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UPDATE 1-U.S. high-grade bond fund outflows fastest since March

(Adds data on mutual funds and ETFs, analyst's quote, table,
byline)
    By Trevor Hunnicutt
    NEW YORK, Oct 13 Demand for U.S.-based bond
funds showed signs of waning in the latest week, with investors
pulling cash from investment-grade corporate debt funds at the
fastest rate since March, Lipper data showed on Thursday.
    Investors, who have feasted on high-quality corporate debt
this year, have become more wary of a potential interest rate
hike by the Federal Reserve before year-end that could cut bond
values.
    Corporate bond prices have leapt this year, with the widely
traded iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF
 delivering more than 9 percent returns.
    While recent withdrawals have been moderate compared to the
strong inflows earlier this year, the data showed high-grade
bond funds returned $666 million in cash to investors during the
seven days through Oct. 12, the fastest rate of outflows in
seven months.
    So far this year, the funds have taken in $90 billion.
    "Investment grade took it on the chin," said Tom Roseen,
Thomson Reuters Lipper's head of research services. "This is
tied to the Fed. People are saying, 'We think they're going to
pull the trigger in December.'"
    Minutes from the Fed's most recent meeting in September
showed several policymakers judged a rate hike would be
warranted "relatively soon." 
    Overall, U.S.-based taxable bond funds posted $2.1 billion
in withdrawals during the week, Lipper said.
    High-yield junk bond funds had $72 million in withdrawals,
and investors pulled $385 million from Treasury funds.
    Withdrawals were concentrated in taxable-bond mutual funds,
which had $3 billion in outflows, while Lipper said their
exchange-traded fund counterparts added $898 million.
    Investors were willing to take some risk outside the United
States during the week.
    Non-U.S. stock funds attracted $561 million and their first
week of inflows since late August, Lipper said, even as funds
focused on domestic shares posted $4 billion in outflows.
    Emerging market stock funds took in $764 million, and
Japanese equity funds added $106 million in their first week of
inflows since July. Chinese stock funds took in $39 million in
their ninth consecutive week of inflows, the data showed.
    Lipper also said money-market funds posted $10.6 billion in
withdrawals during the week, their second straight week of
outflows. This came ahead of reforms, taking effect on Friday,
that would force some funds to let their share prices float with
the market. 
    The following is a broad breakdown of the flows for the
week, including ETFs:
 Sector                    Flow Chg  % Assets  Assets     Count
                           ($blns)             ($blns)    
 All Equity Funds          -3.395    -0.06     5,267.371  12,051
 Domestic Equities         -3.957    -0.11     3,712.742  8,605
 Non-Domestic Equities     0.561     0.04      1,554.629  3,446
 All Taxable Bond Funds    -2.140    -0.09     2,316.558  6,056
 All Money Market Funds    -10.577   -0.46     2,290.114  1,047
 All Municipal Bond Funds  0.147     0.04      393.995    1,417
 
 (Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Jennifer Ablan and
Richard Chang)

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