One characteristic of recent stock market action is extreme correlation. Chart 1 shows that during the sharp market decline following the COVID-19 arrival in the U.S. and the V-shaped upturn thereafter, the average correlation of S&P 500 constituents moved to near its highest level measured back to 1986.
During a stock market rally we find difficult to comprehend, it somehow seems appropriate to publish a chart we’re almost at a loss to explain. The first chart shows the 90-year history of the trailing one-year (252-day) correlation of daily returns across market sectors. Correlations have been in a free-fall of late, and now appear to have a good shot at undercutting the all-time low established midway through the 2000-2002 bear market.
The recent upside breakout in the U.S. 10-year yield was successful, and it appears interest rates will remain in the new higher range for now. But what are the short-term implications of higher U.S. Treasury rates on asset allocation decisions?
Correlations stabilized during March and remain below the record levels of last fall.
Doug Ramsey examines several once very reliable relationships between stocks, bonds, inflation, and commodities.