A popular article making the rounds this week is a story from Bloomberg about how U.S. investors have missed nearly $200 billion of stock gains since 2009 as they avoid the market after the financial crisis.
However, in ETFs, the buying patterns tell a different story. Yes, bond ETFs have been popular this year with many nervous investors opting for safety and avoiding stocks. In the U.S., taxable bond ETFs have gathered $48 billion year to date through November, according to Morningstar.
However, ETF investors haven’t abandoned stocks. U.S. equity ETFs have taken in $30.2 billion so far in 2012, sector stock ETFs have gathered $27.7 billion and international equity ETFs have pulled in $31.9 billion.
According to the Bloomberg story, Americans missed out on almost $200 billion in stock gains as investors pulled money out of the bull rally. Since March 2009, the average allocation to stocks in retirement funds fell 0.5%, whereas the allocations typically rose 8.2% in rallies since 1990.
“Our biggest liability in the stock market has been the total destruction to confidence,” James Paulsen, the chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management, said in the Bloomberg article. “There’s just so much evidence of this recovery broadening.” [2012 was the Year of the Bond ETF]