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Mutual Funds Mostly Keep Drawing Inflows

Mutual funds overall continued to enjoy flows the week ended Feb. 20, reported Jeff Tjornehoj of Lipper.

But certain categories like large-cap, high-yield and poor money market mutual funds weren't so lucky, Tjornehoj said.

Stock funds fared fairly well by bringing in $2.6 billion. Equity funds focused on companies outside the U.S. saw extra attention, adding $1.7 billion in net sales to nondomestic equity funds. In contrast, domestic equity mutual funds added — though not comparatively much —$900 million.

Meanwhile, core portfolio holdings such as those in Lipper’s Large-Cap Core and S&P 500 Index Objective categories "led the losers column" as "investors favored multi- and small-cap fund strategies instead". Large-Cap Core saw $255 million in outflows and S&P 500 Index Objective $147 million.

Equity exchange-traded funds also enjoyed net inflows, though only of $237 million. That was because "investors remained noncommittal to SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY)," Tjornehoj said, logging "an unremarkable outflow" of $696 million. Still, that was better than the leader in equity ETF outflows, SPDR Gold (GLD), which bid adieu to $1.4 billion.

Taxable bond funds enjoyed $1.2 billion in inflows, led by the corporate investment-grade group with $1.6 billion. Flexible funds also logged in just under $1 billion in flows. Finally, loan participation funds saw inflows of $863 million, down from $1.2 billion the week prior.

Meanwhile, high-yield funds saw their second week of outflows, letting go $70 million.

Municipal bond funds cut their inflows in half with only $230 million in net inflows.

"Muni activity was flat overall; no classification saw more than about $60 million of net flows in either direction," Tjornehoj said.

Saving the worst news for last, more boohoo for money market funds, assets of which Investment Company Institute estimates Thursday pegged at $2.657 trillion the week ended Feb. 20, down $23.8 billion from $2.681 trillion the week ended Feb. 13. For the week ended Feb. 20, Lipper data estimated money market fund outflows totaled $19 billion, "the highest weekly total since $23.5 billion was pulled from them the last week of October 2012."