March was an unimpressive month for mutual funds because markets were down, according to a research report by Lipper.

Don Cassidy, senior research analyst at Lipper, said stock-fund inflows were nearly halved from February, standing at $14.5 billion, owing to cautious investing behavior on the part of investors, who were bogged down by rising interest rates and higher oil prices.

Bond-fund flows were in the red last month as interest rates climbed, making outflows exceed inflows by $3.5 billion. High yields were a drag, although investors did lap up high-yield municipal funds, which had net flows of $1.1 billion.

World equity and bond funds fared better than their U.S. counterparts in March. World equity funds took in $7 billion last month, down from $12 billion in February, owing to a rise in the dollar. World bond funds also did well under the expectation that the dollar would decline in the future.

However, lifecycle funds did see positive flows, bringing in $1.45 billion in March.

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