The Dow gained nearly 500 points last week to close at 26,424. It's now just "1.5% shy of its all-time high of 26,828.39, set on Oct. 3, 2018," Barron's notes. The S&P 500 is just 1.3% from its record close, and the Nasdaq is just 2.1% away from a record high.

Why it matters: U.S. stocks have shaken off almost all of their December sell-off, yet banks continue to report that investors are selling, not buying, equities.

  • "Fund flows continue to rotate towards bonds and out of equities. Bonds funds have continued to rake in flows ($11.4 billion this week) across almost every category, while large equity outflows persist (-$7.7 billion this week)," analysts at Deutsche Bank said in a Sunday note to clients.
  • So far in 2019, bond funds have seen almost $150 billion of inflows while equity funds have recorded $50 billion of outflows.

"The persistent outflows despite the strong equity rally are unusual but as we noted last week, have been driven by investors chasing falling yields," Deutsche analysts added.

Yes, but: Data from Lipper also shows money moving out of equities (-$11 billion) and into not just bonds but safe-haven money market funds, which took in $31.6 billion in net new money at the end of March, according to the most recently released report.

The bottom line: Aside from hedge funds, real money has largely been on the sidelines during the equity market's run, a theme that has been in place all year. What seems to really be pushing the stock market higher is corporate buybacks, which are on pace to surpass last year's record total.

  • But buybacks have long been a major part of U.S. stocks' rise. A recent study from researchers at the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority found that from 1997 to 2017, net buybacks explain 80% of the difference in countries’ stock market returns.

Go deeper

Updated 17 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 33,138,963 — Total deaths: 998,380 — Total recoveries: 22,953,639Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 7,116,455 — Total deaths: 204,762 — Total recoveries: 2,766,280 — Total tests: 101,298,794Map.
  3. States: 3 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week
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27 mins ago - Technology

Exclusive: Where Trump and Biden stand on tech issues

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Getty Images photos: Win McNamee and Saul Loeb/AFP

Joe Biden has laid out a more concrete tech agenda whereas President Trump has focused on tax cuts and deregulation while criticizing tech firms for anti-conservative bias. That's according to a side-by-side analysis of the two candidates' tech records by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation shared exclusively with Axios.

Why it matters: The tech industry needs to prepare for either four more years of Trump's impulsive policy approach or for a Biden administration that's likely to be critical of tech but slow to take action.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Big Tech's share of the S&P 500 reached record level in August

Expand chart
Reproduced from The Leuthold Group; Chart: Axios Visuals

The gap between the weighting of the five largest companies in the S&P 500 and the 300 smallest rose to the highest ever at the end of August, according to data from the Leuthold Group.

Why it matters: The concentration of wealth in a few massive U.S. tech companies has reached a scale significantly greater than it was before the dot-com bubble burst.