February outflow figures were wrong, but, oddly, the outflow story remains the same: Billions gushed out of sagging growth funds.
On Wednesday we told you there was a
big difference of opinion regarding how much fund investors' redemptions outpaced their investments in stock funds last month. The tally at fund-tracking shop
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was a record $11.4 billion. But New York fund consultancy
crunched the numbers and came up with about a $1 billion. Well, let's just say that the folks at Strategic Insight are probably feeling a little cocky today.
Last night Lipper emailed reporters a correction. The outflows from equity-income funds were overstated by $9 billion, reducing the firm's total February stock-fund outflow estimate to $2.4 billion, much closer to Strategic Insight's estimate. Final figures won't be available until next week when the
Investment Company Institute
, the fund industry's largest trade group, releases its numbers.
The error is no doubt embarrassing for Lipper, not to mention
The Wall Street Journal
, which ran with Lipper's numbers and ignored Strategic Insight's, triggering a correction in today's paper. But the most compelling theme beneath the data is still true: Investors did pull money out of sagging, tech-heavy growth funds and stuff it into more price-conscious value funds.
The flow of money from growth funds is underscored in both Lipper and Strategic Insight's data. Lipper's growth-fund estimate wasn't changed in the correction. By its count February growth-fund outflows totaled $4.2 billion, while Strategic Insight estimates the outflow at $5 billion. The two firms estimate that value funds took in $7.6 billion and $6 billion, respectively.
If growth funds, down more than 35% over the last year according to
, keep losing money they could weigh down the already battered technology sectors as fund managers sell stock to cash out their investors. This type of vicious cycle hurt value funds when they fell from favor in 1998 and 1999, and
could play out on the growth side in coming months.
Fund Junkie runs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, as well as occasional dispatches. Ian McDonald writes daily for TheStreet.com. In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He invites you to send your feedback to
firstname.lastname@example.org, but he cannot give specific financial advice.