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Investors still shunning stocks

July 19, 2012: 9:32 AM ET

Maybe it's the heat but investors have slowed their flight for the exits.

U.S. stock mutual funds lost only $1.47 billion during the week ended July 11, according to the Investment Company Institute. A week earlier, investors pulled out more than twice that much: $3.2 billion. Investors have now withdrawn money from the stock market for 20 of the past 21 weeks.

There is a lot to worry about. Europe is far from out of the woods and this week's non-committal comments from Fed chair Ben Bernanke are causing some unease. Not to mention, it's an election year and that ever elusive fiscal cliff is starting to loom a little larger.

So far this month, the S&P 500 (SPX), Nasdaq (COMP) and Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) are all just marginally higher.

For the first six months of the year, investors pulled an estimated $51.4 billion from U.S. stock mutual funds. By comparison, these funds lost $13.6 billion during the first six months of 2011 and $24.6 billion during the first six months of 2010.

Related: 6 worst performing ETFs

Despite investors' penchant for running toward the exits, stocks have had a pretty good year so far. The S&P 500 is up 9%, while the Nasdaq is up nearly 12% and the blue-chip Dow has inked gains of nearly 6%. Still, most analysts said the rest of the year will be challenging and fraught with volatility, according to a recent CNNMoney survey.

Meanwhile, bond mutual funds took in $6.4 billion in assets during the latest week, compared with the prior week's $1.4 billion inflow.

Related: 6 best performing ETFs

Hybrid funds, which invest in both stocks and bonds, gained $1.8 billion during the second week of July, building on the prior week's $1.1 billion inflow. Taking the middle road has been good for hybrid funds, which have enjoyed inflows for much of 2012.

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Catherine Tymkiw
Catherine Tymkiw
News Editor CNNMoney

Catherine Tymkiw is a news editor at CNNMoney where she helps oversee breaking news coverage and futures planning. Previously, she was the investing editor. Prior to joining CNNMoney, she was the online editor at Crain's New York Business and has nearly two decades of reporting and editing experience. She tweets @ctymkiwcnn

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