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.

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Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Sep 29, 2020 - Economy & Business

Jerome Powell, Trump's re-election MVP

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios. Getty Images photos: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP and Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket

President Trump trails Joe Biden in most polls, has generally lower approval ratings and is behind in trust on most issues. Yet polls consistently give him an edge on the economy, which remains a top priority among voters.

Why it matters: If Trump wins re-election, it will largely be because Americans see him as the force rallying a still-strong U.S. economy, a narrative girded by skyrocketing stock prices and consistently climbing U.S. home values — but the man behind booming U.S. asset prices is really Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell.

Amy Harder, author of Generate
4 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Climate change goes mainstream in presidential debate

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty

The most notable part of Thursday’s presidential debate on climate change was the fact it was included as a topic and assumed as a fact.

The big picture: This is the first time in U.S. presidential history that climate change was a featured issue at a debate. It signals how the problem has become part of the fabric of our society. More extreme weather, like the wildfires ravaging Colorado, is pushing the topic to the front-burner.

Finally, a real debate

Photo: Morry Gash/AP

A more disciplined President Trump held back from the rowdy interruptions at tonight's debate in Nashville, while making some assertions so outlandish that Joe Biden chuckled and even closed his eyes. A Trump campaign adviser told Axios: "He finally listened." 

The result: A real debate.