Investors showed less interest in municipal bond mutual funds this past week. Still, funds saw inflows.

For the week ended March 21, muni bond funds saw $88.5 million in inflows from funds that report their flows weekly, according to Lipper FMI. That represented a steep drop from the week ended March 14, when there were net inflows of $698 million.

All told, there have been 16 consecutive weeks of positive flows in the market, and 27 weeks in the red out of the past 29.

This past week, triple-A yields narrowly outperformed Treasuries at the short end, and likewise barely underperformed them at the long end. The 10-year range ended down one basis point for both. Still, yields for both munis and Treasuries mostly ended the week a bit stronger overall.

This past week for inflows, though still positive, were the first relatively subdued one in roughly six months. But over the same period in 2011, the picture was quite different. Then, the industry was still mired in a time of substantial outflows from muni bond funds.

And from mid-November 2010 through early June 2011, money left funds usually by more than $1 billion a week. At its worst, investors in weekly reporting funds withdrew more than $4 billion in the week of Jan. 19, 2011.

This week, assets for funds that report their flows weekly fell for the second straight time, edging down to $287.2 billion from $287.6 billion the previous week.

The value of the holdings for weekly reporting funds fell for the third successive week. This past week they plunged by $1.17 billion. The week before, they had fallen by $851 million.

The four-week moving average for all municipal bond mutual funds that report their flows weekly saw a $586 million inflow, down from a $785 million gain the week before.

High-yield muni funds saw outflows for the first time in 10 weeks. They had also been positive for 14 of the previous 15 weeks.

Funds that report weekly saw $8.62 million in outflows, Lipper said. The previous week, high-yield funds reported inflows of $185 million.

Assets for high-yield funds that report their flows weekly fell for the fist time in seven weeks, to $37.60 billion, up from $37.72 billion the previous week.

The value of the holdings for weekly reporting funds fell by $118 million. Last week, they fell by $33.08 million.

The four-week moving average for all high-yield muni bond funds that report their flows weekly was a $120 million inflow, down from a $168 million inflow the week before.

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