April 12, 2018 / 10:49 PM / 5 months ago

UPDATE 1-U.S. fund investors up stock exposure; first time in four weeks -Lipper

 (Adds details on funds, analyst quote, table, byline)
    By Trevor Hunnicutt
    NEW YORK, April 12 (Reuters) - U.S. fund investors plowed
back into the markets during the most recent week, with stocks
and high-yield bonds attracting cash for the first time in four
weeks, Lipper data showed on Thursday.
    Taken together, high-yield "junk" bond mutual funds and
exchange-traded funds (ETFs) netted $989 million during the week
ended April 11, the most since January, according to the
research unit.
    Meanwhile, U.S. based equity funds took in $5.7 billion.
    Both stocks and high-yield bonds are seen as speculative
assets, and investors interest in them is taken as an indication
of risk appetite.
    "It's cautiously optimistic," said Tom Roseen, head of
research services for Thomson Reuters' Lipper.
    Markets continue to be on edge over U.S.-China trade
conflict, the potential for aggressive central bank policy to
head off inflation, United States involvement in Syria and other
issues.
    Funds invested in safe-haven precious metals, including
gold, pulled in $594 million during the week, marking a second
straight week of inflows and reflecting continued concern.
    Yet corporate profits look to be strong. Companies are just
starting to roll out their results from the first months of the
year, with Delta Air Lines Inc and BlackRock Inc
beating estimates when they reported on Thursday.

    Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S expects S&P 500 companies'
year-over-year earnings for the most recent quarter to rise by
18.4 percent.
    "People are encouraged by the fact that most pundits are
predicting a pretty solid [first quarter] earnings season," said
Roseen.
    U.S. fund investor demand for shares outside their home
country has grown more mixed. Emerging markets pulled in $1.2
billion, continuing their unbroken streak of inflows this year.
Japanese equities attracted $332 million, their first week of
inflows in the past seven weeks.
    But investors peeled $751 million out of European stock
funds for a sixth straight week of withdrawals as Citigroup
Inc's euro-zone economic surprise index slumped to
its lowest level since 2012.
    The following is a breakdown of the flows for the week,
including mutual funds and ETFs:
    
 Sector                    Flow Chg  Assets  Assets     Count
                           ($ blns)  (pct)   ($ blns)   
 All Equity Funds          5.727     0.08    6,823.979  12,079
 -Domestic Equities        4.144     0.09    4,590.666  8,610
 -Non-Domestic Equities    1.583     0.07    2,233.313  3,469
 All Taxable Bond Funds    6.451     0.24    2,721.727  5,987
 All Money Market Funds    -8.958    -0.33   2,682.430  1,039
 All Municipal Bond Funds  -0.245    -0.06   391.801    1,450
 
 (Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt)
  
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