Correlation Between Stocks and Currencies

Over the past few years, traders have become accustomed to the idea that the day to day moves in stocks impact currencies. When equities sell off aggressively like they have today, the U.S. dollar usually strengthens across the board as investors pile into the low yielding safe haven currency. When equities stage a strong rally on the other hand, the dollar tends to sell off as safe haven flows ease.

However often times currency traders will forget about this correlation and for good reasons because currency movements can oftentimes decouple from equities. This happened in June when the correlation between the EUR/USD and the S&P 500 fell to 50 percent. In comparison, since the beginning of the year, the correlation between these two instruments has been greater than 80 percent. This meant that 80 percent of the time that stocks rallied, the EUR/USD strengthened as well.

Yet the correlation between equities and currencies has recoupled over the past week with the EUR/USD and the S&P 500 moving in unison 90 percent of the time. Even the correlation between USD/JPY and the S&P 500 has hit 85 percent. This is particularly notable because the correlation between USD/JPY and U.S. equities was 80 percent last year but for this year up until last week, the correlation was negative 6.9 percent. In other words, there was no correlation whatsoever.

With earnings season underway, we expect this renewed correlation to be one of the dominant drives of price action in the currency market so if you aren’t doing so already, make sure to always keep an eye on how U.S equities are trading intraday.

About Kathy Lien 236 Articles

Kathy Lien is an Internationally Published Author and Chief Strategist of DailyFX.com, one of the world’s most popular online websites for currency research. Her trading books include the highly acclaimed, Day Trading the Currency Market: Technical and Fundamental Strategies to Profit form Market Swings (2005, Wiley); High Probability Trading Setups for the Currency Market E-Book (2006, Investopedia); and Millionaire Traders: How Everyday People Are Beating Wall Street at Its Own Game (2007, Wiley). As Chief Currency Strategist at FXCM, Kathy is responsible for providing research and analysis for DailyFX, the research arm of FXCM. She also co-edits the BK Forex Advisor, an Investopedia.com Premium Service with Boris Schlossberg – one of the few investment advisory letters focusing strictly on the 2 Trillion/day FX market.

Kathy is also one of the authors of Investopedia’s Forex Education section and has written for Tradingmarkets.com, the Asia Times Online, Stocks & Commodities Magazine, MarketWatch, ActiveTrader Magazine, Currency Trader, Futures Magazine and SFO. She is frequently quoted by Bloomberg, Reuters, the Wall street Journal, and the International Herald Tribune and has appeared on CNN, CNBC, CBS and Bloomberg Radio. She has also hosted trader chats on EliteTrader, eSignal and FXStreet, sharing her expertise in both technical and fundamental analysis.

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