Close this search box.

Table of Contents

Negative Correlation


Negative correlation is a statistical relationship between two variables in which one variable tends to increase as the other decreases, and vice versa. In finance, it is often used to describe the opposing movement of asset prices or returns. A strong negative correlation between two assets implies that they tend to move in opposite directions, providing diversification benefits when included in a portfolio.


The phonetic transcription of “Negative Correlation” is: /nɛɡətɪv kɔːrɪˈleɪʃən/.

Key Takeaways

  1. Negative Correlation indicates an inverse relationship between two variables, which means that as one variable increases, the other variable decreases, and vice versa.
  2. Examples of scenarios with negative correlation include the relationship between an increase in exercise and a decrease in weight, or the relationship between smoking and lung capacity.
  3. A negative correlation coefficient (r) indicates that two variables have a linear relationship, but the coefficient value can vary between -1 and 0. A value of -1 indicates a perfect negative correlation, while a value of 0 indicates no correlation.


Negative correlation is an essential concept in business and finance as it helps investors and analysts understand the relationship between two variables or financial assets, like stocks or bonds, that move in opposite directions. When one variable increases, the other variable decreases, and vice versa. This inverse relationship is imperative in building diversified portfolios, managing risks, and balancing the overall performance of investments. Investors seek assets with negative correlation to hedge against market loss, minimize portfolio volatility and ensure stable returns. Additionally, understanding negative correlation enables businesses to make informed decisions in areas like financial management, market strategies, and resource allocation, thus promoting stability and growth in uncertain economic environments.


Negative correlation serves as a valuable tool in finance and business when assessing the relationship between two variables or assets. Its purpose is to indicate how the performance or value of one variable tends to change in relation to another. In cases where a negative correlation exists, as one variable increases, the other variable typically decreases — and vice versa. This relationship plays a vital role in risk management and portfolio diversification, as it enables investors and analysts to understand and take advantage of the inverse price movements of assets. By investing in assets that exhibit negative correlation, one can mitigate the impact of market fluctuations, as the losses suffered from one asset can be potentially offset by the gains from another. Within the context of finance and business, negative correlation finds its utility in various scenarios, such as investment strategies, hedging, and predicting market dynamics. A classic example can be found in portfolio management, where investors combine various assets in order to optimize their returns while minimizing risk. Combining negatively correlated investments, such as stocks and bonds, ensures that a portfolio remains well-balanced in times of market volatility. This practice not only mitigates risks but also helps businesses and investors make informed decisions on resource allocation and capital investments. As a result, understanding and leveraging the concept of negative correlation becomes crucial in achieving stable and consistent financial growth.


1. Stocks and Bonds: Generally, stocks and bonds have a negative correlation, meaning that when the stock market performs well, bond prices go down, and vice versa. This is primarily due to investors shifting money between the two asset classes based on their risk appetite and market conditions. When investors are confident about the market and economy, they tend to invest more in stocks, increasing their prices, while selling bonds and causing their prices to decrease. In uncertain times, investors may seek relative safety in bonds, leading to higher demand for bonds and lower demand for stocks. 2. Gold Prices and the U.S. Dollar: The price of gold and the value of the U.S. dollar often exhibit a negative correlation. As the value of the dollar increases, gold prices tend to decrease as gold becomes more expensive in other currencies, reducing its demand. Conversely, when the dollar weakens, gold becomes relatively cheaper for international buyers, increasing demand and driving up its price. Additionally, investors often turn to gold as a safe haven when the dollar and economy face uncertainty, which leads to further negative correlation between the two. 3. Oil Prices and Airline Stocks: A negative correlation can be observed between oil prices and airline stocks, as the airline industry’s primary cost is fuel, which is directly affected by oil prices. When oil prices increase, the operational costs for airlines rise, which can lead to lower profitability and negatively impact the value of their stocks. On the other hand, when oil prices decline, airlines can benefit from reduced operational costs, potentially improving their profitability and boosting their share prices.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Negative Correlation?
Negative correlation, in finance and investment, refers to the relationship between two variables (ex. stock prices, asset returns) where they generally move in opposite directions. In other words, when one variable increases, the other variable tends to decrease, and vice versa.
How is correlation measured?
Correlation is typically measured using the correlation coefficient, which ranges from -1 to +1. A negative correlation coefficient (between -1 and 0) indicates a negative correlation, with -1 representing a perfect negative correlation.
Can you give an example of two assets with a negative correlation?
Yes, a common example is the relationship between stocks and bonds. Often, when stock prices go up, bond prices go down, and vice versa, as investors shift their capital between the two asset classes seeking better returns.
Why is negative correlation important in portfolio management?
Negative correlation is important because it helps investors create diversified portfolios by including assets that are negatively correlated. This strategy reduces the overall risk since the assets tend to offset each other’s fluctuations, and it allows for potentially more stable returns.
What is the difference between negative correlation and positive correlation?
Negative correlation means that two variables move in opposite directions, whereas positive correlation means that two variables move in the same direction. A positive correlation coefficient (between 0 and +1) indicates a positive correlation, with +1 representing a perfect positive correlation.
Can negative correlation change over time?
Yes, correlations between assets can change over time due to various factors such as market conditions, economic trends, and changes in the assets themselves. It is essential to regularly monitor and assess the correlations in your investment assets to maintain a well-diversified portfolio.

Related Finance Terms

  • Inverse Relationship
  • Opposite Directional Movement
  • Contrarian Investment Strategy
  • Risk Diversification
  • Correlation Coefficient

Sources for More Information

About Our Editorial Process

At Due, we are dedicated to providing simple money and retirement advice that can make a big impact in your life. Our team closely follows market shifts and deeply understands how to build REAL wealth. All of our articles undergo thorough editing and review by financial experts, ensuring you get reliable and credible money advice.

We partner with leading publications, such as Nasdaq, The Globe and Mail, Entrepreneur, and more, to provide insights on retirement, current markets, and more.

We also host a financial glossary of over 7000 money/investing terms to help you learn more about how to take control of your finances.

View our editorial process

About Our Journalists

Our journalists are not just trusted, certified financial advisers. They are experienced and leading influencers in the financial realm, trusted by millions to provide advice about money. We handpick the best of the best, so you get advice from real experts. Our goal is to educate and inform, NOT to be a ‘stock-picker’ or ‘market-caller.’ 

Why listen to what we have to say?

While Due does not know how to predict the market in the short-term, our team of experts DOES know how you can make smart financial decisions to plan for retirement in the long-term.

View our expert review board

About Due

Due makes it easier to retire on your terms. We give you a realistic view on exactly where you’re at financially so when you retire you know how much money you’ll get each month. Get started today.

Due Fact-Checking Standards and Processes

To ensure we’re putting out the highest content standards, we sought out the help of certified financial experts and accredited individuals to verify our advice. We also rely on them for the most up to date information and data to make sure our in-depth research has the facts right, for today… Not yesterday. Our financial expert review board allows our readers to not only trust the information they are reading but to act on it as well. Most of our authors are CFP (Certified Financial Planners) or CRPC (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor) certified and all have college degrees. Learn more about annuities, retirement advice and take the correct steps towards financial freedom and knowing exactly where you stand today. Learn everything about our top-notch financial expert reviews below… Learn More