January 3, 2018 / 5:27 PM / a year ago

U.S. fund investors end 2017 cautious on domestic stocks: ICI

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. fund investors closed out 2017 in the same cautious stance where they started the year, favoring bonds and world stocks over equities in their home market, Investment Company Institute (ICI) data showed on Wednesday.

Stock funds attracted $4.1 billion during the week ended Dec. 27, the trade group said, with about 70 percent of that moving into funds focused on stocks abroad and the remainder into domestic-oriented products. Bond funds also attracted $4.1 billion.

The holiday week marked the 56th in a row of inflows for taxable-bond and world stock funds.

Investors have preferred those funds out of a belief that they can grow their investments and harvest income without over-committing to a U.S. stock market that has recorded nearly a decade of gains.

The ICI data covers mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) based in the United States.

The S&P 500 index .SPX gained more than 19 percent in 2017, or nearly 22 percent if you count dividends, yet domestic equity funds posted outflows for the third straight year in 2017, according to preliminary data from Thomson Reuters' Lipper unit. Debt and non-domestic stock funds were strongly positive on the year.

Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Phil Berlowitz

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