NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. fund investors sought shelter during the latest week, pouring more than double the amount from the previous week into money markets, and stockpiling the most in “safe haven” Treasuries in more than a year, Lipper data showed on Thursday.
Political uncertainty has weighed on funds even if it has not tempered lofty stock prices, with several equity indexes touching record highs during the latest week. Fund investors have been unnerved by threats from North Korea, which fired a missile over Japan after testing a powerful nuclear bomb.
Cash-like money market funds pulled in $17.7 billion during the week ended Sept. 13, accelerating from $6.8 billion the previous week, while Treasury mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) attracted $3 billion, the most since January 2016, Lipper data for U.S.-based funds showed.
One of the funds, iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF, snapped up $1.7 billion in its largest week of inflows on record.
“This is serious stuff going on in Korea,” said Tom Roseen, head of research services for Thomson Reuters’ Lipper unit. “All eyes are on that right now.”
Roseen said markets could see a pullback in coming weeks.
Stock funds based in the United States posted $410 million in withdrawals during the week, the research service’s data showed.
Non-domestic equity fund flows weakened to $370 million of outflows, their largest withdrawals since June. International stocks have been popular this year. Yet Japanese stock funds posted $396 million in withdrawals, their seventh straight week of outflows. European stock funds posted $564 million in outflows, the largest withdrawals in about a year.
Some U.S. stock sectors strengthened. Healthcare and biotech sector funds pulled in $439 million, the most in a week since July. Technology sector funds attracted $436 million in their third straight week of inflows.
Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Jennifer Ablan and Lisa Shumaker