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Data: FactSet; Chart: Dion Rabouin/Axios Visuals

U.S. households increased their exposure to stocks to 41% of their total financial assets in April, the highest level on record, WSJ reported Sunday, citing JPMorgan and Federal Reserve data that dates back to 1952.

Why it matters: It's the latest evidence that investors are getting far more bullish on equities, increasing exposure to risk and reducing hedges.

  • The data includes 401(k) retirement accounts, which means everyday Americans' savings are following retail and institutional traders' bets that the stock market will continue to fly high.

By the numbers: Stock funds have seen net inflows for seven straight weeks, including a net $53.7 billion for the week ending March 17, an all-time high, according to data from the Investment Company Institute.

The big picture: Everyone and their mother is buying stocks, with flows underpinned by record borrowing from hedge funds and big banks, as well as a record level of margin debt being held by retail and institutional investors.

  • Equity funds haven't seen net outflows since the week of March 3, with the S&P 500 rising by 10% since then.
  • By mid-April, more money had flowed into stock funds this year than had been seen for the 12-year period of 2008-2020.

Go deeper

Big debt waters tested by Medline buyout

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The largest LBO financing since the financial crisis is coming to a debt market near you. A bevy of banks made their initial pitch this week to sell investors part of a $15 billion loan backing the $34 billion buyout of medical supplies company Medline Industries.

What's new: A banking group led by JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs asked a select group of high yield fund managers to buy a piece of the Medline debt commitment known as a "bridge loan," sources tell Axios. Investors were asked to make their decisions by Wednesday.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Aug 5, 2021 - Economy & Business

Why investors should ignore economists

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

What kind of investor would ignore economics? A successful one, says legendary hedge fund manager Howard Marks in the memo we wrote about on Monday.

Why it matters: Nearly all investors — Marks included — have views on the economy, how it works, and where it's headed. Many of them go to great lengths to disseminate and popularize those views. (Looking at you, Ray Dalio.) But that's all marketing, not investing.

The stock market has gotten cheaper over the past year

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

A widely followed valuation metric suggests stocks have been getting cheaper over the past year, even as prices have surged to new highs.

Why it matters: When stocks rise and company market caps balloon, it’s tempting to think that the shares must eventually fall in order to get to more reasonable levels.