Spooked by the severe decline in equity markets before the Dow's stunning 489-point rally last week, mutual fund shareholders have been busy dialing into their fund companies. Call volumes at most fund groups spiked significantly during the week of July 15 and again last week as nervous investors redeemed shares, exchanged into bond and money market funds and sought reassurance, fund executives said.

At least two fund companies reported that call volumes had increased to levels rivaling the near-record level of phone calls in the first days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But this time, instead of asking whether their investments are safe, investors are asking if and when the market will stop hemorrhaging.

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