Municipal bond mutual funds continued to garner cash last week despite the flight from risk that has driven most of the flows this month.
Muni funds that report their figures weekly posted a net inflow of $279.7 million during the week ended May 12, according to Lipper FMI. It was the heaviest flow in a month.
All funds, including those that report their figures monthly, have been reporting inflows at an average rate of $283.6 million a week the past four weeks.
Municipal flows have withstood a wide-scale flight to quality that began earlier this month when the Greek debt crisis reached a boiling point.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury bond has slipped 12 basis points this month.
Investors in May have ferried about $5.5 billion to money market funds, a traditional safe haven, according to the Investment Company Institute.
Gold hit a record high of $1,249.70 per ounce on Friday.
According to EPFR Global, a fund-flow tracking firm, outflows from high-yield bond funds hit a five-year high last week.
“As markets digested the latest multilateral effort to keep Greece’s fiscal woes from doing wider damage to the global recovery, investors sold perceived riskier asset classes during the second week of May,” EPFR analyst Cameron Brandt wrote in a report. “Flows into EPFR Global-tracked bond funds finally began to mirror the growing risk-aversion and fears about the sovereign debt of weaker Eurozone countries that have been roiling global markets for several weeks now.”
None of this seemed to disturb the $490.68 billion municipal mutual fund industry.
Flows to long-term funds were particularly strong by recent standards, and short-term funds have begun commanding cash again after coughing up money throughout most of April. Flows to high-yield municipal funds remained positive.
“Perhaps it’s a sign of resiliency or maybe that the technical underpinnings of the tax-exempt market are still strong,” JPMorgan municipal strategist Chris Holmes wrote in a note to clients. “But term maturity tax-exempt mutual funds, almost across the board, had decent net inflows for the week ending May 12.”
In its monthly report for May, the municipal team at BlackRock pointed out that money streaming out of tax-free money market funds continues to support municipal funds.
Tax-free money funds bled $8.65 billion in April “as investors continued to seek higher-yielding alternatives and direct cash elsewhere,” BlackRock said.
“This helped municipal bond funds to maintain net inflows, although at a slower pace than previously.”
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