July 31, 2019 / 4:42 PM / 23 days ago

Record highs in U.S. stock market not enough to attract fund investors

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., June 5, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Investors retreated from the U.S. stock market last week despite the benchmark S&P 500 reaching new record highs, pulling nearly $9.1 billion from mutual funds and exchange-traded funds that hold domestic stocks, according to data released Wednesday by the Investment Company Institute.

The move away from the U.S. market came on the heels of $1.1 billon in inflows the week before, continuing a pattern in which the outsized gains in S&P 500 have been unable to attract investors en masse. The benchmark index is up more than 20% for the year to date, thanks in part to expectations of at least one equity-friendly interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve this year. Over the same time, investors have pulled nearly $67 billion out of domestic stock funds.

Instead, investors continued to pile into fixed income by sending $10.4 billion into taxable and municipal bond funds, extending a streak of positive inflows over every full week of the year that has brought more than $255 billion into the category.

World stock funds, meanwhile, continued a 9-week losing streak by dropping slightly more than $1 billion in assets. Investors have pulled approximately $20.5 billion from the category since the start of the year.

Reporting by David Randall; Editing by Jennifer Ablan and Nick Zieminski

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