In August, open-end mutual funds experienced their largest outflows in almost three years while exchange traded funds held on and even attracted slight inflows.

According to Morningstar research, $32.5 billion was funneled out of mutual funds during August, the largest monthly outflow since November 2008, reports Andrew Osterland for InvestmentNews. Almost every asset class was down.

“It’s the continuation of a long trend of investors’ not wanting to take on risk anywhere,” Kevin McDevitt, a Morningstar mutual fund analyst, remarked. [Investors Drain Cash from Equity Mutual Funds]

ETFs saw slightly positive fund flows, totaling $947 million over the month.

“There is a flow of assets from the mutual fund structure to ETFs on some level. They are convenient and adaptable, and the pattern of growth doesn’t show signs of slowing,” Abraham Bailin, a Morningstar ETF analyst, commented.

International equities ETFs experienced the largest outflows of $5.5 billion. Commodity ETF fund flows were relatively flat, with the exception of a $1.9 billion outflow from the popular SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca: GLD) and new inflows of $614 into iShares COMEX Gold Trust (NYSEArca: IAU).

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