As individuals bail out of U.S. stocks at the fastest rate in three decades, professional speculators have cut bearish bets by the most since 2008.
Money managers are net short 19,375 contracts on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, down 82 percent from a four-year high in September even after the figure jumped from 3,584 last week, data compiled by Bloomberg and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission show. U.S. equity mutual funds recorded $18 billion of outflows in April, the most since at least 1984, according to preliminary data from the Investment Company Institute.
Hedge funds and other institutions are speculating the index will extend its 23 percent rally since October after 69 percent of S&P 500 companies beat first-quarter earnings estimates and economists projected accelerating U.S. growth this year. Bears say last week’s addition to bets on declines show short sellers have completed almost all of the buying they are likely to do, depleting demand for equities.
Great timing! – Lee Adler