Some investors have asked if stocks make sense in a world where short-term US Treasuries are yielding north of 5.5%.1 These investors can take solace in the historical evidence, which suggests that interest rates have not been meaningful predictors of stock returns. In years with above-median interest rates since 1955, during which the average three-month Treasury yield was 6.7%, US stocks returned an average of 12.1%. This is slightly higher than the average return in below-median interest rate years (11.6%), although the averages are statistically indistinguishable from each other.2
Plotting annual US stock returns vs. Treasury yields further emphasizes the lack of a meaningful relation between the two. The level of interest rates is of little help in predicting stock returns. This is perhaps unsurprising when you consider interest rates are one of many factors reflected in discount rates for future cash flows.
Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Actual results will vary.
In USD. US stocks represented by the Fama/French Total US Market Research Index, obtained from the data library of Ken French. Treasury yields obtained from FactSet. The Fama/French index represents academic concepts that may be used in portfolio construction and is not available for direct investment or for use as a benchmark. Index returns are not representative of actual portfolios and do not reflect costs and fees associated with an actual investment. See “Index Description” for descriptions of the Fama/French index data. The information in this material is intended for the recipient’s background information and use only. It is provided in good faith and without any warranty or representation as to accuracy or completeness. Information and opinions presented in this material have been obtained or derived from sources believed by Dimensional to be reliable, and Dimensional has reasonable grounds to believe that all factual information herein is true as at the date of this material. It does not constitute investment advice, a recommendation, or an offer of any services or products for sale and is not intended to provide a sufficient basis on which to make an investment decision. Before acting on any information in this document, you should consider whether it is appropriate for your particular circumstances and, if appropriate, seek professional advice. It is the responsibility of any persons wishing to make a purchase to inform themselves of and observe all applicable laws and regulations. Unauthorized reproduction or transmission of this material is strictly prohibited. Dimensional accepts no responsibility for loss arising from the use of the information contained herein. This material is not directed at any person in any jurisdiction where the availability of this material is prohibited or would subject Dimensional or its products or services to any registration, licensing, or other such legal requirements within the jurisdiction. “Dimensional” refers to the Dimensional separate but affiliated entities generally, rather than to one particular entity. These entities are Dimensional Fund Advisors LP, Dimensional Fund Advisors Ltd., Dimensional Ireland Limited, DFA Australia Limited, Dimensional Fund Advisors Canada ULC, Dimensional Fund Advisors Pte. Ltd., Dimensional Japan Ltd., and Dimensional Hong Kong Limited. Dimensional Hong Kong Limited is licensed by the Securities and Futures Commission to conduct Type 1 (dealing in securities) regulated activities only and does not provide asset management services.