GRAPHIC-U.S. equity funds see big jump in inflows on stimulus boost, Lipper says

March 12 (Reuters) - Investments into U.S. equity funds surged this week, as a retreat in U.S. bond yields and optimism over the approval of the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion stimulus relief bill bolstered inflows.

Investors purchased a net $15.3 billion worth of U.S. equity funds in the week to March 10, compared with just $944 million a week before, data from Refinitiv Lipper showed.

The higher inflows into equities were also helped by tepid U.S. inflation data for February and a bigger-than-expected fall in weekly jobless claims, which pushed the S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average to record highs this week.

Among equity funds, energy sector funds enjoyed the biggest inflow at $1.1 billion, boosted by higher energy prices. It was the fifth consecutive weekly inflow.

U.S. growth funds, which house most of the high-flying technology-related stocks, witnessed $4.7 billion worth of outflows, as the category was hit by higher U.S. bond yields.

Higher yields tend to hurt the flow of money into growth sectors, as they lower the present value of future cash flows of growth stocks.

U.S. value funds, on the other hand, which have holdings in cyclical sectors such as banks and energy, attracted an inflow of $6 billion, the highest in at least 2 years.

Meanwhile, U.S. bond funds had an inflow of $1.33 billion in the week, the smallest in nearly a year.

The inflows were mainly focussed on shorter-term funds and inflation-protection bond funds, the data showed.

However, U.S. high-yield bond funds had an outflow of $5.5 billion, the biggest since February 2018.

Reporting by Gaurav Dogra and Patturaja Murugaboopathy in Bengaluru Editing by Paul Simao