Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Equity investors are beginning to sound the alarm on the stock market's big gains over the last month and a half, with even longtime bulls saying the nearly 30% run may have gotten "a little ahead of itself" and away from economic fundamentals.

What they're saying: Stan Druckenmiller, the former chief strategist for George Soros, called the prospect of a V-shaped recovery in the U.S. a “fantasy” during a webcast Tuesday and said government stimulus won’t be enough to overcome real-world problems.

  • Citigroup’s chief U.S. equity strategist Tobias Levkovich said he expects the economy will have problems for "the next few months" and that the bull case for stocks has been over for about six weeks.
  • David Kostin, chief U.S. equity strategist at Goldman Sachs, said earlier this week that investors are dismissing significant concerns, "including $103 billion in expected bank loan losses in the next four quarters, lack of buybacks, dividend cuts, and domestic and global political uncertainty."
  • He expects the S&P 500 will drop 18% in the next three months.

Watch this space: The S&P 500's rally has put the index just below its May 2019 levels but has excluded most institutional investors, who have gone to cash at record rates since late March.

  • Assets in money market funds, which are effectively savings accounts, have reached a record $5 trillion after seeing inflows in each of the past 10 weeks and rising by $1.15 trillion, according to Deutsche Bank.
  • And the U.S. personal savings rate jumped to 13.1% in March, the highest since November 1981.

Be smart: Bank of America's "Bull & Bear Indicator" has been stuck at 0 for weeks, suggesting investors remain extremely bearish, with 9 out of 10 calling the gains a "bear market rally" and 8 out of 10 expecting a U- or W-shaped economic recovery, rather than a V.

  • Goldman's investor sentiment indicator has fallen to -1.3, also indicating extreme distaste for stocks.
  • Deutsche Bank's data show three straight weeks of equity fund outflows.

Go deeper: The federal government's coronavirus response risks spiking inflation

Go deeper

S&P 500 closes at record high for first time since pandemic began

Source: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

The S&P 500 closed at a new high on Tuesday for the first time since February, before the coronavirus pandemic was declared.

Why it matters: It’s among the fastest-ever recoveries on record and comes as millions of Americans remain out of work during one of the worst economic downturns in U.S. history.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Aug 18, 2020 - Economy & Business

The American real estate conundrum

Reproduced from CivicScience; Chart: Axios Visuals

The housing market has been a solidly bright spot in the U.S. economy in recent months.

Yes, but: There remain serious questions about what the next phase for the market will be as the coronavirus pandemic has created an enormous amount of uncertainty about where and how people will live.

The TikTok deal's for-show provisions and flimsy foundations

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The new deal to rescue TikTok from a threatened U.S. ban — full of provisions aimed at creating the temporary appearance of a presidential win — looks like a sort of Potemkin village agreement.

How it works: Potemkin villages were fake-storefront towns stood up to impress a visiting czar and dignitaries. When the visitors left, the stage set got struck.

  • Similarly, many elements of this plan look hastily erected and easily abandoned once the spotlight moves on.