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Mutual Funds Post Record Monthly Inflow

Savings: More than $24 billion was invested in January, which tends to be the biggest sales month.

February 08, 1996|From Bloomberg Business News

BOSTON — A record $24.5 billion was invested in equity mutual funds in January, surpassing the old high of $18.4 billion set in January 1994, according to estimates published Wednesday by the Investment Company Institute.

Money is pouring into stock funds at the same time the U.S. market surges to all-time highs and markets ranging from Germany to Hong Kong rally. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 7.33% in the first six weeks of 1996 to a record 5,492.12.

Many of the nation's biggest mutual fund companies, including Vanguard Group, Oppenheimer Management Corp., Charles Schwab Corp. and T. Rowe Price Associates Inc., said fund sales reached all-time highs last month.

To be sure, January tends to be the top sales month of the year because that is when many companies match distributions their employees make in mutual fund retirement plans. Also, January is usually the month when the highest number of new 401(k) plans are established, companies said.

"Sales are as strong so far this month as they were in January," said Brian Mattes, Vanguard's spokesman. The nation's second-biggest fund group said fund sales totaled $4 billion in January, exceeding the previous record of $2.6 billion set in March 1993.

Fidelity Investments, the nation's biggest fund group, said sales of domestic stock funds were $2.9 billion in the first three weeks of January, compared with sales of $3.3 billion in all of December. The firm's average daily sales, however, were $180 million this month, compared with $167 million in December.

Assets of all mutual funds rose 30.6% in 1995 to a record $2.82 trillion.

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