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Investors flee to safe-haven assets on heightened geopolitical risks

(Adds quotes from head of research at Lipper) By Sam Forgione and Jennifer Ablan NEW YORK, April 13 (Reuters) - Investors' risk aversion was on display this week as geopolitical tensions sent new money into safe-haven assets such as government-Treasury as well as gold funds, Lipper data revealed on Thursday.

Taxable bond funds attracted $1 billion in new cash to mark their fourth straight week of inflows, with $396 million going into U.S.-based government-Treasury funds, Lipper data in the seven days through April 12 showed.

U.S.-based corporate investment-grade bond funds attracted $96 million in the latest week, continuing their inflow streak since December, according to Lipper.

For their part, non-taxable U.S. municipal bond funds attracted $1.6 billion for the reporting period, the strongest weekly flows since the week ended Dec. 30, 2013, Lipper added.

"Investors are questioning whether the market has gotten a little ahead of itself against the geopolitical risks and concerns with North Korea and Syria and China's Xi Jinping visit," said Tom Roseen, head of research services at Thomson Reuters Lipper. "Treasuries and munis are just a safe-haven play, with the 10-year yield getting pushed down as these safe-haven plays rallied. Interestingly though, munis got a big boost...maybe because its tax season." U.S.-based stock mutual funds posted cash withdrawals of $1.2 billion, their third consecutive week of outflows, while U.S.-based stock ETFs saw inflows of $2.5 billion, Lipper said.

Investors in exchange-traded funds are thought to represent the institutional investor, including hedge funds. Mutual funds are thought to represent retail investors.

All told, Roseen said notable this week is "the big net inflows" into international equity funds totaling $4 billion -the largest inflows since Dec. 30, 2015.

Roseen said the European Central Bank did not plan on hiking rates soon and "oil got a little boost from supply concerns after the Syrian air strike. I would have thought the upcoming French elections would have caused people to take a wait-and-see approach." That said, investors hedge positions with gold, given geopolitical worries. U.S.-based commodities precious metal funds, which consists of gold futures, posted inflows of $295 million, their second consecutive week for the group, Lipper data showed.

The following is a broad breakdown of the flows for the week, including mutual funds and exchange-traded funds: Sector Flow Chg % Assets ($Bil) Count ($Bil) Assets All Equity Funds 1.378 0.02 5,723.560 11,618 Domestic -2.402 -0.06 4,054.624 8,309 Equities Non-Domestic 3.780 0.23 1,668.936 3,309 Equities All Taxable Bond 1.022 0.04 2,378.526 5,854 Funds All Money Market -2.578 -0.11 2,316.295 1,016 Funds All Municipal 1.628 0.44 373.776 1,396 Bond Funds (Reporting by Sam Forgione and Jennifer ABlan; Editing by Dan Grebler and Lisa Shumaker)