Gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs) continued to lose sheen as an investment class as investors pulled out Rs 388 crore from these instruments in April- September 2017. Trading in gold ETF segment has been tepid during the last four financial years. It witnessed outflows of Rs 775 crore in 2016-17, Rs 903 crore in 2015-16, Rs 1,475 crore in 2014-15 and Rs 2,293 crore in 2013-14. On the other hand, equity and equity-linked saving scheme (ELSS) saw an infusion of more than Rs 80,000 crore during the first six months (April-September) of the current financial year. This included an investment of close to Rs 19,000 crore in the last month alone. Stock markets have been on an upswing, touching new highs this year. According to Anshul Saigal, portfolio manager at Kotak Mutual Fund, investors are opting for equity over gold and other asset classes in the past few years as equity has given good return. Gold ETFs are passive investment instruments that are based on price movements and investments in physical gold. "While demand from India has traditionally buttressed gold prices globally, sound rally in the Indian equity markets has meant that gold as an asset class has not been favoured. A a strong Indian equity market may mean a sober outlook for gold," Vidya Bala, head of MF Research at Fundsindia.com said. Further, demonetisation and lower gold price from a strengthening rupee has kept its prices low although imports of the metal shot up, she added. According to the latest data available with Association of Mutual Funds in India (Amfi), a net sum of Rs 388 crore was pulled out in 14 gold-linked ETFs during April-Septemer period this year. The outflow meant assets under management (AUM) of gold funds plunged to Rs 5,148 crore at September-end from Rs 5,480 crore at the end of March. Withdrawal of Rs 66 crore was seen in April this year, Rs 71 crore in May, Rs 81 crore in June, Rs 38 crore in July, Rs 58 crore in August and another Rs 74 crore in September.