The U.S. mutual fund industry estimated that $24 billion poured into stock funds during January, the fourth-largest monthly inflow on record, the Investment Company Institute reported Wednesday.
The one-month record was set in January 1996, when the trade group’s figures showed $28.9 billion flowed into stock funds.
Many of America’s biggest fund companies, including Vanguard Group, T. Rowe Price Associates Inc., Janus Capital Corp. and OppenheimerFunds Inc., said last month’s equity fund inflows were the highest they have recorded. Early indications are that February inflows will be just as strong.
“On a per-day basis, February could turn out to be the best month we’ve ever had,” said Tim Pitts, executive vice president of OppenheimerFunds in New York.
January tends to be the top sales month of the year for mutual fund groups because companies are matching employee retirement fund contributions. Also, January is when the greatest number of 401(k) plans are established.
As for bond funds, the ICI said an estimated $3 billion was invested last month. The group will report its official tally for January later this month.