NEW YORK Feb 1 Investors in funds worldwide poured $11 billion into U.S. stock funds in the latest week, the most since September 2011 and contributing to a strong January for stock funds globally, data from EPFR Global showed on Friday.
Both mutual funds and exchange-traded funds that hold U.S. stocks saw inflows in the week ended Jan. 30. U.S. stock ETFs captured $9.6 billion of the inflows, while U.S. stock mutual funds raked in $1.4 billion, the fund-tracking firm said. The inflows accounted for much of the $18.76 billion that flowed into stock funds worldwide.
The spike in demand for U.S. stock funds marks a reversal from the previous week, when investors pulled $1.28 billion from them. Those outflows were, however, a result of institutional investors redeeming money from U.S. stock ETFs, while retail investors gave $340 million to U.S. stock mutual funds, EPFR Global said.
The huge inflows into funds that hold U.S. stocks exceed the funds' cash gains of $10.35 billion in the first full week of January, and also mark the fourth straight week of cash contributions from mom-and-pop investors.
Emerging market stock funds pulled in $3.59 billion in new money, down modestly the prior week's inflows. European stock funds made a small comeback with gains of $1.19 billion, compared to inflows of $573 million the previous week.
The big inflows into stock funds dwarfed demand for bond funds worldwide, which gained $3.02 billion, down modestly from inflows of $3.71 billion the prior week.
The benchmark S&P 500 rose just 0.5 percent over the reporting period. Solid corporate earnings from companies such as Procter & Gamble and Honeywell International and upbeat U.S. unemployment and factory data boosted sentiment.
Central banks also issued influential statements over the week. The European Central Bank said banks would repay 137 billion euros from crisis loans, returning more cash earlier than expected and improving sentiment.
On the U.S. front, the Federal Reserve kept in place its purchases of $85 billion in Treasuries and agency mortgage securities on Wednesday.
Funds that hold emerging market bonds pulled in $1.53 billion in new cash, which was largely unchanged from the prior week. Investors soured somewhat toward European bond funds and redeemed $1.01 billion, showing greater avoidance after the prior week's outflows of just $53 million.