Yields on 10-year Treasury bonds have still not breached the 3.00% level that many believe will stick the proverbial “fork” in the secular bond bull market that began in 1981. That could well in happen in the next few weeks, but we believe it’s important to step away from the daily fray and reflect upon the damage that’s already been done.
Last week we overlooked a key milestone among the daily parade of new stock market highs: The Stock/Bond Total Return Ratio finally exceeded its cyclical high from the summer of 2007. Since July 13, 2007, the S&P 500 has generated a cumulative total return of +73.5%, just ahead of the U.S. 10-Year Treasury Bond total return of +70.0%. These work out to annualized returns of around 6.0%.
With the quantitative horsepower now available at the fingertips of even the most technophobic portfolio manager, there’s little tolerance for any model that finds itself out of sync. But “broken” models (and especially value-based ones) have an eerie way of reasserting their relevance just after they’ve been finally tossed to the trash heap.
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?
Whether it’s the start of a new bond bear market or not, there’s no need to rush... and why shorting bonds may not be the best idea, even during a bond bear market.
Stock/bond Risk-reward relationship beginning to return to normal. Back in Q1 2009, performance differential between S&P 500 and 10 year T-bonds was at generational lows. In prior periods of bond superiority, stocks ultimately came soaring back. Expect to see stocks do much better over next 5 years.