Asset Flow Watch: First Quarter 2017

Contributed by: Jaclyn Jackson Jaclyn Jackson

The U.S. economy showed improvement, even before last year’s election, and data since continues to trend well. Overall, consumer confidence and optimism remained high with the Trump administration policy most of the first quarter. One of the most common ways to monitor consumer confidence and investor sentiment is to watch fund inflows and outflows. Market analysts use fund flows to measure investor sentiment within asset classes, sectors, or markets. This information (combined with other economic indicators) helps savvy investors identify trends and determine potential investment opportunities.

Asset Flows: What Investors Did This Quarter

This quarter, investor demand increased in global stocks and taxable bonds. While at a slower pace, the Trump agenda (lower taxes, infrastructure spending, deregulation, etc.) continued to lure investors into US equities. In February, US equities saw double the flows they’d received in January (reflecting fewer outflows from active managers). Hopeful economic data from Europe generated inflows for international equities, which primarily went to passive strategies. Yet, the most divergent trend from 2016’s fourth quarter is that fixed income flows started a comeback with a favor toward taxable bonds, specifically, intermediate term bonds. In spite of looming rate-hikes, March 31st ended as fixed income’s twelfth consecutive week of inflows.

Forward Steps

We’ve witnessed post-election equity runs correlated with the anticipation of “business-beneficial” tax and regulation reform. Nonetheless, the House’s inability to repeal/replace the Affordable Care Act leaves doubt that the Trump agenda will progress as expected. Late 2016’s boost in stock returns could have overweighed portions of your equity allocation. At the same time, you may have also noticed a decrease or underweight to your bond allocation. Consider rebalancing back to your target allocation. In the face of Trump agenda uncertainty, rebalancing should help protect recent capital growth accumulation. As always, if you have questions or concerns when it comes to your portfolio, we are always happy to help!

Jaclyn Jackson is a Portfolio Administrator and Financial Associate at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.®

This information does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material; it has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Jaclyn Jackson and are not necessarily those of Raymond James. This information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making and investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Investing involves risk, investors may incur a profit or loss regardless of the strategy or strategies employed. International investing involves special risks, including currency fluctuations, differing financial accounting standards, and possible political and economic volatility. Investing in emerging markets can be riskier than investing in well-established foreign markets. Rebalancing a non-retirement account could be a taxable event that may increase your tax liability. Asset allocation does not ensure a profit or guarantee against loss. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.