Individual investors rushed into stocks and bonds in January, setting the stage for the biggest month on record for deposits into U.S. mutual funds.
Long-term funds, which exclude money-market vehicles, attracted $64.8 billion in the first three weeks of the month, according to the Washington-based Investment Company Institute. The previous record was $52.6 billion for all of May 2009, according to the ICI, whose data goes back to 1984.
Signs of improvement in the U.S. economy and a rising stock market that pushed the Dow Jones Industrial Average above 14,000 today for the first time since 2007 have prompted Americans to step up their investments. Equity mutual funds gathered $29.9 billion in January’s first three weeks, more than for any full month since 2006.
“When we got beyond the fiscal cliff it unlocked a lot of money,” David Kelly, chief global strategist for New York-based JPMorgan Funds, said in a telephone interview. “That was a big risk that was removed.”
The unit of JPMorgan Chase & Co. manages $367 billion. The U.S. Congress at the start of the year reached a compromise to avoid more than $600 billion in scheduled tax increases and spending cuts that could have damaged the economy.
Hiring climbed in January after accelerating more than previously estimated at the end of 2012, evidence the U.S. labor market was making progress. Payrolls rose 157,000 after a revised 196,000 advance in the prior month and a 247,000 surge in November, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington.
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