The U.S. mutual fund industry estimated Thursday that about $9.5 billion went into equity mutual funds in March, down about 50% from February.
The inflow figure is the lowest since July, when equity funds attracted $5.75 billion, according to the Boston-based Investment Company Institute, a trade group.
The report comes at a time when the 6 1/2-year bull market is showing signs of strain. The Dow Jones industrial average has fallen about 7.7% since closing at its record high of 7,085.16 on March 11. The blue-chip-stock average closed down 23.79 points Thursday at 6,540.05.
Some investors have responded to stocks' decline by shifting a portion of their assets to low-risk money market funds, fund companies said. Investors who are buying into stock funds are tending toward those, such as growth-and-income funds, that are more conservatively managed, the companies said.
As for bond funds, the ICI said an estimated $1 billion less went into bond funds in March. About $2.17 billion went into bond funds in February; January's figure was about $3.4 billion.