After taking money off the table toward the end of 2012, individual investors came back with a vengeance in January, adding a record $80.6 billion to their mutual fund holdings, according to the Investment Company Institute.
Investors added nearly $38 billion to stock funds during the month, with a little more than half of that flowing into international stocks.
Nearly $33 billion, or 41% of the total monthly inflow, went into bond funds.
That doesn't come as much of a surprise. Investors have shown a strong attraction for bond funds since the financial crisis. While the bet has paid off so far, experts are warning that ongoing investment in bond funds could leave investors with heavy losses when interest rates begin to rise.
Hybrid funds, which invest in both stocks and bonds and have been a favorite among investors since the beginning of 2012, raked in a record $9.8 billion in January.
While February is on track to be a positive month for mutual fund flows, it will likely be far from a record. During the first two weeks of February, mutual funds have lured in just under $24 billion, according to ICI. Investors have continued to show an appetite for international stock funds, bond funds and hybrid funds this month, but enthusiasm for U.S. stocks has begun to dampen.
Investor fear is also on the rise, with worries about Europe picking up again. After being steeped in greed for most of the beginning of the year, CNNMoney's Fear & Greed Index has fallen sharply throughout the month. Earlier this week, it tumbled into neutral before bouncing back into greed.
Political gridlock in Italy is unhinging investors.
Investors worry the results of Italy's election could wind up undermining the progress that Italy has made in overhauling its troubled economy.
"It was the worst possible outcome, feared by market participants and European policy-makers alike," said Daiwa Capital Markets European economist Tobias Blattner.
U.S. stocks spiraled downward in a late-day frenzied sell-off Monday. European markets followed their cue and sold off sharply early Tuesday.
CNNMoney's Fear MORECatherine Tymkiw - Feb 26, 2013 10:15 AM ET
A spate of good earnings reports seems to be doing the trick...for now.
CNNMoney's Fear & Greed index has only been in greed mode twice since April 5, when worries about Europe finally topped out (although that was short lived).
Any reading above 55 signals investors growing more optimistic. The index got there earlier this month. On July 5, it MORECatherine Tymkiw - Jul 19, 2012 4:17 PM ET
Who knew Europe could wield so much power? A deal, and not even a very concrete one, is sending investors on a buying spree.
Related: Euro 'breakthrough' is tenuous
Stocks around the globe rallied on the surprise announcement, which could mark the first baby step toward creating a banking, and ultimately fiscal, union. Of course, MORECatherine Tymkiw - Jun 29, 2012 12:58 PM ET
Spain's banks have asked for a bailout. But investors are still very nervous -- as well they should be.
Yields on 10-year Spanish bonds shot back up to about 6.5% Monday after hitting a low of 6.02% earlier in the day on hopes that the rescue MOREPaul R. La Monica - Jun 11, 2012 12:42 PM ET
If you thought last week was bad, it's just gotten a lot worse.
A series of disappointing manufacturing reports were topped off Friday with dismal jobs numbers that showed a paltry 69,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy in May.
Related: Behind the jobs report
If that's not enough to give you agita, the yield on the 10-year note tumbled to a record low of 1.46% today. It's not MORECatherine Tymkiw - Jun 1, 2012 2:35 PM ET
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