The economy is showing signs of life and the average investor is starting to test the equities market again, but large institutional investors have been pulling out of U.S. stock exchange traded funds, according to the latest weekly data.

According to Thomson Reuters’ Lipper service, U.S. equity funds experienced net outflows of $3.8 billion in the week ended March 8, reports Daniel Bases for Reuters. If ETFs were excluded from the total tally, U.S. equity funds saw $1.3 billion in inflows for the week. This means ETFs contributed heavily to the outflows. [Are Stock ETFs Still Cheap After Rally?]

SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: SPY) experienced net outflows of $2.7 billion, the worst among ETFs. Over the week, ETFs lost over $5 billion.

“Considering we had quasi bad news in the markets it is not unexpected that there were outflows,” Tom Roseen, head of research services at Lipper, said in the report.

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