In Striking Shift, Small Investors Flee Stock Market By GRAHAM BOWLEY Published: August 21, 2010 Full Article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/business/22invest.html?_r=1&hp Renewed economic uncertainty is testing Americansâ generation-long love affair with the stock market. Investors withdrew a staggering $33.12 billion from domestic stock market mutual funds in the first seven months of this year, according to the Investment Company Institute, the mutual fund industry trade group. Now many are choosing investments they deem safer, like bonds. If that pace continues, more money will be pulled out of these mutual funds in 2010 than in any year since the 1980s, with the exception of 2008, when the global financial crisis peaked. One of the phenomena of the last several decades has been the rise of the individual investor. So the turnabout is striking. So is the timing. After past recessions, ordinary investors have typically regained their enthusiasm for stocks, hoping to profit as the economy recovered. This time, even as corporate earnings have improved, Americans have become more guarded with their investments. It may take many years before it is clear whether this becomes a long-term shift in psychology. After technology and dot-com shares crashed in the early 2000s, for example, investors were quick to re-enter the stock market. Yet bigger economic calamities like the Great Depression affected peopleâs attitudes toward money for decades. As investors pulled billions out of stocks, they plowed $185.31 billion into bond mutual funds in the first seven months of this year, and total bond fund investments for the year are on track to approach the record set in 2009.