Mutual Funds Attract Most Money in Two Years as Markets Rally

U.S. mutual funds last week took in the most money in almost two years as investors moved to take part in the stock market rally.

Funds attracted $13.2 billion in deposits in the week ended Feb. 8, the highest total since March 2010, the Investment Company Institute said today in an e-mailed statement. Equity funds won deposits of $3.62 billion, the most since February 2011, data from the Washington-based trade group show.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index yesterday closed about 1 percent below its peak nine months ago of 1363.61, which was the highest level since June 2008. The index rose 7.4 percent this year through yesterday as the U.S. economy showed signs of accelerating and European leaders move closer to a solution on the region’s debt crisis.

“It seems like it takes both good headlines and good market performance to bring people back to stocks,” Russel Kinnel, director of mutual fund research at Chicago-based Morningstar Inc., said in a telephone interview. “Since 2008 people have been very tentative.”

Investors pulled $135 billion from domestic stock mutual funds in 2011, the fifth straight year of withdrawals, according to the ICI.

Domestic equity funds attracted $1.92 billion last week. Funds that invest in international stocks won $1.7 billion. Bond funds took in $7.05 billion, including $5.31 billion for the taxable category and $1.74 billion for municipal bond funds.

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