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Brian Chappatta

Stocks Are Cheap If Fed Controls the Yield Curve

The bond market helps put the relentless equities rally into some tangible context.

It’s all about the Fed.

It’s all about the Fed.

Photographer: Ron Antonelli/Bloomberg

Stock market cheerleaders are finally putting the never-ending rally in share prices into terms that bond investors can understand.

More and more, investors and analysts are justifying the records in the S&P 500 Index and the technology-focused Nasdaq 100 in the context of interest rates, which is ordinarily the domain of bond traders. Strategists at Bank of America Corp. attributed about 16% of the outperformance in technology stocks in recent years to falling bond yields; that’s a record high and more than twice the level observed before the 2008 financial crisis. The earnings yields on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100, which measure profit relative to share price, might be at the lowest levels since the early 2000s, but they’re still 296 basis points and 184 basis points more than the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield, respectively.