The Tell: Fund managers are more optimistic on stocks than any time since the pandemic began

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CureVac AG Chief Executive Dr. Franz-Werner Haas is shown on the NasdaqMarketSite video facade in Times Square, virtually ringing the closing bell, marking his company’s Aug. 14 listing.

Associated Press

Fund managers are the most bullish they have been since the pandemic, according to the latest survey from Bank of America released on Tuesday.

A net 12% were overweight equities, an increase of seven percentage points since July, according to the latest survey. The S&P 500 SPX, +0.16% has climbed 51% from its March lows, and the Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.45% has surged 62% on its way to 33 record highs.

Bank of America’s monthly fund-manager survey finds a plurality now accepting the stock market is in a bull phase versus a bear-market rally by a 46%-to-35% margin. In July, 47% still thought it was a bear-market rally versus 40% believing stocks were in a bull market.

The net percentage of investors expecting global profits to improve over the next 12 months shot up 21 percentage points to 57%, the highest level since March 2017, as those who say companies are overleveraged fell by 10 percentage points.

The fund managers, meanwhile, aren’t convinced by the rally in gold. A net 31% say gold is overvalued, the highest percentage since 2011, and the percentage who say an equal-weighted stock, bond and gold portfolio is overvalued is the highest since 2008. Gold on Tuesday was back above the $2,000 mark. It’s up 31% this year.

There was the beginning of a rotation to an inflation trade, as investors are increasingly buying up eurozone and emerging-markets stocks as the dollar weakens. Materials, banks and small stocks also were more in demand as bonds, cash, U.S. and technology fell out of favor somewhat.

A total of 203 panellists with $518 billion in assets under management participated in the survey.