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Where Investors Put Their Money in 2018

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Where Investors Put Their Money in 2018

Where Investors Put Their Money in 2018

For most investors, 2018 was both an eventful and frustrating year.

Between the looming threat of trade wars and growing geopolitical uncertainty, the market also skipped a beat. Volatility took center stage, and the S&P 500 finished in negative territory for the first time in 10 years.

Although many asset classes finished in negative territory, a look at fund flows – essentially where investors put their money – helps paint a more intricate picture of the year for investors.

Visualizing 2018 Fund Flows

Today’s infographic comes to us from New York Life Investments, and it visualizes the flows in and out of U.S. funds for 2018.

It not only shows when investors poured money into mutual funds or ETFs, but it also breaks down these funds by various categorizations. For example, when did people buy funds that held U.S. equities, and when did they buy funds that primarily held money market securities?

Let’s dive into the data, to take a deeper look.

Mutual Funds vs. ETFs

For another year in a row, ETFs gained ground on mutual funds:

Type of Fund2018 Fund FlowsTotal Assets (End of Year)
ETFs+$238.4 billion$3.4 trillion (17.2%)
Mutual Funds-$91.3 billion$16.3 trillion (82.8%)

However, despite growing for another year, ETFs still make up a smaller part of the overall fund universe.

Flows by Asset Class Group

Every fund gets classified by Morningstar based on the types of assets it holds.

For example, a fund that focuses on holding fast-growing, large tech companies in the U.S. would be classified broadly as “U.S. Equity”, and more specifically as “U.S. Equity – Large Growth”.

Here’s how flows went, within these broader groups:

Fund Category GroupTotal Assets ($mm)Growth in 2018
Allocation$ 1,171,166-5.9%
Alternative$ 203,343-5.7%
Commodities$ 88,9392.4%
International Equity$ 2,787,4003.1%
Money Market$ 2,879,5106.2%
Municipal Bonds$ 795,1320.9%
Sector Equity$ 816,149-3.7%
Taxable Bonds$ 3,747,2683.5%
U.S. Equity$ 7,173,9020.0%

Investors pulled money from Allocation, Alternative, and Sector Equity funds, while rotating into Money Market and Taxable Bonds categories. These latter assets are considered safer, and this shift is not surprising considering the market volatility towards the end of the year.

Also interesting here is that U.S. Equity – the biggest category overall by total assets – saw equal amounts of inflows and outflows, ending with a 0.0% change on the year.

U.S. Equity: A Closer Look

U.S. Equity ended the year with zero change, but it’s also the biggest and broadest category.

Let’s break it down further – first, we’ll look at what happened to flows by market capitalization (small, mid, and large cap stocks):

Market CapitalizationAssetsGrowth (2018)
Large Caps$5.6 trillion0.2%
Mid Caps$884 billion-2.5%
Small Caps$672 billion1.7%

Investment in funds that held large cap stocks increased by 0.2%, while the money allocated to small caps rose by 1.7% over 2018. Interestingly, investors pulled money out of mid caps (-2.5%).

Now, let’s look at U.S. Equity by type of strategy:

Fund StrategyAssetsGrowth (2018)
Growth$2.0 trillion-2.1%
Value$1.4 trillion-2.8%
Blend$3.8 trillion2.2%

According to these flows, investors pulled money from funds focused solely on value or growth, while instead preferring funds that were a blend of the two strategies.

International Equities

Finally, let’s see the types of international funds that investors bought and sold over 2018.

RegionGrowth (2018)
China35.5%
Diversified Emerging Markets4.9%
Latin America4.3%
Foreign/World3.9%
Diversified Asia/Pacific-5.6%
Pacific/Asia ex-Japan-7.1%
Japan-9.0%
India-11.3%
Europe-23.4%

Investors eschewed funds that had a primary focus on European, Indian, and Japanese markets, while piling into funds that held Chinese equities. Meanwhile, Latin America and emerging markets also got some love from investors.

Conclusion

While 2018 was an eventful year for markets, this recap shows that investors are adjusting their portfolios accordingly.

Where will investors put their money in 2019?

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Markets

40 Stock Market Terms That Every Beginner Should Know

Getting a grasp on the market can be a daunting task for new investors, but this infographic is an easy first step to help in understanding stock market terms.

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40 Stock Market Terms That Every Beginner Should Know

Understanding the stock market can be a daunting task for any new investor.

Not only are there many concepts and technical terms to decipher, but nearly everybody will try to give you conflicting pieces of advice.

For example, if a stock in your portfolio falls in price, should you be accumulating additional shares at a lower price or should you be strategically cutting your losses?

