Mutual Funds Still Dominate the Stock Market, But Here Come ETFs

Nobody owns more U.S. stocks than mutual funds. But with their position slipping, the question is how much longer can they control the market?

Mutual fund ownership of equities is at its lowest level in nearly 13 years, according to a research note from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Meanwhile, exchange-traded funds are becoming an even bigger force in the stock market, the team led by Chief U.S. Equity Strategist David Kostin pointed out.

“We expect mutual funds will remain net sellers of equities given investor outflows and low liquidity,” the researchers wrote, noting that the level of stock ownership by mutual funds has been slipping since 2016 after leveling off during the economic recovery.

Mutual funds sold a total of $117 billion in stocks in 2016, while corporations make $584 billion in net purchases through buybacks and ETFs made $188 billion. ETFs are a relatively new vehicle in the market, having

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