AQR co-founder Cliff Asness recently shared data that finds the correlation between value stock returns and interest rates over the last 4 decades is a slight 0.03, reports an article in Institutional Investor. That finding shows there’s almost no correlation between the two variables, and could indicate that value stocks can give investors more than just a safe haven from interest rate increases.
Investors usually favor value over growth during periods of inflation; with growth equities’ reliance on long-term gains, they weaken more than value stocks under the impact of rising interest rates. When the Fed signaled they would start raising rates, there’s been much heated discourse over what effect that would have on value strategies, the article contends. AQR’s research indicates that while value stocks might not save a portfolio from inflation, it could still be more than “just an interest-rate bet.”
Asness believes that investors are often too optimistic about growth stocks, which could lead to value factor returns being more affected by interest-rate increases in the short-term. And when they analyzed regression data for the past decade, AQR found that even if the 10-year yield fell, it would have to drop more than 250 basis points in order to garner negative returns from value stocks. In addition, Asness believes the slightly negative relationship between value stock returns and bond prices is a permanent fixture rather than a glitch. “Having a high expected return and being negatively correlated to [the] main part of a traditional portfolio is actually a good thing,” he was quoted as saying.