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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Fund managers surveyed by Bank of America are more optimistic about the stock market now than they’ve been in more than two years. The bank surveyed 216 fund managers who collectively oversee $573 billion.

Worth noting: The survey began as U.S. election results trickled in. It was still in progress when Pfizer and BioNTech released promising data about the efficacy of their coronavirus vaccine.

What they’re saying: “We say 'sell the vaccine' in coming weeks and months as we think we're close to 'full bull,'” Bank of America strategists wrote in a note responding to the survey’s results.

Details: A net 46% of fund managers are overweight equities — the highest share since January 2018.

  • A net 6% are taking higher than normal risk levels — another high dating back to January 2018.
  • Fund managers’ cash holdings fell below the pre-pandemic level — and are at the lowest in five years.

On the shape of the economic recovery ... 39% of investors believed there would be a “double-dip” recession, or W-shaped recovery. 24% said it would be U-shaped, while another 23% said the recovery would be V-shaped. (Notably missing: the “K-shaped” recovery.)

Go deeper

Updated 17 hours ago - Health

U.K. first nation to clear Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for mass rollout

A health care worker during the phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial by Pfizer and BioNTech in Ankara, Turkey, in October. Photo: Dogukan Keskinkilic/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The U.K. government announced Wednesday it approved Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine, which "will be made available across the U.K. from next week."

Why it matters: The U.K. has beaten the U.S. to become the first Western country to give emergency approval for a vaccine that's found to be 95% effective with no serious side effects against a virus that's killed nearly 1.5 million people globally.

Petition backed by Howard Schultz urges Congress to pass small business aid

The Small Business Recovery Initiative, a group backed by former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, released a video on Tuesday featuring struggling small business owners urging viewers to sign a petition that calls on Congress to pass COVID relief.

Why it matters: Recent data increasingly shows the economic recovery is floundering, as coronavirus cases surge and states tighten up restrictions ahead of what is likely to be a grim winter for many families and small businesses. Many of the economic safety nets that vulnerable Americans rely on are set to expire in December.

28 mins ago - Health

U.S. exceeds 100,000 COVID-related hospitalizations for the first time

People wait outside the Emergency room of the Garfield Medical Center in Monterey Park, California on Dec 1. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/Getty Images

More than 100,200 Americans were hospitalized as of Wednesday due to the coronavirus for the first time since the outbreak began in early 2020, per the COVID Tracking Project.

The big picture: The milestone comes as health officials anticipated cases to surge due to holiday travel and gatherings. The impact of the holiday remains notable, as many states across the country are only reporting partial data.