There is no reliable benchmark for assessing performance of different markets (stocks, bonds, precious metals, commodities, etc.) since central banks have flooded financial markets with more than $8 trillion in freshly printed currency since the start of 2020. The chart below from Ed Yardeni shows total assets of the five major central banks (Fed, ECB, BOC, BOE and BOJ) expanded to $27.9T at the end of November 2020, from below $20T at the start of the year.
With no convenient benchmark, the best way to measure performance is using relative strength between two prices/indices.
Measured in Gold (rather than Dollars) the S&P 500 iShares ETF (IVV) has underperformed since mid-2019. Respect of the red descending trendline would confirm further weakness ahead (or outperformance for Gold).
But if we take a broad basket of commodities, stocks are still outperforming. Reversal of the current up-trend would signal that he global economy is recovering, with rising demand for commodities as manufacturing output increases. Breach of the latest, sharply rising trendline would warn of a correction to the long-term rising trendline and, most likely, even further.
There are pockets of rising prices in commodities but the broader indices remain weak.
Copper shows signs of a recovery. Breakout above -0.5 would signal outperformance relative to Gold.
Brent crude shows a similar rally. Breakout above the declining red trendline would suggest outperformance ahead.
But the broad basket of commodities measured by the DJ-UBS Commodity Index is still in a down-trend.
Silver broke out of its downward trend channel relative to Gold. Completion of the recent pullback (at zero) confirms the breakout and signals future outperformance.
Comparing major stock indices, the S&P 500 has outperformed the DJ Stoxx Euro 600 since 2010. Lately the up-trend has accelerated and breach of the latest rising trendline would warn of reversion to at least the long-term trendline. More likely even further.
The S&P 500 shows a similar accelerating up-trend relative to the ASX 200. Breach of the latest trendline would similarly signal reversion to the LT trendline and most likely further.
Reversion is already under way with India’s Nifty 50 (NSX), now outperforming the S&P 500.
S&P 500 performance relative to the Shanghai Composite plateaued at around +0.4. Breakout would signal further gains but respect of resistance is as likely.
Looking within the Russell 1000 large caps index, Growth stocks (IWF) have clearly outperformed Value (IWD) since 2006. Breach of the latest, incredibly steep trendline, however, warns of reversion to the mean. We are likely to see Value outperform Growth in 2021.
The S&P 500 has made strong gains against Treasury bonds since March (iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF [TLT]) but is expected to run into resistance between 1.3 and 1.4. Rising inflation fears, however, may lower bond prices, spurring further outperformance by stocks.
The US Dollar is weakening against a basket of major currencies. Euro breakout above resistance at $1.25 would signal a long-term up-trend.
China’s Yuan has already broken resistance at 14.6 US cents, signaling a long-term up-trend.
India’s Rupee remains sluggish.
But the Australian Dollar is surging. The recent correction that respected support at 70 US cents suggests an advance to at least 80 cents.
Gold, surprisingly, retraced over the last few months despite the weakening US Dollar. But respect of support at $1800/ounce would signal another primary advance.
Silver is expected to outperform Gold.
Gold is expected to outperform stocks.
Value stocks are expected to outperform Growth.
India’s Nifty 50 is expected to outperform other major indices. This is likely to be followed by the Stoxx Euro 600 and ASX 200 but only if they break their latest, sharply rising trendlines. That leaves the S&P 500 and Shanghai Composite filling the minor placings.
Copper and Crude show signs of a recovery but the broad basket of currencies is expected to underperform stocks and precious metals.
The Greenback is expected to weaken against most major currencies, while rising inflation is likely to leave bond investors holding the wooden spoon.