Investor Lessons from the Summer of ’69

According to BlackRock Inc. strategists, similarities between the late sixties and today are raising concerns regarding the implications of rising inflation expectations and bond yields, says a recent Bloomberg article.

“The late sixties was when late-cycle fiscal stimulus contributed to runaway inflation, leading the Federal Reserve to aggressively raise interest rates, which was followed by an inverted yield curve and a recession,” the strategists argue, which led to a drop in both stocks and bonds. According to the firm’s analysis, since the Great Depression there have been only three years where U.S. stocks and 10-year Treasuries both saw negative total returns:

According to BlackRock’s chief fixed-income strategist Jeffrey Rosenberg, a number of parallels exist between the late sixties and today, including low unemployment and fiscal stimulus. “A Fed shift from an inflation-creating mode to an inflation-fighting mode helped contribute to a downturn in both markets,” he wrote in a recent note. Although the firm sees no imminent red flags pointing to recession, the article says, it argues, “history shows that how a cycle ends is important to investors in determining their exposure to various asset classes, and the firm has an overall preference for stocks over bonds.” The latter, says BlackRock, offer “cushion against growth risks but not inflation risks.”