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ETF Flows Suggest Bulls see Room to run Despite Lofty Valuations

ETF Flows Suggest Bulls see Room to run Despite Lofty Valuations

2018-09-21 22:00:00
Peter Hanks, Analyst

Talking Points:

  • As trade war concerns ease, investors load up on exposure to US equities
  • A strong week for the S&P 500 and Dow resulted in closing prices near record levels on Friday
  • Friday flows are not included in the data, eliminating any ‘quad witching’ impact

In a week where US household wealth gapped up to $123 trillion, investors continued to pour money into exchange traded funds that track US indices. The three main markets shrugged off trade war fears and pressed higher, with the exception of the NASDAQ. Still, demand for the tech-heavy index was similarly robust.

ETF Flows Suggest Bulls see Room to run Despite Lofty Valuations

The chart above contains the aggregate flows for three of the largest ETFs that track US indices. Equity strength was largely drawn from the underwhelming impact of trade wars. While the Dow was somewhat driven by rising crude prices. Together, net flows saw roughly $11 billion in cash enter the funds.

Increased exposure comes at a time when the indexes approach record levels and confidence in the economy is equally high. Last week, small business confidence hit a 35-year high and then ISM manufacturing boasted the highest levels since 2004. Further, a leading indicator in consumer confidence also hit an 18-year high in August. Next week, join me for a live webinar covering the data release for September’s consumer confidence.

Next week will also mark the end of the third quarter as we look to enter the fourth with record confidence and equity valuations. With that in mind, the data above left out Friday’s fund flows. Index overseers conducted ‘Quad witching’ on Friday, rebalancing indexes and modifying some sector compositions. The rebalancing often results in unusual volatility and volume, potentially distorting conclusions drawn from the above. In next week’s report, the data will be included and accounted for.

--Written by Peter Hanks, Junior Analyst for

Contact and follow Peter on Twitter @PeterHanksFX

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