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Rating:While Bond Fund Inflows Soared, Some Funds Faltered Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Thursday, January 14, 2010

While Bond Fund Inflows Soared, Some Funds Faltered

by: Patricia Kelly

2009 may have been the year of the comeback for the mutual fund industry, and financial realm at large, but that doesn't mean all fund firms basked in the glow of recovery equally, Morningstar revealed in its December Fund Flows Update on Thursday.

While bond funds emerged the clear winner of '09, accounting for $357 billion out of $377 billion total net inflows for the year, stock funds soured in December, ending the year on a down note with $26 billion in full-year net outflows. U.S. equity funds in particular bore the brunt of investors' scorn (and have for the last three years) compared to international stock funds, which gained momentum from emerging markets.

As American stocks fell out of favor so too did American Funds, which had outflows totaling $25.5 billion in 2009. Also on the hit-list was Legg Mason/Western Asset, whose Western Asset Core Plus Bond and Western Asset Core Bond continued to experience net outflows.

Oppenheimer and Putnam joined the lineup of fund firms with disappointing flows, as Oppenheimer's taxable bond funds got hit with outflows and Putnam's equity funds bled. Rounding out the '09 losers list are Morgan Stanley Funds and Van Kampen Funds, which also ended the year with net outflows.

Investors –- ever fickle –- didn't always pick underperforming funds from which to drain their money either, as evidenced by the Oppenheimer Global Fund which turned in a solid performance.

On the flipside, several funds that gained big in '09 from firms like Vanguard, Fidelity, and Pimco, can credit active managers. For the year, active funds drew in $304.2 billion assets compared to passive long-term funds which amassed $69.7 billion.

Yet while stock investors rewarded active management strategies, U.S. ETFs –- the vast majority of which are passively managed –- increased assets almost 50 percent to $785 billion. In December, taxable bond ETFs and emerging markets finished out the year as popular as ever while domestic-equity funds finally received some respite after months of outflows, adding roughly $20 billion in new net assets. 

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