Investors remain bullish about equities but not to the extent that it creates the risk of a sharp swing in sentiment, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said on Wednesday.
They are also more positive about corporate profits than they have been for nearly six years, according to the bank's monthly survey of fund managers.
The October survey showed a net 38 percent of investors to be overweight in equities, up from 27 percent a month earlier, which is reflected in the gains this month on stock markets.
MSCI's all-country world stock index .MIWD00000PUS hit a 12-month high on Wednesday. [ID:nLE150813]
But BofA-Merrill said equity bullishness was not euphoric and far from what it sees as danger levels -- net 50 to 55 percent -- when investors favour stocks so much that sharp reverses could occur.
In addition, the exposure of hedge funds to equities remained low.
Equities remain in a sweet spot: fears of a double-dip have receded, while worries about inflation and monetary tightening are not imminent enough to prevent an October surge in risk appetite, said Michael Hartnett, the bank's chief global equity strategist, said in a note.
The survey also found that two-thirds of investors now see a double-dip recession as unlikely, an increase from slightly below half last month.
One of the biggest drivers behind the current phase of the equity rally appears to be a belief, held by two-thirds of the survey's respondents, that global economic growth and inflation will remain below trend.
Barclays Capital research suggests that current conditions are the best for both stocks and bonds. The firm noted last week that the best return regime of a cycle is when both growth and inflation are below trend [see link.reuters.com/rup33f].
BofA-Merrill's survey pointed to this lifting investor hopes for the latest corporate earnings season.
It said that a net 72 percent of respondents were expecting higher corporate profits, the most bullish stance since December 2003.