GRAPHIC-Energy sector funds lure highest inflows in three months, Lipper data shows

Feb 11 (Reuters) – Mutual funds and exchange traded funds (ETFs) that invest in energy sector firms have seen the highest money flows in three months in the week ended Feb. 10, Refinitiv Lipper data showed, as oil prices rise on hopes of a global economic recovery.

Energy sector funds attracted about $127.1 million in inflows in the week ended Feb. 10, the most in 12 weeks, according to data for 349 energy funds, based on Lipper’s sector classification.

iShares S&P 500 Energy Sector UCITS ETF USD (Acc) and iShares S&P/TSX Capped Energy Index ETF led the list with inflows of $24.3 million and $22.8 million, respectively, in the week ended Feb. 10, the data showed.

Top global oil firms such as Royal Dutch Shell PLC and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp have gained more than 5% this month, thanks to a surge in oil prices.

Hopes of a faster economic recovery this year prompted analysts to raise earnings forecasts for oil firms this year.

Analysts have raised their earnings forecasts for global energy sector firms by 5.5% over the past month, compared with just 2.2% for the overall market.

The MSCI All Country World Energy Index has surged 9.3% this year compared with the MSCI’s World Index’s gains of about 5%.

“The rekindling of energy prices has been perfectly correlated to the announcement of a successful vaccine and then the ongoing rollout worldwide,” Jefferies said in a report.

The energy sector also has the lowest dividend yield, compared with other sectors, the data showed.

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