Recent data showing that net flows into the mutual fund industry were off 51 percent in the first quarter of this year are deceptive and should not be regarded as an indicator of the industry's health, according to Strategic Insight, a mutual fund research and consulting firm in New York.

Financial Research Corporation of Boston recently released data that showed long-term net flows - new sales less redemptions - into stock and bond funds in the first quarter were down 51 percent to $42.1 billion from $86.7 billion a year earlier (MFMN, 5/10/99).

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