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UPDATE 1-U.S. high-yield bond funds attract most cash since mid-July - Lipper

(Adds cash withdrawals from equity mutual funds; quotes from
analyst; table)
    By Sam Forgione
    NEW YORK, Sept 29 Investors in U.S.-based funds
poured $2 billion into riskier high-yield junk bond funds in the
week ended Sept. 28, marking the biggest inflows into the funds
since mid-July, data from Thomson Reuters' Lipper service showed
on Thursday. 
    Stock funds attracted $622 million in inflows to mark their
first inflows since mid-August, while taxable bond funds overall
attracted $4.8 billion to mark their second straight week of
inflows, Lipper data show. 
    "While equity funds attracted net new money, that was just
an ETF illusion," said Tom Roseen, head of research services at
Thomson Reuters Lipper. "Equity mutual fund investors were net
redeemers of equity funds, withdrawing some $6.3 billion, while
equity stock ETFs attracted $7 billion."
    Roseen said investors seem to be focused on the "gloom and
doom" of a multi-year bull market, uncertainty surrounding the
Federal Reserve's need to normalize interest rates and Nov. 8
elections.  
    "Mutual fund investors don't want to relive the huge market
declines witnessed in 2008-2009 and still perceive fixed income
funds as safe-have plays," Roseen said.  
    Not coincidentally, investors took some solace in fixed-
income funds, injecting some $4.8 billion, of which the lion's
share went into high-yield junk bonds and corporate
investment-grade debt funds, Roseen said. 
    U.S.-based corporate investment-grade bond funds attracted
$2.3 billion of inflows, continuing the group's streak of
inflows starting in early July, Lipper data show.
    Roseen added that despite the Federal Reserve holding rates
last week, loan participation funds witnessed their ninth
consecutive week of net inflows - including ETFs - to the tune
of $0.5 billion, the largest net inflows since April 15, 2015.  
    U.S.-based inflation-protected bond funds posted $137
million of inflows, their sixth straight week of inflows, Lipper
said. U.S.-based money market funds attracted $50 million of
inflows over the weekly period, after four straight weeks of
cash withdrawals, Lipper said.
    Overall, Roseen said investors are still chasing yields,
particularly in the high-yield junk bond and investment-grade
markets, and may not understand what a rising interest rate
environment might do to their funds' value.  
    "On the flip side, if the Fed takes a slow focused approach
to normalizing interest rate, the bump in yield may offset the
decline in price," Roseen said, noting that it is not the case
if rates rise rapidly or if larger bumps occur.
    The following is a broad breakdown of the flows for the
week, including ETFs:  
 Sector             Flow Chg   % Assets  Assets ($Bil)  Count
                    ($Bil)                              
 All Equity Funds   0.622      0.01      5,365.514      12,014
 Domestic Equities  3.115      0.08      3,776.266      8,568
 Non-Domestic       -2.493     -0.16     1,589.248      3,446
 Equities                                               
 All Taxable Bond   4.759      0.21      2,333.379      6,055
 Funds                                                  
 All Money Market   0.050      0.00      2,321.657      1,058
 Funds                                                  
 All Municipal      0.664      0.17      396.079        1,409
 Bond Funds                                             
 
 (Reporting by Sam Forgione; Editing by Jennifer Ablan)

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