Some experts will tell you one thing, while others will tell you precisely the opposite.

A Place to Start: Terminology

Before you drift into the many debates that the investing pundits are weighing in on, perhaps the most proactive step for a beginner is to simply learn to talk the same language as the pros.

Today’s infographic comes to us from StocksToTrade.com, and it covers the most important stock market terms that every new investor should know and understand. It’s enough to get any beginner on the same playing field, so they can start toying with the more nuanced or complex concepts in the investing universe.

While we don’t agree with the exact definitions of all of the terms, the list is adequate enough to get any new investor off the ground. It covers basic order terms like “bid”, “ask”, and “volume”, but it also goes into concepts like “authorized shares”, “secondary offerings”, “yield”, and a security’s “moving average”.

What’s Next?

Already got a handle on 40 of the most important stock market terms?

Visual Capitalist has a ton of other powerful visual resources for new investors, or anyone else hungry to learn about how markets work:

Crush the above resources, and you’ll be market savvy in no time!

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Gold

A Brief History of Jewelry Through the Ages

Jewelry has been coveted for centuries by many different cultures. Here’s a look at the history of jewelry, and how it’s evolved into a $348B industry.

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Jewelry has been an integral aspect of human civilization for centuries, but it was the discovery and subsequent spread of precious metals and gemstones which really changed the game.

In today’s infographic from Menē, we visualize how the uses and symbolism of jewelry have evolved across time and space to become the industry we’re familiar with today.

Antique, Yet Ageless

There isn’t a single corner of the world that’s untouched by the influence of jewelry.

  • Ancient Egypt
    Gold accompanied the affluent into the afterlife – the famous 1922 discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb was filled to the brim with gold jewelry.
  • Ancient Greece and Rome
    Jewelry was used practically, and as a protection against evil. The gold olive wreath design was highly popular during this time.
  • Mesopotamia
    Both men and women in the Sumer civilization wore intricate pieces of jewelry, incorporating bright gems like agate, jasper, or lapis lazuli.
  • Meso-America
    The aristocracy in Aztec culture wore gold jewelry with gemstones to demonstrate their rank. The jewelry also doubled up as godly sacrifices.
  • Ancient India
    The Mughal Empire introduced the combination of gemstones with gold and silver. Today, pure gold jewelry is often gifted to new brides for financial security.
  • Ancient China
    Both rich and poor wore jade jewelry for its durable and protective properties. Pure gold jewelry is making a fashion comeback, doubling as a form of investment.

Modern Jewelry: At a Crossroads

Today, jewelry is at once the very same and vastly different from what it used to be.

The industry is worth upwards of $348 billion per year, and it’s not hard to see why. As an alternative asset, jewelry has grown 138% in value over the last decade – only outperformed by classic cars, rare coins, and fine wine.

However, perceptions of jewelry vastly differ. It’s not a stretch to say that Western jewelry buyers are enamored with diamonds, given their enduring association with special occasions – but it’s interesting to note how that ideal was fabricated.

The Invention of Diamonds

The De Beers Group is well known for making diamonds great again. In the early 1900s, the company had already monopolized the diamond trade and stabilized the market, but they faced the challenge of marketing diamonds to consumers at all income levels.

The average American considered diamonds an extravagance, preferring to spend money on cars and appliances instead. The concept of engagement rings existed, but weren’t widely adopted. The #1 slogan of the century – “A Diamond is Forever” – transformed all that.

Even as more companies like Tiffany and Co and Cartier entered the playing field, De Beers had set a successful industry standard. But there’s a catch – diamonds are actually:

  • Not all that rare in nature
  • Intrinsically low in value
  • Easily replicated in a lab
  • Decreasing in sales

Despite these caveats, the popularity of diamonds illustrate how Western consumers do not approach jewelry in the same way as Eastern economies, where its function as a store of wealth persists.

The Eastern Gold Standard

In Eastern economies, jewelry often takes the form of pure gold. The reasons behind this difference are surprisingly pragmatic: gold is considered a secure and innate store of wealth that maintains its purchasing value over decades, allowing families to pass wealth from generation to generation.

The rich history of the precious metal has made it a sought-after commodity for centuries, and China and India drive more than half of global gold jewelry demand every year:

YearShare of Demand (India + China)Total Global Jewelry Demand (tonnes)
201457%2510 tonnes
201558%2426 tonnes
201655%2068 tonnes
201757%2201 tonnes
201858%2200 tonnes

Source: Gold Hub – Values have been rounded up to the nearest tonne.

Why are Eastern cultures so attracted to the properties of pure gold?

Part 2 of this series will show why gold is the world’s most incredible metal, and why it’s coveted by billions of people.

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