BOSTON March 27 (Reuters) - State Street Global Advisors (SSgA) saw outflows of $12.5 billion from its U.S. stock and bond funds in February, the most outflows among asset managers for the month, as markets dropped, according to data released on Thursday.
The outflows at the second-biggest player in the U.S. exchange-traded fund (ETF) market followed outflows of $8.9 billion in January, the data from funds flow research firm Financial Research Corp (FRC) show. SSgA is a unit of State Street Corp (STT.N).
ETFs had helped SSgA pull in a net $49.2 billion from investors in 2007, according to FRC.
FRC numbers are considered benchmarks in the $11.7 trillion U.S. mutual fund industry, even though they exclude flows into money market funds.
State Street spokeswoman Arlene Roberts said the outflows are mainly related to its SPDR Trust, the first U.S. ETF launched in 1993. "This ETF, one of the most actively traded, is designed to withstand variations in asset flows," she said.
Barclays Global Investors, the biggest U.S. ETF company, saw outflows of $1.7 billion in February, the data show. Barclays Global is a unit of British bank Barclays PLC (BARC.L).
U.S. stocks extended their losses in February on fears of a U.S. recession and a deepening credit crunch. The Standard & Poor's 500 index .SPX ended February down 3.5 percent after losing 6.2 percent in the previous month.
Investors yanked out $1.9 billion in February from the stock and bond funds of Legg Mason (LM.N) and Putnam Investments, a unit of Canada's Power Financial Corp (PWF.TO), saw outflows of $1 billion, the FRC data show.
Vanguard Group once again posted the strongest inflows, of $7.8 billion, for the month. The privately owned firm saw the highest inflows of $8.0 billion in January and $76.2 billion in all of 2007. (Reporting by Muralikumar Anantharaman, editing by Richard Chang)