U.S. equity-based technology mutual funds had $1.1 billion in inflows in the week ended Sept. 20, marking the largest amount in 11 years. According to data from Lipper, the financial data company owned by Thomson Reuters, the VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF lured $420 million, marking the third-highest amount for the exchange-traded fund. Meanwhile, the iShares North American Tech-Software ETF had $176 million in inflows and the Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund had $138 million of inflows, reported Reuters.
Driving the growth in inflows in the semiconductor sector was NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA), the chipmaker whose stock is up 73% so far this year. Outside of a sell-off Thursday over concerns that Tesla Inc. (TSLA) is lessening its reliance on the chipmaker for its self-driving cars, the company has been hitting new highs all month long over bullishness about the company’s prospects in the artificial intelligence market. Indeed earlier this month Bank of America Merrill Lynch upped its price target on the stock to $210 from $185, thanks in large part to its position in the AI market, citing a “underappreciated transformation from a traditional PC graphics chip vendor, into a supplier into high end gaming, enterprise graphics, cloud, accelerated computing and automotive markets." (See also: NVIDIA’s AI Prospects Make BoA Even More Bullish.)
On the tech front, boosting inflows could be the launch of Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) latest iterations of the iPhone: the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X. The iPhone X represents a complete redesign with a curved OLED screen, a built-in AI chip and facial recognition to unlock the screen. It also comes with a price tag starting at $999. The iPhone X goes on sale on Nov. 3. Heading into the launch last week, shares of Apple were rising higher, which is traditionally the case when the company is gearing up to launch its latest phone. (See also: Apple: Slow iPhone 8 Sales May Not Be a Bad Thing.)
While technology stocks had a big week in terms of inflows into mutual funds it was bond funds that were the outperformers. According to the Lipper data, taxable bond mutual funds and ETFs brought in close to $219 billion this year alone. Meanwhile, financial sector funds pulled in $530 million in inflows, marking the biggest amount since July while real estate funds saw $407 million in outflows during the week ended Sept. 20, noted Reuters.