March 1 (Reuters) - U.S. investors were big buyers of money market funds in the seven days leading to Feb. 28, ahead of a key reading on inflation amid lingering uncertainties about interest rate cuts.

They purchased a net $42.54 billion worth of U.S. money market funds during the week, logging their largest weekly net purchase since Jan. 3, data from LSEG showed.

The U.S. Federal Reserve's preferred inflation gauge, the core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index data, on Thursday showed that the annual increase in inflation was the smallest in nearly three years.

Investors had been particularly anxious ahead of the PCE data after higher-than-expected readings for the most recent consumer and producer prices.

Meanwhile, U.S. equity funds received $196 million in inflows during the week after about $4.89 billion worth of net selling in the past week, thanks to a sentiment boost from Nvidia's upbeat earnings outlooks.

The tech sector received $520 million worth of inflows during the week after experiencing outflows in the previous week.

Consumer discretionary and metals & mining sectors also lured $262 million and $236 million worth of inflows, respectively.

By segment, U.S. growth funds received $613 million worth of inflows after an outflow of $3.57 billion in the previous week. Value funds still had $449 million worth of outflows, a second successive week of net selling.

U.S. bond funds, meanwhile, stayed in demand for a 10th successive week, drawing in a net $1.88 billion worth of inflows.

U.S. short/intermediate investment-grade funds received $2.59 billion, the biggest amount in three weeks. High yield and short/intermediate government & treasury funds meanwhile saw $450 million and $267 million worth of net selling, respectively.

(Reporting by Gaurav Dogra and Patturaja Murugaboopathy in Bengaluru; Editing by Vijay Kishore)