While the percentage of cash held by mutual funds for the month of September reached its highest level in close to two years, it is still low compared to the five-year average and does not presage a trend, according to the Investment Company Institute of Washington D.C. and industry analysts.

Through 1999, the five-year average of cash held by equity funds was 6.22 percent, according to the ICI. At the end of September, 5.3 percent, or $533 billion of equity funds' assets were invested in cash, up from 4.7 percent in August. That was considerably higher than this year's average of 4.76 percent, but funds' cash investments fluctuate on a monthly basis and September's figures do not portend an upward trend, said Chris Wloszczyna, an ICI spokesperson.

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