Equity mutual funds continued to post steady asset growth in December, but bond and hybrid funds were hit hard by redemptions, a strong signal of investors' increasing impatience with performance in these categories.

Net sales of equity funds - meaning sales minus redemptions - amounted to $24 billion in December, according to the Investment Company Institute in Washington. That was up from $19 billion in November. Net sales of equity funds for the year totaled $186 billion, compared with $157 billion in 1998.

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