Stocking Up

Why mutual-fund money is flooding into equities--three years late

Illustration by Hinterland for TIME

Recently, investors discovered an amazing new asset class: stocks. Nearly $44 billion flowed into equity mutual funds this year through the week ending Feb. 6, according to the Investment Company Institute (ICI)--the biggest swing in years. But the eureka moment came way too late for many stock-averse investors, who missed earlier opportunities to repair their portfolios in the wake of the recession.

One of the frustrations expressed by financial planners is that we investors are perfectly willing to buy socks on sale but not stocks. Look at the history: After equities' prices cratered 50% in 2009, reaching a low in March,...

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