New York research firm Strategic Insight reported today that equity and balanced fund flows in March resulted in the second-best month ever for mutual funds.

Investors poured a net $37 billion into the funds, including into variable annuities and ETFs, the researcher said. The best month for net flows was February of 2000 when investors poured more than $50 billion into funds.

In a statement, Strategic Insight attributed the gains to "rising investor and consumer confidence, poor yields for bank deposits and money market funds, seasonal investments, retirement and 529 educational savings, and on-going shifts from individual stocks into diversified mutual funds."

Investors also became less leery of international products, which posted net flows of $2.5 billion.

Growth funds broke even by rough estimates, despite recovering equity markets, Lipper said. Money funds, which have been thriving in turbulent markets, posted outflows of $38 billion, the largest since April 2000.

Fund researcher Lipper, meanwhile, set the March flows figure at a net $30 billion. The firm said that, despite rising confidence among investors, they still favor value funds, socking some $13.9 billion into the vehicles last month.

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