Bond Fund Inflows Dry Up

Updated from 11:26 a.m. EDT

Equity funds continued to get new money for a sixth consecutive week, while bond funds of all stripes fell out of favor, according to fund tracker AMG Data Services. AMG reported net inflows of $1.6 billion to equity mutual funds and net outflows of $1.7 billion among bond funds.

TrimTabs, another fund flow tracker, also reported net inflows of $1.8 billion into equity funds, mostly ones investing in U.S. companies. It showed a net outflow of $1.2 billion from bond funds.

In the week ended April 28, following comments by Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan that interest rates would eventually rise, investors pulled out of bond funds. According to AMG, government bond funds investing in mortgage-backed securities saw net cash outflows of $505 million, taxable bond funds saw outflows of $471 million, and corporate high yield bond funds saw outflows of $271 million. Municipal bond funds saw outflows of $513 million.

TrimTabs president Charles Biderman said investors were watching bond prices fall and selling.

Bond funds saw net inflows of $12.5 billion in March, "but so far in April we've been detecting consistent outflows," he said.

AMG reported that fewer high-yield bond funds reported inflows last week than in any week since August of last year.

The bond fund exodus was matched by nearly equal inflows to equity funds, though AMG reported enthusiasm for domestic equity funds cooled somewhat, with 39% of total inflows going to U.S. funds, down from 64% last week.

Biderman said the Vanguard and Fidelity fund families were the major beneficiaries of equity fund inflows last month, and that daily equity fund inflows have dropped to about $500 million from about $1.5 billion in January.

Among international equity choices, funds in developed markets such as Europe and Japan reported net inflows. Japan funds, led by the iShares MSCI Japan Index fund, were a popular purchase, drawing $429 million, all but $5 million of which was invested in the exchange traded fund.

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