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Market Preview: Stocks Losing Luster

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks have been riding high for most of the summer but investors in mutual funds still aren't feeling like they've missed the boat.

In fact, instead of putting money to work in stocks, they continue to siphon it out.

According to data from the Investment Company Institute, long-term mutual funds investing in equities saw outflows of $5.16 billion for the week ended Sept. 19, the highest amount in roughly a month. Funds investing in domestic stocks experienced outflows to the tune of $4.80 billion, the largest exodus since the week ended Aug. 1.

On the flip side, bond funds continued to reign supreme, racking up inflows of $7.99 billion for the week, while hybrid funds, which invest in both stocks and bonds, took in $1.64 billion.

Despite this recent rough patch, the major U.S. stock averages are still sitting within shouting distance of mullti-year highs but it's telling that the bullishness has never really boiled over. Between the presidential election, the fiscal cliff and Europe's ongoing drama, there's still a fair amount of apprehension out there.

Add in expectations for a year-over-year decline in third-quarter earnings, recent high-profile warnings from Caterpillar (CAT) and FedEx (FDX), and the considerable appreciation stocks have already enjoyed this year, and taking profits on big winners seems pretty prudent.

The stimulus programs unveiled this month by the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank are looking priced in at this point, so it's hard to too carried away by the fact that the punch bowl is going to remain full for a while. And as Philly Fed President Charles Plosser pointed out Tuesday, there's no guarantee all this accommodation is going to manifest itself in a spurt of sustained economic growth anytime soon.

Deutsche Bank said the uncertainty surrounding an eventual bailout for Spain is a contributing factor in the near-term.

"With the central bank liquidity guns loaded any short-term set back is unlikely to be severe but until Spain requests aid it's hard to see risk assets making much progress," the firm said. "Clearly such a request could come in the next few days but it's more likely in our opinion that it won't until a bit more market pressure is applied to the situation. There are also those who think that a request for aid is unlikely to come before key regional elections on October 21st."

As for Thursday's scheduled news, Research In Motion (RIMM) is reporting its numbers after the closing bell, and Wall Street is looking for a loss of 47 cents a share from the BlackBerry maker in its fiscal second quarter ended in August on revenue of $2.49 billion.
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