Equity funds posted their third-consecutive quarter of plus-side returns, gaining 5.14% in the first quarter of 2011 compared with the previous quarter, according to a Lipper panel discussion and report released on Tuesday.
In fixed income, headline risk kept most bond fund groups in the black at the end of the first quarter, notes Jeff Tjornejoh, head of Lipper Americas Research. Long-term Treasury and some, but not all, municipal-debt fund groups were the quarter's worst performers, he explains, badly trailing riskier high yield and flexible income strategies.
For Q1 2011, 73 of Lipper's 79 equity-fund classifications posted positive returns, says Tom Roseen, a senior analyst with fund-research group. For the second-consecutive quarter, U.S. diversified-equity funds (up 6.04%) outpaced sector-equity funds (which rose 5.67%), mixed-equity funds (up 3.66%), and world-equity funds (that ticked up 2.60%).
As for fund flows, investors turned their focus to equity mutual funds, and that group ended the first quarter of 2011 with net inflows of $57 billion, according to Matthew Lemieux, a Lipper research analyst.
“This was quite a turnaround from the $12.1 billion in outflows posted the previous quarter,” he said on Tuesday. Taxable fixed income also did well, adding $36.2 billion in flows, bolstered by heavy interest in both loan-participation funds (with inflows of $14.4 billion) and multi-sector income funds ($8.1 billion).
In January, equity funds gained 1.15%, with 84% of equity and mixed- equity funds posting positive returns, according to Lipper research.