By Sam Forgione
NEW YORK, July 25 (Reuters) - Investors in U.S.-based mutual funds sought equity funds for the first time in five weeks as strong corporate earnings boosted markets, data from the Investment Company Institute showed on Wednesday for the latest week.
Equity funds saw net inflows of $640 million in the week ended July 18, the first net inflows into those funds since mid-June, said ICI, a U.S. mutual fund trade organization.
Funds that target U.S. stocks saw $99 million in inflows, the first batch of new money for the group in seven weeks.
Additional inflows of $542 million into funds that target foreign stocks led to the net inflows of $640 million into all equity funds.
The benchmark S&P 500 rose 2.34 percent over the reporting period as many corporate earnings results beat forecasts, including those of big banks Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan.
Investors still favored bond funds, however, which saw inflows of $6.46 billion, the most in 10 weeks and modestly up from the previous week's inflows of $6.37 billion.
Hybrid funds, which can invest in stocks and fixed-income securities, had inflows of $905 million, up from the previous week's inflows of $1.75 billion.
The following table shows a breakdown of ICI flows for the past five weeks (all figures in millions of dollars):
6/20/2012 6/27/12 7/3/12 7/11/2012 7/18/2012 Total Equity -1,496 -1,124 -2,865 -537 640
Domestic -1,823 -1,461 -3,166 -1,464 99
World 327 337 301 927 542 Hybrid* 1,194 18 1,131 1,752 905 Total Bond 4,906 4,321 1,354 6,373 6,460
Taxable 4,046 3,244 484 5,202 5,114
Municipal 860 1,077 870 1,171 1,346 Total 4,604 3,214 -380 7,589 8,005
* Hybrid funds can invest in stocks and/or fixed-income securities. (Reporting by Sam Forgione; Editing by David Gregorio)