Stock and balanced funds took in $85 billion in the first quarter of 2005, according to Strategic Insight. The results reflect confidence among mutual fund investors in the face of stock market uncertainties, as well as a preference to offerings outside the U.S., said S.I. Director of Research Avi Nachmany.

"Just as remarkable, international equity funds' share of net flows rose to about half of the total demand for all equity funds during the latest quarter, roughly matching inflows to U.S. equity funds, and up from about one-third last year and under one-fifth in 2003," Nachmani added. "Investors' interest in international diversification is likely to persist."

During February, Strategic Insight estimated, inflows to equity and balanced mutual funds neared $37 billion, although sluggish stock prices in March "cooled stock fund inflows somewhat." Bond fund inflows during February neared $5 billion, the firm said, a third of which went into global bond funds.

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