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U.S. stocks suffered $8.9 billion outflow as Trump storm built

LONDON (Reuters) - Investors ditched almost $9 billion of U.S. equities as political turmoil in Washington built up in the past week, Bank of America Merrill Lynch figures showed on Friday.

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 17, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Funds invested in U.S. equities saw outflows of $8.9 billion in the week to Wednesday - their third straight week of outflows -- while those dedicated to European stocks added $1.1 billion, the largest in 39 weeks and the ninth straight week of inflows.

“D.C. disruption: new risk ... Washington political malaise causes capital flight from U.S.,” BAML summarised, referring to White House battles over the struggles over alleged links to Russia and to the removal of the FBI director.

The big winner for the week, meanwhile, were global tech stocks, now enjoying the biggest annualised inflows since the dot-com bubble.

Tech stocks raked in $1 billion in the week to Wednesday in their 11th straight week of inflows, BAML said in its regular ‘Flow Show’ analysis.

It also noted that the Nasdaq internet index, a modified market capitalisation-weighted index designed to track the largest and most liquid U.S. online firms, was running at an annual rate of 75 percent gains year to date.

It expressed some concern about this.

“(The) longer it takes the economy and yields to pick-up, greater (the) risk of tech mania,” BAML said.

Investors also remained in emerging markets, with equities adding $3.9 billion in a ninth week of gains while developing market debt saw inflows of $1.6 billion in their 16th straight positive week.

“Emerging markets equal year-to-date flow winner and year-to-date return winner as weaker dollar, lower yields overwhelm China credit fears,” BAML said in its note.

The data, however, was collected before a broad sell of roiled emerging markets on Thursday following allegations that Brazil’s President Michel Temer condoned bribes to silence a key witness in a corruption probe.

Overall, bond funds attracted $9.7 billion of inflows in the week to Wednesday, with around two thirds of that ($6.6 billion) going into investment grade funds, BAML said.

Editing by Jeremy Gaunt