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Equity Funds See April Inflows Despite Market Declines

Equity mutual funds appear to have continued gaining new money in April, according to two mutual fund research firms. Equity funds experienced net inflows of roughly $14.9 billion last month according to Lipper. Meanwhile, Strategic Insight estimated that April's equity fund inflows reached $21 billion. That follows a very strong March, when equity inflows reached $29.28 billion, the highest total since April 2000, according to the Investment Company Institute.

"By their actions, equity fund investors continue to display a much greater level of personal optimism that is shared among professional money managers and business executives," said Avi Nachmany, Strategic Insight's director of research. "Our customers are telling us that they feel safe to go in the water again."

Value funds had inflows of $7.5 billion in April, while growth funds had a net outflow of $5.1 billion, according to Lipper. And small-cap funds drew $7.5 billion in net flows, while large-cap funds had outflows of $5.1 billion.

"Given the severity of the April stock market declines - over 5% for the S&P 500 Index and about 11% on NASDAQ - inflows to equity funds showed almost remarkable resilience. We suspect the numbers would have been much weaker had small-cap and value funds not been treating people so well for the past year or more," said Don Cassidy, senior research analyst at Lipper.

Both Lipper and Strategic Insight estimated that bond funds had inflows in the neighborhood of $8 billion in April. Bond funds had net inflows of $6.8 billion in March, according to the ICI.

Lipper pegged money market fund outflows at $26.5 billion, while Strategic Insight said outflows were around $20 billion. Both firms cited seasonal redemptions out of money funds in order to pay taxes as a major factor.