Mutual Funds See $6B Net Outflow in November

December 14, 2011 ( - November was another "risk-off" month for mutual fund investors with $6.3 billion in long-term outflows, according to data from Morningstar.

With one month of 2011 to go, long-term inflows for the year-to-date are down 70% from 2010’s $244 billion for the full year. U.S.-stock funds once again did most of the damage with $12.5 billion in outflows, even though the S&P 500 Index was flat for the month. International-stock funds fared even worse in relative terms with $4.3 billion in outflows, the asset class’ worst showing since May 2010.   

Investors instead turned to the perceived safety of bond funds, shoveling $10.2 billion into taxable-bond offerings. They also contributed nearly $3.1 billion to municipal-bond funds, as that group’s steady recovery continued. Municipal-bond funds had their highest inflows since August 2010. Money market funds provided another haven, as they collected $46.1 billion in new money, one of their greatest hauls in three years.  

Among taxable-bond funds, unlike earlier in the year when investors seemed to gravitate toward credit-oriented categories in search of yield, conservatism carried the day in November. The intermediate-term bond category, in which many core bond holdings are found, collected $8.5 billion in new assets.   

Although no category came close to the intermediate-term bond haul, conservative-bond categories dominated the top-10 ranking. Intermediate-term bond was followed by inflation-protected bond, muni-national intermediate, short-term bond and the conservative-allocation category.   

Municipal-bond funds had their best month overall since August 2010. The asset class has been increasing in popularity since it bottomed in December last year.  

The complete report from Morningstar is available at