The topsy-turvy world of stock and bond yields

The dividend yield of the S&P 500 index is now higher than the yield on the 30-year US Treasury bond. That hasn’t happened since the financial crisis.

Negative bond yields are "scrambling... basic assumptions of financial markets," says John Authers on Bloomberg. The dividend yield of the S&P 500 index is now higher than the yield on the 30-year US Treasury bond. That hasn't happened since the financial crisis. Yet back then the so-called "yield gap" closed because of plunging stock prices. This time the 30-year bond yield that has plunged as debt prices have rocketed.

The yield gap between equities and bonds reversed some time ago in UK markets, and now America has followed the trend, says Jeremy Warner in The Daily Telegraph. Stock investors need less protection against inflation than bond investors because companies can grow profits and dividends, while a bond coupon remains fixed. So the post-war norm has been for equities to yield less than bonds. Some see the latest development as a stockmarket buying opportunity. But if a recession is looming then dividend payouts could be cut.

That should not deter investors from taking a look at the UK market, says Siobhan Riding in the Financial Times. The average UK dividend yield rose to 4.8% in 2018, a 29-year high according to Link Asset Services. Over the next 12 months FTSE 100 companies should yield 4.4%. Even during the 2008-2009 recession, UK dividends only fell by 14% from peak to trough. Thus, even pricing in the risks, the yields on offer look attractive.

Recommended

Stockmarkets shrug off turbulence
Stockmarkets

Stockmarkets shrug off turbulence

Stockmarkets have hit their first bout of turbulence of the year, but most are clinging onto January’s gains.
4 Feb 2021
Bonds
Glossary

Bonds

A bond is a type of IOU issued by a government, local authority or company to raise money.
19 May 2020
The MoneyWeek Podcast: how to not lose money to inflation and financial repression
Investment strategy

The MoneyWeek Podcast: how to not lose money to inflation and financial repression

Merryn talks to Peter Spiller of the Capital Gearing Trust about how he navigated the last extraordinary year; what he's buying now; and how he plans …
16 Apr 2021
UK mid-cap stocks look forward to life after lockdown
UK stockmarkets

UK mid-cap stocks look forward to life after lockdown

The FTSE 250 hit an all-time high at the end of last week, as investors look to a post-lockdown recovery.
16 Apr 2021

Most Popular

The bitcoin bubble will burst: here’s how to play it
Bitcoin

The bitcoin bubble will burst: here’s how to play it

The cryptocurrency’s price has soared far beyond its fundamentals, says Matthew Partridge. Here, he looks at how to short bitcoin.
12 Apr 2021
What does the Coinbase listing mean for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?
Bitcoin

What does the Coinbase listing mean for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?

As the bitcoin price hit new highs, the world's biggest cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase, listed on the stockmarket. John Stepek looks at what that m…
15 Apr 2021
Properties for sale for around £400,000
Houses for sale

Properties for sale for around £400,000

From a converted church in Banffshire with views towards the Cairngorms National Park, to a period property in the Georgian market town of Beverley, e…
2 Apr 2021