American Funds, a unit of Los Angeles-based Capital Group Cos., pulled in the most amount of money among mutual fund companies in January with net inflows of $8.4 billion, according to research released by Financial Research Corp. on Tuesday. It was followed by the Vanguard Group with $6.2 billion and exchange-traded fund manager Barclays Global Investors with $2.9 billion.

Large fund companies that were involved in improper trading activities saw severe withdrawals in January. Putnam experienced net outflows of $2.5 billion and Janus Capital Group lost $2.3 billion.

While asset flows, which are a measure of market sentiment, increased robustly at funds investing overseas, net sales for asset managers were lackluster. Long-term bond and stock funds raked in a mere $20.2 billion in January, down from $48.6 billion in the previous year.

Six of the best-selling funds in January belonged to American Funds, with its $95 billion Growth Fund of America, a top seller, receiving $2 billion in inflows.

Two exchange-traded funds also made the top-selling funds list in January. The StreetTracks Gold Trust, which invests directly in gold bullion, took in $791 million in January and the iShares Dow Jones Select Dividend Index added $682 million.

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