Global equity funds see 4th week of outflows on slowdown worries

(This May 12 story has been corrected to change the inflation-linked bonds’ outflows to $125.3 million from $268 billion in paragraph 13)

By Patturaja Murugaboopathy

(Reuters) – Global equity funds witnessed a fourth successive weekly outflow in the week ended May 10, hit by deadlock over the U.S. debt ceiling and lingering worries over an economic slowdown.

According to Refinitiv Lipper, global equity funds saw $4.9 billion worth of outflows, which was the fourth consecutive outflow. U.S. equity funds had outflows worth $5.7 billion, and Asia and European funds had modest inflows of $1.1 billion and $0.59 billion, respectively.

Among sector funds, financials led with outflows worth $1.5 billion, while real estate and energy sector funds had net sales worth $446 million and $376 million, respectively.

Analysts said wrangling between Republicans and Democrats over the debt limit ceiling could hurt the U.S. economy, and if the standoff actually triggers a debt default, it could wipe out billions worth of money from equities.

U.S. inflation data released on Wednesday showed a weakening of price pressures, but analysts are still wary.

U.S. consumer price inflation for April coming below expectations doesn’t mean investors should position for another run of equity market outperformance, said Mark Haefele, the chief investment officer of global wealth management at UBS.

“In fact, we think the picture for equities looks more challenging, as a higher bar has been set for incremental performance at current elevated valuations,” he said.

“In our view, the risk-reward for high-quality bonds appears more attractive, and we believe the time is right to build up a diversified fixed income exposure to add stability to investment returns.”

Global bond funds attracted $3.4 billion worth of money in the week, which was its third consecutive inflow.

Government bond funds obtained $3.01 billion, while high-yield bond funds and inflation-linked bond funds had outflows worth $1.5 billion and $125.3 million, respectively.

Global money market funds continued to attract inflows for a third consecutive week, receiving $10.8 billion.

“We suspect money market fund flows may remain strong until the US debt ceiling showdown is resolved, confidence in regional bank stability returns and uncertainty regarding a possible US recession and downward earnings revisions is reduced,” said Kendall Dilley, portfolio manager at Vineyard Global Advisors.

Data for 23,973 emerging market funds showed investors received a net $838 million worth of equity funds but exited a net $622 million worth of bond funds.

(Reporting By Patturaja Murugaboopathy; Editing by Christina Fincher)


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