US equity funds see big outflows on rate-cut uncertainty, earnings caution

(Reuters) – U.S. equity funds saw large outflows in the seven days to Jan. 17 as a solid retail sales report and pushback from Federal Reserve officials tempered hopes about a policy rate cut in March.

Investor sentiment also remained pressured as some major U.S. lenders, including Morgan Stanley, reported a drop in fourth-quarter earnings.

U.S. investors sold a net $9.23 billion worth of equity funds during the week, following a $11.5 billion worth of net disposal in the previous week, LSEG data showed.

By segment, U.S. multi-cap funds led outflows as investors withdrew a net $4.26 billion out of these funds. Large-, mid-, and small-cap funds also suffered $1.84 billion, $1.63 billion and $418 million worth of net selling, respectively.

Among sector funds, investors sold consumer discretionary, consumer staples, and healthcare funds of $280 million, $232 million, and $153 million, respectively. The tech sector, however, received about $371 million worth of inflows.

Meanwhile, U.S. bond funds remained in demand for a fourth successive week as investors poured in a net $6.56 million into the funds.

U.S. general domestic taxable fixed income funds received about $3.28 billion during the week after around $5.22 billion worth of net purchases in the previous week. Investors also purchased high yield, and municipal debt funds of about $1.08 billion and $897 million, respectively.

U.S. money market funds, meanwhile, witnessed $22.83 billion worth of net selling, the first weekly outflow in four weeks.

(Reporting by Gaurav Dogra in Bengaluru; Editing by Louise Heavens)