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Individual investors, who hold more sway over the corporate bond market than ever, are allocating the least amount of cash this year to U.S. high-yield mutual funds in a signal that sentiment may be shifting.

Speculative-grade bond funds reported net inflows of $75 million through April 16, the lowest since a monthly outflow of $9.1 million in December, according to EPFR Global data. U.S. mutual funds reported an unprecedented $698.3 billion of corporate bond assets at the end of February, from $327.9 billion in 2008, data compiled by the Investment Company Institute show.

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