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Investors just pumped the most money ever into stock funds for a single week

  • U.S. stock-focused funds took in $43.3 billion in fresh cash over the past week, a new record, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
  • The move comes barely a month after major indexes plunged into correction territory following an inflation scare.
  • Investor pessimism is at its lowest level since early this year, according to the American Association of Individual Investors survey.

With the market correction barely a month in the rear-view mirror, investors have jumped back into stocks in record numbers.

Stock-focused funds took in $43.3 billion in fresh cash over the past week, a new peak that reverses much of the angst over the past several weeks, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Resurgent interest in equities came as stock market indexes staged modest gains. The S&P 500 was up about 1.4 percent for the week ended March 14. The Dow industrials were flat during the period.

Investors had pulled $9.4 billion from stock funds the previous week. Bond funds also are looking up, with $2.4 billion of inflows, BofAML reported.

The new money for stock funds amounted to nearly 0.6 percent of total assets, the best since September 2013.

Distribution was widespread, with international funds taking in $53.9 billion and U.S. getting $11.1 billion.

Market sentiment has improved since the major indexes tumbled into correction territory in early February following an inflation scare that generated worries over whether the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates more aggressively than anticipated. A correction is generally defined as a 10 percent or more drop from the most recent high.

Pessimism fell to its lowest level since the first week of 2018, at 21.3 percent a drop of 7.1 percentage points, according to this week's reading from the American Association of Individual Investors Sentiment Survey.

For the year, stock-based ETFs have pulled in $82.7 billion while bond funds have seen $11.7 billion in inflows, according to FactSet.

—Fund flows have been updated from an earlier version.

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