Keeping Track: Cash flows into mutual funds

Investors scaled back mutual-fund contributions this past quarter compared with previous ones. Still, inflows are higher than this time last year.

In May 2000, net new cash flow into stock funds hit $16.9 billion, up from $14.9 billion in May 1999. But the May figure pales in comparison to the $34 billion that flowed in during April of this year.

Total equity in mutual funds so far for 2000 is $188 billion, about $1 billion more than all of 1999.

Investors continue to squirrel away larger amounts of money for retirement in their mutual funds. More than a third of of all money in mutual funds is in retirement accounts, notes the Investment Company Institute.

Net new cash flow into mutual funds earmarked for retirement totaled $133 billion in 1999. Most of that money went into equity funds ($112 billion), with money-market funds accounting for most of the rest.

Mutual-fund assets held in 401(k) plans hit $777 billion. Mutual funds' share of the 401(k) market was estimated at 45 percent last year, compared with 9 percent in 1990.

But the heavyweights in mutual-fund investing are individual retirement accounts, which accounted for $1.2 trillion at the end of last year.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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