U.S. municipal bond funds report $698 million inflows: Lipper

Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:53pm EDT

(Reuters) - Net inflows into U.S. municipal bond funds dropped to $698 million in the week ended March 14 after reaching $1.2 billion -- the biggest inflow in more than two years -- in the previous week, according to data released by Lipper on Thursday.

Investors have been plowing money into muni funds for 15 straight weeks, and the four-week moving average was positive at about $785 million, said Lipper, a unit of Thomson Reuters.

Flows into high-yield muni funds were also lower, falling to $184.5 million versus nearly $291 million in the week ended March 7.

In contrast, flows into exchange-traded muni funds more than doubled to $57.5 million from $27 million in the previous week, Lipper reported.

On Thursday, BondDesk Group data for the week ended March 14 showed retail investors bought 2.3 bonds for each one they sold, up from a 2.2 buy/sell ratio in the previous week.

The total number of bonds bought was 67,563, while the number of bonds sold totaled 29,121. The data is based on odd-lot customer transactions of under 100 bonds.

(Reporting By Karen Pierog, additional reporting by Lisa Lambert in Washington)

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