Gold and cash reign as U.S. fund investors pare stocks: Lipper

Traders work at the post where United Technologies stock is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., September 5, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. fund investors gorged on gold and traded stocks for cash during the latest week, showing caution even as markets trend higher, Lipper data showed on Thursday.

More than $16 billion took shelter in low-risk, U.S.-based money-market funds during the seven days through Sept. 27, the research service’s data showed. Precious metals commodities funds, which invest in gold and similar assets, took in $977 million, the most since July 2016.

Stock mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, by contrast, posted $9.7 billion of withdrawals, Lipper said. That counts as the largest outflows for that group of funds since June.

“People were taking risk off from the high-flying stocks,” said Tom Roseen, head of research services for Thomson Reuters’ Lipper unit.

The U.S. Federal Reserve last week signaled it still expects one more rate hike by the end of the year despite a bout of low inflation that Fed Chair Janet Yellen called “a mystery.” Aggressive rate rises could dent stock valuations.

Roseen said investors shifted into less-loved areas of the market, including banks that can benefit from higher interest levels by lending at higher rates.

“This can actually be seen as a healthy move,” said Roseen.

Financial and bank sector stock funds attracted $599 million during the week, the most since July, according to Lipper.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday put forward a U.S. tax reform plan investors have been anticipating since his 2016 presidential victory, calling for tax cuts for most Americans, but prompting criticism that the plan favors business and the rich and could add trillions of dollars to the deficit.

Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Leslie Adler and Jennifer Ablan