Wiethe: Inter-Asset Correlations Can Be Telling

Your Real Vision Daily Briefing for July 24, 2020

Senior editor Ash Bennington is joined by editor Max Wiethe to reflect on a week of divergent price action.

  • Inter-asset correlations and how they change could be telling for the future.
  • The loss of enhanced unemployment insurance, the deceleration of the jobs recovery, and legislative stasis will likely spell trouble for the U.S. economy.
  • Investors can be fickle about the effect of the news cycle on markets; framework and time horizon are more important.

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This was a week of divergent price action and extreme rallies in precious metals, and the changes we’re seeing in inter-asset correlation could signal what’s in store for the future, Real Vision’s Max Wiethe said during today’s Daily Briefing.

Wiethe is looking at the relationship between the S&P, precious metals, and the dollar and said the massive run ups in both silver and gold are where the action is.

Looking at gold and equities: at the start of the selloff, gold was part of it. But now gold had a great week when markets had choppiness. That’s a change Wiethe thinks is notable. Similarly, silver was correlated with emerging market equities but is now beginning to diverge. When a correlation that has been happening breaks down, that is what he pays attention to, he said.

As for the S&P in relation to the dollar, Wiethe said that a few months ago on a week like this you’d expect to see the dollar spiking, but the dollar has been sliding instead – and that may be telling for where we are headed in the future.

If the U.S. economic recovery is indeed stalling, he thinks the slowdown makes a lot of sense. When we go down as low as we did as fast as we did, there has to be some kind of bounce. We saw that, but we’re not back to normal yet, which is why Wiethe thinks the prospect of a V-shaped recovery was always an unrealistic idea.

And there may be more trouble for the U.S. economy ahead, as tens of millions of people are about to lose extra their enhanced unemployment insurance, we’re seeing a deceleration of the jobs recovery, and we’re in a period of legislative stasis.

“We all knew the fiscal cliff was happening,” Wiethe said. “If [the $600 enhanced benefit] goes away, that will work its way into economic data and prices eventually.”

Wiethe also discussed the importance of positioning based on time horizon, general framework, and trends and less on the news cycle. He said that a lot of the events that effect markets don’t match the time horizon that people are assigning to them.

Right now, there’s a disconnect between what’s happening in the headlines and what’s happening in markets, but Wiethe said he thinks we’ll get answers in the coming weeks if we see a bid back up on the market.

“These coming weeks will be big for us with the CARES act rolling off and seeing whether we can catch a bid on this market,” he said. “It’s wait-and-see for the next two weeks, but I think we’ll get a lot of good info from the price action.”