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Investors pull most money from U.S.-based bond funds of any week in 2016-ICI

By Trevor Hunnicutt
    NEW YORK, Nov 23 Investors pulled $9.7 billion
from U.S.-based bond funds during the latest week in the
stiffest blow of the year for those funds, Investment Company
Institute data showed on Wednesday.
    The withdrawals, during the weekly period ending Nov. 16,
come during a bond rout sparked by Donald Trump's unexpected
Nov. 8 win in the U.S. presidential election.
    Markets are voting that Trump's victory could stoke
inflation and economic growth, given the president-elect's plans
to boost infrastructure spending and cut taxes. But inflation
can also erode bond prices and force interest rates higher.
    "Bonds are going to be risky, and people are going to lose
money for sure," said Brad Thompson, Chief Investment Officer
for Stadion Money Management LLC. 
    Municipal bond fund outflows were particularly severe,
posting $4.7 billion in withdrawals during the largest weekly
bloodletting for those products since June 2013, according to
ICI, a trade group for funds.
    Commodity funds, which include those invested in gold,
posted $1.9 billion in their largest net withdrawals since April
2013, ICI said.
    In both cases, those withdrawals reflect two of several
major trend reversals in mutual funds and exchange-traded funds
(ETFs) since the U.S. elections. Both gold and municipal bonds
are rate sensitive and had been popular this year before the
election. Municipal bonds brought money in for a year straight,
a trend that ICI said ended in November. 
    Investors also poured the most money ever into U.S.-based
stock ETFs during the latest week, earlier Lipper data showed,
after a year during which they mostly sold equities for bonds.
 
    Nonetheless, withdrawals from international stock funds are
accelerating, growing to $1.7 billion from an average $1 billion
over the prior three weeks, ICI data showed.
    The weekly period also included the largest flows ever into
financial and healthcare sector funds and record withdrawals
from rate-sensitive emerging-market debt funds, according to the
earlier Lipper data.
    Higher Treasury rates boost the cost of financing and help
bank earnings, while Trump has promised to repeal the Obama
administration's landmark healthcare law, the Affordable Care
Act.
    Thompson, whose company invests using ETFs, said investors
should exercise caution before drawing firm conclusions about
the long-term direction of stock and bond markets from current
trends.
    "Interest rates rising would be negative for stocks," he
said. "Short-term, we're still bullish. But, for the long term,
the jury's still out."
    The following table shows estimated ICI flows, including
ETFs (all figures in millions of dollars):
    
              11/16     11/9     11/2   10/26    10/19/16
 Equity      21,468   -7,550   -8,297  -1,690     -14,039
 -Domestic   23,161   -6,320   -6,824  -1,304     -14,171
 -World      -1,693   -1,230   -1,473    -386         131
 Hybrid      -1,757   -3,301   -1,874      79      -1,240
 Bond        -9,715    2,757   -4,597   3,938       6,334
 -Taxable    -5,031    2,867   -4,591   3,288       6,294
 -Municipal  -4,684     -110       -6     650          40
 Commodity   -1,860      637      313    -831         404
 Total        8,136   -7,457  -14,455   1,496      -8,541
 
 (Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Alan Crosby)

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