Interest rate sensitivity is back in town haunting technology stocks
Head of Equity Strategy
Summary: Interest rate sensitivity came back roaring yesterday pushing down all of our growth baskets. Yesterday's move shows the potential for a correction in US technology stocks should the US 10-year yield continue to rapidly advance towards the highs from March. We also show how the Nasdaq 100 and STOXX 600 move in opposite direction during large up or down days in the US 10-year yield.
Growth baskets look awfully vulnerable
Yesterday’s move in the US 10-year yield of 8 basis points made it the 10th biggest move higher in US yields this year. Back in March when technology stocks were under pressure we wrote a lot about interest rate sensitivity in growth stocks as their present value are derived from expected cash flows further into the future than the typical MSCI World company. If interest rates rise faster than future growth expectations then the net effect is negative on the present value and more so for growth stocks as they have a higher duration.
We saw downside beta (higher sensitivity) in all of our growth equity baskets with the gaming basket down 2.3% and the worst performers being the E-commerce and Crypto & Blockchain baskets down 4.2% and 5.1% respectively. This tells you a lot about the sensitivity and given the drawdown in technology stocks back in March, we could easily experience a 15-20% drawdown in technology stocks. The local highs from March in the US 10-year yield is the key level to watch for a breakout and a new trading environment. With all the options activity in Tesla dwarfing the combined options activity in FTSE 100 constituents, we believe Tesla will be at the center of the next risk-off move in technology.
Nasdaq 100 vs STOXX 600 are yin and yang of interest rates
We have previously tried to calculate the interest rate sensitivity, but this time we are pursuing a different approach. We look at the past 231 trading days this year and group the 1-day difference in the US 10-year yield into deciles. In order to measure interest rate sensitivity we calculate daily excess log returns for Nasdaq 100, S&P 500 and STOXX 600 against the MSCI World Index and compute their average daily excess return for each decile.
As the barplot shows, there is significant negative excess return in Nasdaq 100 in the 1st decile (the 10% days with the highest positive difference in US 10-year yield) and significant positive excess return in STOXX 600. This makes perfect sense because Nasdaq 100 is high duration growth stocks and STOXX 600 has a clear value tilt towards financials, energy and mining which exhibit much lower duration. The pattern is completely reversed in the 10th decline (days with large negative difference in US 10-year yield). The other eight deciles do not show the same clear spread between Nasdaq 100 and STOXX 600. In other words, if interest rates suddenly move aggressively higher then growth portfolio will take a serious hit and hence why we recommend investors to improve the balance between growth and value stocks, or said differently reduce the equity duration.