Individual investors, who hold more sway over the corporate bondmarket than ever, are allocating the least amount of cash this yearto U.S. high-yield mutual funds in a signal that sentiment may beshifting.

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

Consumers have seized unprecedented control of the market forcompany debt as Federal Reserve data show ownership falling toalmost a 10-year low and as trading as a portion of total bondsoutstanding declines worldwide. Concern is mounting that a reversalof the stampede into the securities would undermine a market that'sgained 54 percent since the end of 2008, Bank of America MerrillLynch index data show.

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