Fund investors pull back from U.S. stocks as year-end nears


NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. fund investors started closing the books on 2019 by withdrawing more than $10.9 billion from mutual funds and exchange-traded funds that hold domestic stocks last week, the largest pullback since early October, according to Investment Company Institute data released on Wednesday.

The declines marked the 10th out of the last 12 weeks that investors have retreated from the U.S. stock market despite the benchmark S&P 500 touching a series of record highs.

The index is up more than 27% for the year to date, notching its best performance since the slightly more than 29% annual gain in 2013, thanks in part to the Federal Reserve’s decision to keep interest rates low.

Investors pulled back from foreign stocks as well, withdrawing nearly $1.3 billion from the category. Instead, they continued to seek the perceived safety of bonds, which have rallied in anticipation that the Fed will not raise rates unless the central bank sees signs of persistent inflation.

Bond funds took in nearly $10.2 billion in inflows, pushing the year to date gain for the category to nearly $333.4 billion.

Reporting by David Randall; Editing by Richard Chang



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