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Investors Continue to Yank Money Out of Stocks

Broker works the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange.
AP
Broker works the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange.

Investorsyanked money out of U.S. equity mutual funds for a ninth-consecutive week despite a bullish 2012 outlookfrom Wall Street and a December rally that’s carried over into the New Year.

U.S. funds—not including ETFs—lost $1.1 billion in the week ended Wednesday, according to data from Lipper FMI. This follows a $1.7 billion outflow in the previous week. Investors put money into taxable and municipal bond funds instead, the data showed.

“Trends remained largely intact as we moved into the first week of 2012,” said Daniel Fannon, a financial analyst with Jefferies, who cited the data in a note to clients.

The S&P 500 began 2012 with a 1.6 percent surge on Tuesday and is up 2 percent for the week. A better-than-expected jobs report added to the bullish tone Friday.

Wall Street strategists, on average, expect the U.S. benchmark to increase by 7 percent this year, according to a consensus calculation by Goldman Sachs. The market seersgenerally cite a strong domestic economy overshadowing the credit crisis in Europe. But apparently, their retail clients aren’t listening.

The continued outflows mean “folks set a mental level, thinking ‘please God if we ever get to this point, I will take the money and run,’” said Jon Najarian, co-founder of TradeMonster.com. “It also means we could have more people chasing the market higher if this move hits 1300 in the S&P 500.”

The index is up 19 percent from its intraday low for 2011 hit three months ago and was approaching 1282 in trading Friday.

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