Equity funds lose most since start of the year: ICI

NEW YORK Wed Apr 4, 2012 4:33pm EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. mutual fund investors withdrew the most money from equity funds since the start of the year while remaining in bond funds during a choppy week for the U.S. stock market, data from the Investment Company Institute showed on Wednesday.

Equity funds had an estimated $4.43 billion in net redemptions in the week ended March 28, the most since $8.77 billion in redemptions in the week ended January 4, according to ICI, a U.S. mutual fund trade organization. The previous week also saw net redemptions from equity funds, estimated at $1.08 billion.

Bond funds pushed ahead with $6.12 billion in inflows, up from the previous week's inflows of $5.66 billion. These bond funds attracted a total of over $26 billion in the previous three weeks, as investors' search for higher yields shows no signs of abating.

The S&P 500 rose a slight 0.19 percent over the reporting period to close the first quarter on a quiet note. Manufacturing data on the euro-zone, China, and the U.S. concerned investors about the strength of the fragile global recovery during the week.

Hybrid funds, which can invest in stocks and fixed-income securities, had their 12th week of inflows with $1.65 billion in new money, down slightly from $1.82 billion the previous week.

The following table shows a breakdown of the ICI flows for the past five weeks (all figures in the millions of dollars):

Estimated flows to long-term mutual funds: 2/29/2012 3/7/2012 3/14/12 3/21/2012 3/28/2012 Total Equity -2,883 -236 -2,582 -1,084 -4,434

Domestic -3,111 -1,385 -2,889 -1,794 -3,528

Foreign 227 1,149 307 710 -906 Hybrid* 1,650 1,478 1,239 1,817 1,654 Total Bond 6,607 10,744 9,096 5,663 6,124

Taxable 5,479 9,087 7,772 5,798 5,468 Municipal 1,128 1,656 1,324 -135 656 Total 5,374 11,985 7,753 6,396 3,344

*Hybrid funds can invest in stocks and/or fixed income securities.

(Reporting by Sam Forgione; Editing by Diane Craft)

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