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Data: Investment Company Institute; Chart: Axios Visuals

One paradox of the recent bull-market run is that it has taken place in the face of consistent selling by investors in ETFs and mutual funds.

The big picture: Monthly flows from actively-managed stock-market funds have been negative for years, and while flows into passively-managed funds have been positive, they have generally been smaller.

Driving the news: Now, even passively-managed mutual funds and ETFs are seeing outflows. Data from the Investment Company Institute show about $17 billion per month leaving passive strategies in the past three months — something that has never happened before.

  • One possible explanation: A lot of passively-invested money is in target-date funds that periodically rebalance. The stock market rally could have forced those funds to sell some equities, just to keep their total stock-market allocation at the target percentage.

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Dec 13, 2020 - Economy & Business

Windfall IPO profits exceed dot-com bubble record

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

When is making billions of dollars easier than falling off a log? The answer: When giant Wall Street firms like BlackRock and Fidelity get allocated large chunks of stock in white-hot companies. The following day those shares end up being worth vastly more than the investors paid for them.

Why it matters: More money has been made this way in 2020 than in any prior year, even including the height of the dot-com bubble in 2000.

  • Major companies are postponing their IPOs as a result, worried that they'd effectively be giving billions of dollars away to undeserving investors.

Stark reminder for America's corporate leaders

Rosalind "Roz" Brewer is about to become only the second Black woman to permanently lead a Fortune 500 company. She starts as Walgreens CEO on March 15.

Why it matters: It's a stark reminder of how far corporate America's top decision-makers have to go during an unprecedented push by politicians, employees and even a stock exchange to diversify their top ranks.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Updated 48 mins ago - Technology

Apple's quarterly sales top $100 billion for first time

Credit: Apple

Spurred by strong sales of the latest iPhones, Apple reported it took in a record $111 billion in revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31, as the company crushed expectations.

Why it matters: The move showed even a pandemic didn't dull demand for Apple's latest smartphones.