Worldwide mutual fund assets grew by $3.6% during the first quarter to $14.6 trillion, according to recent figures compiled from 39 countries by the Investment Company Institute and the International Investment Funds Association. Fueled by robust stock market performances in multiple countries and a surge in new investments, net cash flow worldwide grew to $246 billion in the first quarter of 2004 from $74 billion during the first quarter of 2003. Strong demand for equity funds and a rebound in appetites for money market funds in France and Korea largely fueled the overall picture of industry growth. Global equity assets ballooned 5.8% during the first quarter of 2004 to $6.2 trillion. Most of the equity fund gains were recorded in the Americas, which accumulated $90 billion in the first quarter, a significant, 36% increase from $66 billion during the fourth quarter of 2003. Balanced funds assets, which gained $36 billion of net inflows, grew by 3.2% during the first quarter this year. Bond fund assets -- which dropped by 1.8% worldwide during the first quarter -- suffered a setback when Luxembourg reclassified some fixed-income funds into money market funds. American and European markets led the charge in attracting $39 billion of bond funds assets during the first quarter. Money market funds worldwide rose by 4.2% in the first quarter despite experiencing a total net outflow of $6 billion during that period. The reclassification of bond funds in Luxembourg helped offset outflows from the asset class.
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