It sounds like a broken record, but in these months before the 2004 presidential election, investors are opting for words like "safety" and "caution" over "wild" and "woolly." Equity fund inflows were an estimated $8.2 billion in August, according to Lipper, as value funds once again beat growth funds. As a whole, stock and non-stock equity funds (mixed and miscellaneous equity included) took in $11.5 billion. The amount is considered modest, a word which could also describe most investors’ styles right now.

Uncertainty over Iraq and the suddenly slow-moving U.S. economy also contributed to another month of moderation by investors. Both stock equity and mixed equity funds had inflows, but only moderate ones. And money market funds, which once again suffered outflows, suffered them at a much less severe rate compared with last year. Other fixed income funds posted strong numbers, thanks in large part to the fledgling stock market.

Last month, Don Cassidy, a senior research analyst at Lipper, had said that investors have been more concerned with not losing money than actually gaining it. The numbers for August seem to back that up. In fact, the company’s month-end analysis, called FundFlows Insight, shows that investors are opting for practically anything they perceive as safer.

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