Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Investors pulled $153 billion out of mutual funds and ETFs for the week ending March 18, the largest outflows ever, data from the Investment Company Institute showed.

The state of play: The outflows were more than eight times higher than the previous week when investors pulled $19 billion from mutual funds and ETFs that included bond, equity, hybrid and commodity funds.

The intrigue: Investors pulled more money out of bond funds than out of stock funds by a magnitude of 10 to one, the data shows.

By the numbers: For mutual funds specifically, bonds saw their largest outflows ever, with investors pulling 1.9% of total January 2020 assets out of funds, ICI senior director of industry and financial analysis Shelly Antoniewicz tells Axios.

  • That was nearly double the previous high in percentage terms seen in October 2008 (1.1%) during the financial crisis.
  • The dollar value ($93 billion) pulled from bond mutual funds last week was more than five times the 2008 total ($18 billion).
  • Including bond ETFs, $114 billion was pulled out of bond funds during the week, according to ICI's data.

Quick take: The outflows from bonds likely reflect the fact that investors have loaded up on bond funds over the past two years. While equity funds saw their largest outflows on record in 2019, despite the S&P 500 gaining 30%, bond funds saw near record inflows.

Go deeper: Don't panic about the stock market

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Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
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