NEW YORK, March 30 (Reuters) - Investors pulled a net $2.5 billion from domestic-focused U.S. equity mutual funds, a fourth consecutive week of outflows, while net redemptions of municipal bonds hit a 20th straight week, industry data showed on Wednesday.
ICI, a U.S. mutual fund industry group, reported an estimated net inflow of $2.2 billion for U.S.-domiciled mutual funds in the week ended March 23.
Funds with a focus on foreign equities maintained their inflow streak started in early September, with the latest week bringing a net inflow of $1.1 billion.
Even as U.S. equity markets are rebounding toward 2-1/2 year highs, investors have not abandoned taxable bond funds, which took in $2.4 billion, marking a ninth consecutive week of inflows that totals $19.3 billion.
Municipal bond funds had outflows of $569 million in the latest week. The $2.9 trillion municipal bond market remains caught in a national debate about deteriorating finances at the state and local level due to the financial crisis and economic downturn.
While yields on muni bonds have fallen from historic highs brushed in January and December, both demand and liquidity remain thin.
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:
3/9/2011 3/16/2011 3/23/2011 ================================================== Total Equity -124 275 -1,415 Domestic -1,102 -1,654 -2,508 Foreign 978 1,929 1,093 Hybrid 1,492 1,220 1,238 Total Bond 3,253 2,875 2,353 Taxable 3,934 3,493 2,922 Municipal -681 -618 -569 ================================================== Total 4,621 4,369 2,176 * Hybrid funds can invest in equity and/or fixed-income securities (Reporting by Daniel Bases; Editing by Kenneth Barry)