Interest in mutual funds faltered after a strong start in March, according to fund flow statistics released today by the Investment Company Institute. Investors steered an estimated $7.76 billion into mutual funds the week ended Wednesday, March 14, down 35% from the $12 billion inflow the week before.

U.S. equity funds took the biggest lashing, posting estimated outflows of $2.88 billion for the week. Foreign equity funds managed to attract $306 million in fresh investments, down dramatically from the $1.15 billion they took in a week earlier. 

Once again, bond funds drew the most investor interest with an estimated $9.10 billion in fresh inflows for the week.  That was off from the previous week’s $10.74 billion inflow, a record for the year.  Of the $9.10 billion, $7.77 billion went to taxable bond funds with the rest going to municipal bond funds. 

Hybrid funds — those that invest in both stocks and fixed income securities — posted estimated inflows of $1.24 billion, down from $1.48 billion a week earlier.

The weekly fund flow estimates are derived from data covering more than 95% of industry assets, according to ICI.  The statistics cover long-term mutual funds, those the ICI defines as investing in long-term instruments.