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Bank of America warns of a ‘bear rally’ that could come to an end soon


Bank of America strategists are not a believer in July’s stock market surge and believe the point is getting closer where it will be time to sell. The S & P 500 has jumped 7.6% this month as bond yields have come down, corporate earnings are not as bad as feared and enthusiasm has grown that the Federal Reserve may not have to be as aggressive in the future in its efforts to pull down inflation. But BofA’s equity team warned Thursday that more trouble could be ahead. “We remain of view this is a bear rally,” Michael Hartnett, the bank’s chief investment strategist, said in his weekly “Flow Show” report analyzing where money is flowing across financial markets. Hartnett said it “makes sense” that with government bond yields dropping stocks are rising, since the rise in yields amid escalating inflation fears was a major catalyst in slamming equities into a temporary bear market. However, he cautioned that things could change “once labor market turns recessionary” and bonds again could outperform stocks. Weekly jobless claims have been rising consistently, and economists generally expect payroll gains to start to tail off. Hartnett said he “would fade” any level of the S & P 500 above 4,200, which is 3.1% above Thursday’s close. He would be a buyer if the index would fall below the “true lows” of 3,600, or 11.6% below the Thursday level. Investors have been buying into the recent rally. Inflows to U.S. stock funds totaled $9.5 billion last week, the highest total in six weeks, according to Bank of America data. High-yield bond funds gathered $4.8 billion on the week, the best take in 21 months.

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