U.S. equities are bouncing back from their 2018 fourth-quarter doldrums, but the majority of capital is flowing into exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and buybacks, according to data from Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
ETFs received $854 million just last week–a $168 million jump from the previous week. Buybacks accounted for a record-pacing $1.4 billion, which represents a 58 percent increase year-over-year based on the data.
These inflows come as investors exited single stocks to the tune of almost $1.5 billion between Feb. 25 and March 1.
“The fund flows show you that, while we’ve had a solid recovery off the Dec. 24 lows, the participation rate — both institutionally and by retail investors — has not been there,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities. “You’re seeing this V-shaped recovery in markets and yet positioning is still very light.”
Retail Investors Shed Stocks Everywhere
The highest institutional inflows into ETFs were primarily in every sector, except consumer staples, communication services and industrials. Meanwhile, retail investors have been buying up ETFs in all sectors, but financials and consumer discretionary.