Summary List Placement
Contrary to many on Wall Street, JPMorgan strategist Mislav Matejka says that bond yields have scope to move higher — and this won’t necessarily hurt equities.
Some investors are forecasting lower-for-longer interest rates, arguing that with US and German bond yields hovering near multi-month highs, there is not much further they can go.
However, with the economy reopening following vaccine rollouts, there is potential for “overshooting given pent-up demand and continued fiscal support,” said Matejka, JPMorgan’s head of global and European equity strategy, in a note published Monday. He forecasts a 1.45% yield for the US 10-year note by year-end. Last week, the 10-year yield climbed above 1.3% for the first time since February 2020.
A common misconception is that as yields rise, stocks have to fall. But the stock market will tolerate rising rates, Matejka said, adding that since last March’s crash, equities advanced on the days when bond yields were up.
It’s not just evident in the short-term, but also historically, Matejka noted.
Even pre-COVID, equities performed well with the 10-year yield around 2%. Admittedly, company valuation multiples were lower than at present, but JPMorgan argues that the current positive growth and earnings backdrop will support equities.
This relationship between stocks and bonds should stay consistent while the 10-year yield is below 2%, especially considering the expansive central bank bond-buying programs. Therefore, during this growth phase of the economic cycle there is unlikely to be a derating of the equity market, he said.
As earnings are usually positive in the aftermath of an economic downturn, EPS momentum should also remain strong and support equity valuations, the firm added.
Moreover, the gap between equity dividend rates and government bond yields — known as the yield gap — doesn’t look stretched.
“Bond yields would need to move up by 100-200bp in order to erase the equity attractiveness,” Matejka added.
A more important factor for equities is what drives bond yields higher, rather than the levels themselves, Matejka said. Rising bond yields will be supportive of equity valuations so long as rate hikes reflect economic acceleration or optimism. For example, if a sell-off of Treasuries is caused by a so-called ‘taper tantrum’, whereby investors dump bonds on fears that central banks are slowing down purchases, this would be negative for stocks — at least in the short-term.
However, the current rise in yields is positive, JPMorgan noted, reflecting investor optimism for both economic growth and policy as more COVID-19 vaccines get administered.
Financials and other cyclical sectors like autos, industrials and materials will be the key beneficiaries of rising yields, because of their close correlation to bond yields. Whereas, pharma and staples could face a re-rating, the firm said.
These are the 40 stocks that have the most to gain due to their positive correlation to bond yields, according to JPMorgan:
1. BNP Paribas
Ticker: EPA: BNP
Market cap: €60.16 billion
2. Societe Generale
Ticker: EPA: GLE
Market cap: €16.95 billion
3. Credit Agricole
Ticker: EPA: GLE
Market cap: €32.96 billion
Source: …read more
Source:: Business Insider