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401(k) trading activity surged at the end of February amid the sharp market sell-off caused by concerns over COVID-19 (often referred to as the coronavirus). The last week of the month was among the busiest 5-day stretches in the more than 20-year history of the Alight Solutions 401(k) Index™—surpassed by only a few weeks in 2008 and the week immediately following the market’s re-opening after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Even though almost all trades in February were from equity funds to fixed income ones, investors increased the equity allocation of their new contributions indicating that they remained bullish on the market in general.
Inflows and outflows during February:
February investment portfolios:
February market observations:
Equity indices struggled in February with international equities (represented by the MSCI All Country World ex-U.S. Index) losing -7.9%, large U.S. equities (represented by the S&P 500 Index) dropping -8.2% and small U.S. equities (represented by the Russell 2000 Index) falling -8.4%. However, U.S. bonds (represented by the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Index) stayed positive, gaining 1.8%.
Members of the media: please contact Landis Cullen for questions about the Alight Solutions 401(k) Index™. Learn more about the Alight Solutions 401(k) Index™ here.
A “normal” level of relative transfer activity is when the net daily movement of participants’ balances as a percent of total 401(k) balances within the Alight Solutions 401(k) Index™ equals between 0.3 times and 1.5 times the average daily net activity of the preceding 12 months. A “high” relative transfer activity day is when the net daily movement exceeds two times the average daily net activity. A “moderate” relative transfer activity day is when the net daily movement is between 1.5 and two times the average daily net activity of the preceding 12 months.
Target date funds also include the amounts in target risk funds. The amount in the target risk funds is less than 10% of the total.