stocks as rally narrows
Year-to-date the American S&P 500 index has rallied by over 7.5%. However, with a large proportion of these gains driven by just seven technology names, just how sustainable this trend has become is a hot topic among investors. This effect has been exacerbated in recent weeks as the 1Q23 earnings season results proved more fruitful for tech companies relative to other US sectors.
Banking on more pain ahead
A recession in the second half of the year, triggered by the impact of current interest rates on the real estate sector and the banks that lend to it, is a fearful scenario for investors. This was reflected in the flows for EPFR-tracked Sector Funds during the week ending May 10, with a combined $3.8 billion redeemed from Financial, Real Estate, Energy and Commodities Sector Funds.
Off the wires: Bitcoin is one year away from a major technical event. History suggests the start of another bull run
Bitcoin’s next “halving” is expected to take place in 2024. These events take place when Bitcoin miners have added 210,000 “blocks” to the blockchain leger and are marked by a halving of the Bitcoins that miners get for adding each block. Given the implications for future supplies of Bitcoin, these ‘halvings’ usually push Bitcoin’s price significantly higher, both in the run up to the event and for several months afterwards. This time around seems – so far – to be conforming to the pattern: Bitcoin’s price has risen steadily in recent weeks.
When ETF flows confound expectations
From time to time, EPFR’s clients alert us to anomalous flows into exchange traded funds (ETFs) that occur on a specific day and for a specific fund. Given our awareness of these types of flows, and the granularity of our databases, EPFR’s quant team decided it was high time they dove into our ETF database and conducted a systematic analysis of these events.
Off the wires: Google launches Bard chatbot to rival OpenAI’s ChatGPT
In late November 2022, OpenAI launched ChatGPT – an AI driven chatbot that can answer complex questions and handle almost any topic. A couple of months later, Microsoft (who is the primary investor) added a similar function to its Office suite. As more and more companies delve into the artificial intelligence world, we take a look at AI funds using our EPFR Stock Barometer tool: is AI going to be the next bubble for investors?