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Investors dip a toe back in the stock market

July 26, 2012: 2:12 PM ET

Investors have mostly been pulling their money out of the stock market this year, but last week investors showed a little ounce of love for stocks.

According to the Investment Company Institute, investors added $99 million to U.S. stock mutual funds in the week ended July 18. While that's not much, it's a welcome change from the usual flight from stocks.

The inflow came as investors hoped that the Federal Reserve may take steps to stimulate the economy in the wake of a slowing recovery. Investors were also encouraged by a slew of better-than-expected earnings reports. The biggest upside surprise came from JPMorgan (JPM), which delivered a $5 billion profit despite a trading loss of $5.8 billion so far this year.

Related: The risks of more Federal Reserve action

Still, investors haven't been big fans of stocks for the better part of 2012. In fact, they have yanked money out of the stock market for 20 of the past 22 weeks. Since the beginning of the year, investors have pulled more than $55 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.

Meanwhile, bond mutual funds continued to attract investors, raking in $6.5 billion in assets during the latest week, compared with the prior week's $6.4 billion inflow.

Hybrid funds, which invest in both stocks and bonds, gained $905 million during the third week of July, building on the prior week's $1.8 billion inflow. Taking the middle road has been good for hybrid funds, which have enjoyed inflows for much of 2012.

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Hibah Yousuf
Hibah Yousuf
Reporter, CNNMoney

Hibah Yousuf is a reporter at CNNMoney, where she covers stocks, bonds, commodities and currencies trading across the globe, as well as corporate earnings and other markets-related news. Prior to joining the site in 2009, she interned at Money Magazine.

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