"There is a sense that we're running out of gas in this recovery," said Lipper analyst Jeff Tjornehoj.
There's other evidence of investors' lack of confidence. In one week's time in mid-June, investors withdrew $1.8 billion from stock funds, according to the Investment Company Institute, a mutual fund industry trade group.
"There's just too much volatility in the market for equity investors to see things through," Tjornehoj said.
The only standouts of the quarter were precious metal funds, which posted an average return of 11.4 percent because of surging gold prices. Some investors flock to gold because it's seen as a safer bet in volatile markets.
Some of the best places to be were in corners of the market considered safe. Government bond funds saw average returns of 3 percent to 4 percent depending on the maturity of the debt.
The kinds of funds that depend on a strong economy did particularly poorly. Unlike precious metals funds, basic materials funds fared poorly because of fears that demand for raw materials would fall. Basic materials funds had a negative return of 11.6 percent.