Investors spooked by the stock market's recent volatility are pulling their cash out of mutual funds! The end of the bull market is nigh!
Well, maybe not.
The great controversy over whether funds are still getting new cash intensified today, after
AMG Data Services
, Arcata, Calif., reported that investors jerked an estimated $3 billion out of U.S. stock mutual funds in the week ended Dec. 11. Traders have watched flows in and out of funds intensely in the last two years, since the more than
shareholders have invested through funds this year is viewed as a major factor for the S&P's 20% gain this year.
But shortly after their morning release, rumors began to circulate the AMG figures were wrong. But the company stood by its report: "The numbers are correct," says an AMG spokesman.
Meanwhile, a competing fund-watch letter claimed that the industry received net inflows--not outflows as AMG claimed--in the last week. "I would be very surprised if the outflows were that large," says Carl Wittnebert, managing editor of the
Mutual Funds Trim Tabs
, a California newsletter. "Any figure for December is somewhat speculative because you have to estimate the dividend reinvestment rate."
Trim Tabs saw solid inflows during the first nine days of December, and the newsletter is predicting that new money will flow strongly into funds "the week after Christmas," when shareholders won't have to worry about getting socked with capital-gains taxes on newly bought shares, Wittnebert says. For the entire month of December, Trim Tabs expects flows higher somewhere between November's $15 billion and October's $11 billion.
By Alex Berenson