SUMMIT, N.J. Equity funds suffered record outflows in February, according to Lipper Inc.s monthly estimates.
On balance, investors pulled $11.4 billion from equity funds in February. It was the first net redemption since August 1998, when $9 billion was withdrawn, and only the fourth month since the summer of 1989.
Februarys net outflow also topped the $8 billion in October 1987. But Don Cassidy, a senior analyst at Lipper, noted that Februarys equaled less than 0.3% of all assets in equity funds, versus 5% in October 1987. The severity and suddenness of the Black Monday selloff [in 1987] led to a much more acute response, he said.
Last month international equity funds registered $3.7 billion of net outflows, and domestic equity income funds $9.1 billion. S&P 500 index funds, which Mr. Cassidy said normally receive large sums from retirement account contributions, fell by $0.4 billion.
Sector funds, once considered hot, had net outflows of $2 billion, including $1.6 billion from science and technology sector funds, which had added $12 billion in February 2000.
Among equity funds, only domestic diversified equity funds showed a net inflow last month, thanks to value funds. Domestic value funds added $7.6 billion, while domestic growth funds lost $4.2 billion and core equity funds $0.5 billion.
Money market funds were the big gainers in February, adding $45.8 billion. Taxable money market funds had net inflows of $40 billion, and municipal money market funds $5.8 billion.
Mr. Cassidy said the declining stock market is testing investors patience. We are seeing more evidence of fund investors buying in rising markets and selling in falling ones, he said.