WASHINGTON - Despite stock market uncertainty in October, investors bought $19 billion of stock mutual funds, up from $17.3 billion in September, according to the Investment Company Institute, but October outflows outpaced inflows, as total stock fund assets fell 2.5%, to $4.2 trillion.

The data were released last week.

Total assets in mutual funds dropped 1.1%, to $7.163 trillion.

Purchases of aggressive growth stock funds totaled $7.16 billion in October, or $1.25 billion more than in the previous month. Cash flow to other growth funds was also positive overall but still dropped $730 million, to $8.59 billion, during the month. Cash flow to other growth funds was also positive overall, at $8.59 billion, but was $730 million less than in September.

A widely predicted rekindling of interest in bond funds did not materialize in October. Investors took $1.14 billion out of hybrid funds, a slight improvement over the $2.14 billion they removed the month before.

Taxable bond funds fared slightly worse. These funds had outflows of $2.90 billion in October, compared with outflow of $1.66 billion in September.

Outflows from municipal bond funds, though substantial, slowed dramatically, to $271.1 million, compared with $1.37 billion in September.

Some fund companies see October as the prelude to a more pronounced slowdown in sales that appears to have emerged in November.

AIM Mutual Funds, which has been one of the top selling fund families all year, noted a sales slowdown in November, a spokesman for the Houston fund company said, while redemptions also slowed.

The company attributes the slowdown in redemptions to uncertainty in the stock market, which often causes fund investors to sit still, the spokesman said.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.