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U.S. stock fund flows improve after 2017's biggest withdrawals -ICI

NEW YORK, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Withdrawals from U.S.-based stock funds eased after rising to the highest this year earlier this month, Investment Company Institute (ICI) data showed on Wednesday. Stock mutual funds and exchange-traded funds posted $1.8 billion in withdrawals during the week through Aug 23. Nearly $4.7 billion in outflows from domestic equity funds were countered by $2.9 billion of inflows for funds focused on international shares, according to the trade group. That represents an improvement from the week prior, when nearly $9.2 billion flowed out of U.S.-based equity funds.

U.S.-North Korea tensions and questions about the ability of U.S. President Donald Trump's administration to bring its economic agenda to fruition have contributed to more volatile trading this month. "There's a host of things that may not work out the way markets expected," said Matt Forester, chief investment officer at Lockwood Advisors Inc. World equity funds and taxable bond funds have each have posted 38 straight weeks of inflows, while domestic stock funds posted their fourth consecutive week of outflows, ICI said. Taxable bonds attracted $4.1 billion from fund investors, while tax-exempt municipal bonds pulled in $1.2 billion in their largest week of inflows since June, the data showed. The following table shows estimated ICI flows for mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (all figures in millions of dollars):

8/23 8/16 8/9 8/2 7/26/2017 Equity -1,807 -9,179 1,854 170 4,987 -Domestic -4,687 -11,280 -2,776 -3,878 1,055 -World 2,879 2,102 4,630 4,049 3,932 Hybrid -1,066 -1,772 -339 -943 -350 Bond 5,312 4,776 8,993 7,020 6,511 -Taxable 4,072 3,770 7,864 6,106 5,751 -Municipal 1,240 1,006 1,130 914 760 Commodity 604 881 -144 -359 -1,168 Total 3,043 -5,293 10,364 5,889 9,980

(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Tom Brown)