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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

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”