$9B ETF flip-flop shows unease over stocks
Investors can’t seem to make up their minds on whether U.S. stocks are headed for new highs — or poised for a correction.
Traders poured almost $5 billion into the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO) on Friday, the biggest one-day inflow for the $138 billion fund since its inception in 2010, data compiled by Bloomberg show. But just three days after that vote of confidence, more than $3.7 billion exited the $307 billion SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY), which follows the same broad index of large American companies.
A flight to safety that saw ETFs of short-term bonds and utilities add cash as coronavirus dominated headlines has given way to a vigorous rally. Stocks jumped Tuesday, augmenting the best two-day surge for the S&P 500 since October, while 10-year Treasury yields climbed the most in almost two months. That has investors struggling to decide whether they want to sit on the sidelines or go all-in.
“The best days occur near the worst days,” said Michael Antonelli, market strategist at Baird. “Macro shocks such as a pandemic can have a dramatic impact on the market but, if we used history as a guide, the impact is usually limited to the early stages.”
The S&P 500, which both VOO and SPY track, rose 1.6% as of 1:25 p.m. in New York on Tuesday. The gauge is about 1% off a record, after sliding almost 4%.