March 29, 2018 / 10:18 PM / 3 months ago

U.S. stock fund investors pull most cash since February meltdown: Lipper

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. fund investors drained the most cash from the stock market since early February’s market meltdown, dodging declines while making a tactical bet on fallen technology companies, Lipper data released on Thursday showed.

More than $14 billion rolled out of the funds during the week ended March 28, according to the research service, yet tech sector funds pulled in $101 million as some investors appeared to bet that the declines in Facebook Inc and some of its peers were temporary.

Tom Roseen, head of research services at Thomson Reuters’ Lipper unit, said the so-called FANG stocks - Facebook, Amazon.com Inc, Netflix Inc and Google parent Alphabet Inc - were “bloodied and black-eyed” this week but the selling pressure made it a buying opportunity.

U.S. President Donald Trump accused Amazon on Thursday of not paying enough tax, taking advantage of the U.S. postal system and putting small retailers out of business.

The company’s stock sank more than 6 percent over the past week. Amazon declined to comment on Trump’s tweet on Thursday.

“These market darlings have had a strong ride for so long and this mini-tech wreck or breather is kind of what we needed,” said Roseen.

INTERNATIONAL STOCKS PUNISHED

During the latest week, U.S. investors also turned on international stocks, which have been a popular place to sock away gains from the domestic market. Non-domestic equity funds recorded $340 million in withdrawals during their first week of outflows this year.

European stock funds posted $1.2 billion in withdrawals, their fourth straight week of outflows, according to Lipper. The euro zone’s momentum has been losing pace, according to Citigroup’s economic surprise index for the currency bloc, which is crouched near a two-year low.

Japanese stock funds posted $638 million in withdrawals during the week, the most since July, Lipper said.

Both Japanese and European markets, which carry currency risks for U.S. investors, are down over the last month.

It was the second week of pressure for stock funds, which posted $9.6 billion in withdrawals the week prior, according to Lipper. Overall, the funds have attracted $55 billion this year.

Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Jennifer Ablan and Richard Chang

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