March 4, 2020 / 4:55 PM / in a month

U.S. equity funds suffer largest outflows since September on virus fears

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Investors pulled slightly more than $13.6 billion out of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds that hold U.S. equities last week, marking the sharpest pullback from the domestic stock market since September, according to data released on Wednesday by the Investment Company Institute.

The declines came during the worst week for the benchmark S&P 500 index since the 2008 financial crisis as concerns about the rapidly spreading coronavirus weighed on travel and companies whose supply chains are heavily dependent on China.

The S&P 500 is now down 5.5% for the year to date after hitting record highs on Feb. 19.

Investors continued to seek safety in bond funds, which drew in nearly $3.3 billion in new assets, the lowest weekly inflow since August. For the year to date, bond funds have pulled in $122.1 billion in new assets, while stock funds have shed $40.2 billion.

World stock funds, meanwhile, had $380 million in outflows, snapping a winning streak that began in mid-December.

Reporting by David Randall; Editing by Chris Reese

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