Investors poured $11.1 billion into U.S. equity funds in the week ending Dec. 23, the highest amount in 79 weeks and slightly offsetting the record outflows from such funds this year, fund tracker EPFR Global said on Tuesday.
The outflow from money market funds slowed in the penultimate week of 2009, while emerging market funds remained on track to post a record annual inflow.
Equity and bond funds tracked by EPFR absorbed $13.3 billion and $4 billion, respectively, during the week, with U.S. equity funds and global equity funds dominating inflows to equity funds and U.S. and global bond funds leading the fixed income categories.
Investors poured $11.1 billion into U.S. equity funds during the week — the highest weekly commitment since June 2008 — with U.S. large cap equity funds and U.S. financial-sector Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) attracting strong commitments.
This category of funds has seen year-to-date net outflows of $69 billion.
The focus on ETFs is in keeping with the tendency at this time of year to take positions that "dress" the books for 2009, EPFR said.
Global bond funds attracted $2 billion in the week, extending their record yearly inflows.
U.S. bond funds absorbed another $1.7 billion in the week to add to their record inflows for the year.
EPFR said the fixed income inflows have been driven by commitments to U.S. municipal bond funds, which posted a record of nearly $50 billion so far this year.
High-yield bond funds posted modest outflows of $31 million for the week but emerging markets bond funds took in another $369 million, with interest in local currency debt rising to the fore.
Emerging market equity funds took in about $1.7 billion of net inflows in the week, boosting their inflow for the year to $80.3 billion.
Geographically diversified emerging markets funds took in $1.9 billion for the week, pushing year-to-date inflows above $40 billion.
Asia ex-Japan funds posted modest inflows of $179 million for the week, with investors rotating some exposure from smaller markets like Taiwan and Singapore to bigger ones such as China.
China equity funds took in another $153 million, maintaining their record-setting pace, and BRIC country funds — Brazil, Russia, India and China — remained on track for a record year after absorbing another $451 million.
Equity funds focused on Latin America look set to fall just short of their 2007 inflow record, after suffering their second consecutive week of redemptions with an outflow of $136 million.
Flows out of Money Market Funds slowed, with redemptions only a tenth of the previous week's $37 billion. But this fund group remains one of eight that seem likely to end 2009 with record outflows or inflows.
Equity funds focused on Japan failed to stem a weekly outflow despite the weakness of the yen, which helped the country's exporters regain ground.
Investors pulled $830 million out of Europe equity funds.
Global equity funds that invest primarily to developed markets took in $1.1 billion with year-to-date inflows climbing over $18 billion.
Flows into financial sector funds hit a 2009 high of $887 million for the week while property-focused and consumer sector funds also saw healthy inflows.
Technology sector-focused funds took in $173 million for the week while commodity sector Funds enjoyed inflows for the 16th successive weeks to absorb $113 million.
Utilities sector funds took in $76 million and energy sector funds saw $33 million in fresh money.
The passing of health care reform legislation in the U.S. Senate bolstered inflows into the health care and biotechnology sector funds.
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