According to figures from Lipper and the Investment Company Institute, investors are generally abandoning equity funds for bond funds and are also giving growth funds the thumbs down. Even among equity funds, more staid asset classes have been faring well, according to the ICI.

Lipper reported net outflows of $1 billion from equity funds, representing the first January equity fund outflow since 1990. Bond fund net sales were up $13 billion.

"The turn of the year often marks a time for reassessments and defining direction for the year ahead, and it appears investors have said yes to income and no to growth," said Don Cassidy, senior analyst at Lipper.

The interest in income is not limited to bond funds, with many investors selecting income-oriented offerings within equity funds.

The ICI reported $3.24 billion of outflows from capital appreciation funds, which includes aggressive growth, growth and sector funds. However, international stock funds picked up $974 million in inflows, growth and income funds had $1.06 billion in inflows, and income equity funds had $737 million in inflows.

Institutional money funds experienced outflows of $5.4 billion, while retail money funds experienced inflows of $3.9 billion, according to the ICI.

Although the general sense is that money is flowing from growth into income, because of the vagaries of tracking, it’s still impossible to say where the money is going, said John Wloszczyna, spokesman for the ICI. "It’s very hard to figure out, for every dollar that left one fund, where it goes. Some people may have retired and that represents their income."

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