2014 was the best of times and the worst of times in financial markets. Stocks rallied, of course, while bond yields and commodity prices plunged. In 2014, the S&P 500 gained 13% while the yield on 10-year Treasuries dropped from 3.03% to 2.17%, and the price of oil collapsed by 50%.
And the all-important U.S. dollar rallied as other major currencies such as the euro and the yen plunged. Investors looking for a consistent message from markets had to look elsewhere.
In January 2015, a similar theme spooled out in a completely different way...
The S&P 500 lost 3% - its worst performance in a year - while Treasuries had their best month in five years, as interest rates plunged to record lows around the world. In fact, yields on government bonds in many places are negative, a profoundly unhealthy phenomenon.
Crude oil dropped for the 7th month in a row, something it did during the 2008/9 financial crisis, even after a manic rally on Friday, January 30. The U.S. dollar continued to rally for the 7th month in a row and had its best month since May 2012.