Principal-protection, bond and hedge funds have been gaining popularity on both sides of the pond.

"There are two trends right now: protecting capital versus looking for extra return," Ben Phillips, Cerulli Associates’ director of international research told The Wall Street Journal.

Disillusionment with the equity markets is shared both by Americans and Europeans. Assets in equity funds for the 30 largest providers of European-domiciled funds declined 19% in February to $171 billion, according to Fitzrovia International. But assets in hedge funds ballooned 182%, ETFs soared 50% and protected-capital funds rose 29%.

Bond funds have also been reaping tremendous assets, but, again, just as American fund managers and financial planners have been warning against investing at the top of the bond market, their counterparts in Europe are sounding the same caution.

Worldwide, the investment management industry lost 7% of assets in 2002, dropping from $38.7 trillion, to $35.9 trillion – one of the worst years ever, according to Cerulli. In the U.S., assets also fell 7%, from $6.9 trillion at the end of 2001 to $6.4 billion at the end of last year, according to the Investment Company Institute.

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The staff of Mutual Fund Market News ("MFMN") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MFMN, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries.

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