Biotech Mutual Funds, Mutual Fund Flows, Bond Funds

October 17 Roundup: Mutual Fund News & Opinion

An Opening for Biotech Mutual Funds?

biotech mutual funds

What a surprise! Some drug companies discovered that increasing the price of a life-saving drug by hundreds of percent in one swoop will alienate customers and regulators. Biotech stocks, and biotech mutual funds, have suffered as a result of these ill-considered price increases. For example, the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (NASDAQ: IBB) has lost 16% this year.

But an article in Fox Business, The Big Reason You Shouldn’t Give Up on Big-Cap Biotech, obviously has a more optimistic take on the sector,

“Undeniably, biotech investing is risky, and past success doesn’t guarantee future success. But studies have proven time and time again that long-haul thinking outperforms short-term trading, and that suggests that rather than selling big-cap biotechs like Gilead Sciences, Celgene, and Regeneron, you might want to be buying.”

The article argues that these names each have major catalysts that could do good things for shareholders in the future.

The same thinking holds for biotech mutual funds with these and other big names; there may be brighter days ahead if you can be patient. This is not a recommendation, just a heads-up on a future opportunity.

Mutual Fund Flows

mutual fund flows

It’s not a terribly big deal for most of us, but worth knowing about nonetheless: mutual fund flows.

A company called Lippers (now part of Thomson Reuters), tracks the amount of money flowing into and out of mutual funds. That includes not only mutual funds as a whole, but different sectors such as large cap, emerging market, healthcare and so on. Here’s an example, by way of an article on the Lipper website,

“Thomson Reuters Lipper’s fund macro-groups (including both mutual funds and exchange-traded funds [ETFs]) suffered for the fund-flows week ending Wednesday, October 5, their worst weekly net outflows of 2016. The total negative flows of $34.4 billion surpassed the previous amount of $33.3 billion for the fund-flows week ending March 31, 2016. This past week’s outflows were driven by money market funds (-$28.5 billion) and equity funds (-$9.1 billion). Taxable bond mutual funds (+$2.9 billion) and municipal bond funds (+$325 million) were both able to take in net new money for the week, somewhat reducing the overall net outflows.”

As I say, it’s not really a big deal, but worth knowing that big picture stuff like this can affect our individual mutual funds in a minor way.

As we can imagine, when more money is flowing in than flowing out, demand is increasing so prices will go up; on the other side of the coin, when demand for mutual funds goes down (by way of more money flowing out than in, then prices will go down).

In most cases, the difference it will make to our fund prices may be imperceptible, but mutual fund flows and there in the background.

Bond Funds Even More Attractive

bond funds

Speaking of mutual fund flows, up comes an article about a major inflow to bond funds.

A Reuters article posted at CNBC reports,

“Investors shoveled $11.4 billion into bond funds in the past week indicating a persistent “lust for yield,” Bank of America/Merrill Lynch (BAML) said on Friday, with rumors of a potential European Central Bank tapering not yet impacting flows.

“Bond markets were spooked by a media report on Tuesday that the European Central Bank (ECB) will probably wind down its 80-billion-euro monthly bond purchases gradually before ending its quantitative easing program.”

Bond funds give us a share in the ownership of bonds issued by governments and bigger corporations. A bond, of course, is another word for a debt, in the big leagues. When governments or corporations borrow money, they issue bonds, which are a promise to repay the debt by or on a certain date, and to pay a specified amount of interest until that date.

Because bonds are generally safer than stocks, they make form the foundation of many retirement plans. They do not yield as much as stocks, but are less volatile and less likely to leave investors with reduced holdings.

The Writer & Curator

Robert F. Abbotttop mutual funds is a freelance writer; see his profiles and analyses of value stocks at GuruFocus.com . He is also the author of Big Macs & Our Pensions: Who Gets McDonald’s Profits?

In this book, you will:

  • Discover the Ownership Revolution, and what it means to your retirement funding.
  • Find out how much of your lunch bill is a profit for McDonald’s, and who gets those profits.
  • Learn how corporate profits fuel one of the greatest social programs ever developed.

Click here to read a free preview at Amazon.com