Monday, February 20, 2017

Negative real yields = Equity sell signal?

An reader asked me my opinion about this tweet by Nautilus Research. According to this study, equities have performed poorly once the inflation-adjusted 10-year Treasury yield turns negative. With real yields barely positive today, Nautilus went on to ask rhetorically if the Fed is behind the inflation fighting curve.

Since the publication of that study, The January YoY CPI came in at 2.5%, which was surprisingly high. The higher than expected inflation rate pushed the 10-year real yield into negative territory. So is this a sell signal for equities?

Well, it depends. The interpretation of investment models often depends a great deal on their inputs. In this case, the questions is how does we adjust for inflation? Do we use the headline Consumer Price Index (CPI), core CPI, which is CPI excluding volatile food and energy prices, or some other measure?

As I go on to show, how we adjust for inflation dramatically alters the investment conclusion for a variety of asset classes, like equities, gold, and the USD.

As is the case in the application any quantitative model, the devil is in the details.

The full post can be found at our new site here.

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