(Adds data, table, byline)
By Daniel Bases
NEW YORK, May 18 U.S. municipal bond funds
broke a 26-week streak of net outflows as investors tilted back
into the sector for the first time since November, data from
the Investment Company Institute showed on Wednesday.
ICI, a U.S. mutual fund industry trade group, reported a
net inflow of $38 million for muni bond funds for the week
ended May 11.
The outflow streak had seen a cumulative $45.3 billion
leave the sector as investors were spooked by headlines about
fiscal crises facing states and cities after the recession
induced by the financial crisis.
Overall, investors put an estimated net $3.9 billion into
U.S.-domiciled mutual funds, although for a third week running
the positive balance was due to bond fund inflows as equity
funds, domestic in particular, suffered outflows.
Equity mutual funds had net outflows of $950 million.
Taxable bond mutual funds had inflows of $4 billion, extending
their inflow streak to 20 weeks for a cumulative $69.8
The following table shows a breakdown of the ICI flows for
the past three weeks (all figures in millions of dollars):
Estimated flows to long-term mutual funds:
4/27/2011 5/4/2011 5/11/2011
Total Equity -930 -1,913 -950
Domestic -758 -2,045 -2,251
Foreign -172 132 1,301
Hybrid 892 2,236 792
Total Bond 2,890 6,183 4,073
Taxable 3,507 6,457 4,035
Municipal -617 -275 38
Total 2,852 6,506 3,914
* Hybrid funds can invest in equity and/or fixed-income
(Editing by James Dalgleish)