Retail investors notoriously buy high and sell low. But in the latest rout, it appears a number of mutual fund investors got the timing right, withdrawing their money prior to the market selloff of Aug. 8-12, according to Morningstar data. In July, investors pulled $22.9 billion out of U.S. stock funds, the greatest net redemptions since October 2008, the peak of the credit crisis, when outflows were $27.9 billion. And in June and July combined, investors pulled $40 billion from U.S. stock funds, Morningstar said. Maybe investors have learned their lesson from 2008.
“It shows how much on edge investors have been for a while,” said Kevin McDevitt, mutual fund analyst at Morningstar.
During the week ending Aug. 12, Morningstar estimates investors redeemed about $19 billion from mutual funds, excluding money market funds, including more than $6.5 billion from U.S. equity mutual funds. But this was not as dramatic as expected, and the resolution of the debt ceiling debate may have alleviated some investors' concerns heading into that week, McDevitt said. But he adds that investors have been pulling from U.S. stock funds for years, and that they've never really recovered, psychologically, from the financial crisis of 2008.