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GRAPHIC-Money flows into U.S. equity funds climb to a 5-week high - Lipper

March 19 (Reuters) - Investment flows into U.S. equity funds jumped to a five-week high in the week ended March 17, buoyed by optimism over a massive stimulus package and on expectations that the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy stance would remain dovish.

U.S. equity mutual funds pocketed a net inflow of $20.1 billion in the week, which marked a sixth straight week of net buying, data from Refinitiv Lipper showed.

The inflows were led by U.S. small cap funds and mid-cap funds, seeing net purchases of $3.6 billion and $2.1 billion respectively. On the other hand, large-cap funds had an inflow of just $251 million.

Among sector funds, investors turned net buyers of tech funds this week, purchasing $832 million, as tech stocks appeared attractive at lower valuations after witnessing sharp selling in the prior weeks.

Investors were sanguine ahead of a two-day Fed policy meeting at which the central bank signalled its intent to keep rates near zero until at least 2024, also predicting a fast economic recovery from the pandemic.

However, U.S. stocks tumbled on Friday, with banks leading the way after the Fed let expire a temporary capital buffer relief put in place to ease a pandemic-driven stress in the funding mark.

Meanwhile, investors bought $9.72 billion in U.S. bond funds in the week, compared with $1.32 billion in the preceding week.

U.S. Taxable bond funds had an inflow of $7.9 billion, while U.S. municipal funds saw an inflow of $9.3 billion.

Investors turned net buyers of U.S. High yield funds, buying $260 million, after dumping $5.5. billion in the last week.

On the other hand, U.S. money market funds see net sales of $5.3 billion, the first outflow in six weeks.

Reporting by Gaurav Dogra and Patturaja Murugaboopathy in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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