| LONDON, Sept 24
LONDON, Sept 24 Banks and financials stocks have
had a pretty good year.
The Thomson Reuters Global Financials index
is up more than 20 percent in the last 12 months, and although
the aftershocks of the financial crisis still offer the odd
sting, investors are seeing bright spots for the
That confidence is increasingly obvious in the fund flows.
Thomson Reuters' Lipper tracks more than 7,000 mutual funds
and exchange-traded-funds (ETFs) which are dedicated to specific
industry sectors. Dig into the data in this subset of funds, and
you start to see where the biggest bets have been made.
Just shy of 500 of these funds focus wholly on banks and
financials. Together they hold more than $46 billion in assets.
Last month, they suffered a total net outflow of around $1
billion, according to Lipper. But on a one-year view, 10 months
of net inflows have driven an injection of over $10 billion.
The numbers are based on data available as of this week, and
there will be some funds missing from the sample, but it still
provides a useful snapshot of sentiment and amounts to a
concerted bet on the sector, particularly in the U.S. where the
bulk of assets in these single-sector funds are held.
The inflows equate to about 22 percent of the latest
published assets under management in the segment. ()
Cumulative gains or losses over the 12 months are shown in
the blue area. Monthly flows are shown by the red bars. Most of
the inflows have been into ETFs rather than mutual funds.
The banks & financial sector was by far the most popular,
both in absolute terms and relative to the assets held.
Cyclical consumer goods and services funds ()
managed a net inflow equivalent to about 18 percent of their
latest published assets over the 12 months, while biotech funds
and pharma/healthcare funds were at 15 percent and 10 percent
respectively. Pharma/healthcare was in second spot in absolute
terms, with a 12 month net inflow of $7.8 billion, while global
real estate () was third with $5.6
The global real estate equities sector was the most
consistent over the year, pulling in overall net inflows in 11
out of the 12 months, according to Lipper's estimates.
Information technology funds only managed net inflows
equivalent to 1.6 percent of assets over the 12 months in this
sample - well below the average for all 20 sectors, according to
the Lipper estimates.
But the last four months have been marked a resurgence and
the funds posted overall net inflows of more than $1.2 billion
in both May and July - the biggest monthly results since the
beginning of 2011 and a turnaround which hauled the sector back
into the black for the year. ()
Of course, equities are enjoying a long summer and a rising
tide lifts all boats - or at least it tries to.
Some sectors are still under water, and telecoms services
funds posted net outflows over the 12 months equal to 13 percent
of assets, suffering 10 down months in the process.
Gold and precious metals equity funds saw one of the
sharpest reversals, but it's noticeable that it pivoted on a
$1.4 billion net outflow in January as investors, whether by
luck or judgement, anticipated an about 20 percent fall in the
gold price since then. ()