NU Online News Service, May 13, 2003, 4:53 p.m. EDT – Mutual fund analysts at Standard & Poor’s, New York, see signs that the U.S. investment climate began to thaw in April.

Domestic stock funds returned 7.79% in April after falling more than 3% during the first three months of the year. The April 2003 gain compares with a drop of 3.67% in April 2002.

Sam Stovall, S&P?s chief investment strategist, suggests that the increase may be more than a fluke.

“In April, most investors saw the Iraqi war ending quicker than they thought, so the war won’t have a negative impact on the economy,” Stovall says. “After the war ended, investors realized that earnings were pretty healthy, and the economy was improving.”