Investors are cooling on one of this year’s hottest sectors.

So-called value stocks have fallen behind, with the S&P 500 Value index down 1.9% this month, on track for its worst month since October.

Investors have piled into growth stocks, reversing a months-long trend in which many favored economically sensitive corners of the market like financials and energy stocks. Instead, stocks like Tesla Inc., tech companies and exchange-traded funds like the ARK Innovation ETF have been winning big lately. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite is trading at highs.

The recent run in growth stocks has put the S&P 500 Growth index on track for its biggest outperformance against its value counterpart since August 2020.

Some analysts are calling for value to reclaim its leadership. JPMorgan Chase & Co. strategists said that the recent rally in growth stocks occurred during a period of underwhelming economic data, and that they expect an improving economy to help value stocks.

“We believe the growth heavy index can extend further this year but do not think it keeps a leadership role in the weeks and months ahead,” the firm’s strategists wrote in a note Thursday.

This proxy season, shareholders voted for ESG.

ESG–environment, social and corporate governance–has been a hot topic in the investing world. But up until recently, it’s received relatively little support among investors voting on shareholder resolutions.

This year is looking different.

So far, there’ve been 34 majority votes on shareholder proposals concerning ESG, surpassing last year’s record of 21, according to Proxy Preview, which tracks votes on shareholder resolutions. Last year, only two proposals were able to get more than 70% of shareholders on board. This year, 17 proposals did. Shareholders targeted more disclosure on election spending at Netflix (80.6% approved), a report on supply chain deforestation impacts at Bunge (98.8% approved) and more details on how effective diversity and inclusion programs have been at IBM (94.3% approved).

“This has been an extraordinary year with record high votes for climate change, diversity, and political spending issues,” said Michael Passoff, CEO of Proxy Impact and co-author of Proxy Preview, in a press release. “Shareholder proposals about the COVID-19 pandemic and sexual harassment also received majority votes, while new proposals on racial justice gained unusually high support.”

The electric car maker’s stock is heading for another significant daily gain.Robin Rayne/Zuma Press

Tesla Inc. is on a tear again. The electric car maker’s stock is up 4.7% today, following yesterday’s 5.3% gain. Even though Tesla has pared its gains—it was up more than 6% earlier today—the stock is on track for its biggest two-day increase since April, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

As often happens with Tesla stock—which has a passionate following among many investors, including many who trade bullish call options—it’s not totally clear what is driving the rally. But in one small piece of good news for the company, Tesla’s Model 3 took the top spot on Cars.com’s American-Made Index on Wednesday. That marked the first time an all-electric vehicle took the top spot on the list, which ranks how cars measure up in terms of their contribution to the U.S. economy.

An Android statue on the Google campus in Mountain View, California, U.S.David Paul Morris/Bloomberg News

Having your fate in the hands of a tech giant is never comforting. But occasionally it brings some rewards, like it did for several ad-tech companies on Thursday.

Google announced Thursday morning that it would delay its planned phase-out of third-party cookies used to track users for the purpose of advertising. The move was essentially a backpedal from a plan announced in March to phase out such cookies by early 2022—the new deadline is the end of 2023.

The internet giant owned by Alphabet Inc. cited the need for more time to allow developers and the industry to come up with alternatives. “This is important to avoid jeopardizing the business models of many web publishers which support freely available content,” the company’s blog post read.

The news came as sweet relief for smaller companies in the business of providing advertising technology services—companies that essentially help other companies advertise on the massive Google and Facebook platforms. Trade Desk, Criteo and PubMatic all notched gains between 10%-13% by early afternoon. Those three averaged a loss of 19% in early March when Google first announced its cookie phase-out plan. In a note to clients, Stifel analyst Scott Devitt cited Trade Desk and Criteo as “likely among the best positioned to benefit from the extra time to develop alternative solutions.”

–Dan Gallagher is a columnist for WSJ’s Heard on the Street.

A rising share of individual investors think the stock market rally could be due for a pause.

Neutral sentiment—an expectation that stock prices will stay basically unchanged over the next six months—rose 3.5 percentage points to 36.3% in the the latest sentiment survey by the American Association of Individual Investors.

Many individual investors think stocks still have room to run in 2021. Bullish sentiment, or an expectation that share prices will rise over the next half-year, fell slightly to 40.4%, remaining above its long-term average.

Fewer investors foresee a stock market decline over the next six months. Bearish sentiment dropped 2.8 percentage points to 23.3%, staying below its historical average for the 20th consecutive week.

Some research reports this week show why Wall Street isn’t sending bitcoin to the moon.Angel Garcia/Bloomberg News

Wall Street has been willing to dabble in bitcoin—after all, the Street loves nothing like it loves a buying opportunity—but it’s not going laser-eyes all-in, judging from some of the research reports this week.

On Wednesday, J.P. Morgan strategist Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou waded through the noise of China bans and Elon tweets, and concluded that bitcoin’s real problem is fund flows. Specifically, that they are flowing out, and not in. “More than a month after the May 19th crypto crash, bitcoin funds continue to bleed,” he wrote. “Institutional investors, who tend to invest via regulated vehicles such as publicly listed bitcoin funds or CME Bitcoin futures, still exhibit little appetite to buy the bitcoin dip.”

Well, why aren’t they buying the dip? Goldman Sachs has an answer for that. The firm released an in-depth report over the weekend that concluded bitcoin as an asset class didn’t add any appreciable value to its clients’ portfolios. Bitcoin does not, the firm said, provide a cash flow. It doesn’t have earnings. It’s not a reliable diversification play, and it certainly doesn’t dampen volatility. Worst of all for the diamond-hands set, Goldman said equities or bonds are a better store of value and inflation hedge than bitcoin.

Bitcoiners cried “FUD” of course, but with their beloved digital currency banging hard around the $30,000 level, and few dip-buyers coming in, the sound they’re actually hearing is, like, “thud.”

Construction-related stocks jumped after President Biden and a group of senators agreed to an infrastructure plan.

Shares of machinery giant Caterpillar Inc., building-materials supplier Martin Marietta Materials Inc. and construction-aggregates producer Vulcan Materials Co. each leapt higher midday.

Here’s another sign investors are getting ready for higher interest rates: Swap rates are headed up.

The two-year U.S. swap rate finished Wednesday’s session at 0.323%, up from 0.305% Tuesday and near its highest point since May 2020.

The swap rate is the fixed rate investors charge to receive payments that move with short-term interbank rates. So when they expect higher short-term rates in the future, the swap rate goes up.

“Front-end [swaps] markets are now pricing in over one full rate hike by the end of 2022 and over three by 2023,” Citigroup analysts said in a note.

They think investors are getting ahead of themselves and recommend placing long bets on Treasurys, either by purchasing notes directly or through a hedged position.

U.S. stocks are flying high, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite on track to notch fresh records. Some investors are betting the recent rally won’t last.

Investors have increased bearish bets on some of the biggest exchange-traded funds tracking stocks and bonds after the Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting. They’ve increased short positions on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust, known as SPY, and ETFs tracking bonds.

“The short interest in the SPY ETF has increased markedly post FOMC suggesting investors have been adding equity downside protection,” wrote JPMorgan Chase & Co. strategists in a note Wednesday.

Short interest in some of the biggest exchange-traded funds tracking investment-grade and junk bonds has also increased, though it was already elevated heading into the Fed meeting, the firm said.

The Fed signaled that it expects to raise interest rates by late 2023, sooner than anticipated in March, stoking volatility across the stock and bond markets last week.

Stocks have rebounded this week and bond markets have calmed, but the bearish positioning suggests that some investors are still being cautious and are potentially positioning for a market swoon.