What Is a Negative Correlation?

Written by True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

Reviewed by Subject Matter Experts

Updated on March 29, 2023

Negative Correlation Definition

A negative correlation is a relationship between any two variables in which one increases while another decreases. For example, albeit a very simplified one, a negative correlation exists between hot coffee and warmer weather.

Negative Correlation Explained

The degree to which two variables are negatively correlated with one another is called a correlation coefficient (denoted by r), and its measurement ranges from -0.1 and -1.

If a relationship were to have a correlation coefficient score of -1, then the two variables would have a perfect negative relationship. While a score -0.1 would indicate a weak negative relationship between variables.

By squaring a relationship's R-value, referred to as R-squared, an analyst can then determine the degree to which the variance of the two variables is related to one another.

Expressed in percent, if a R-value was equal to -.6, then the value's R-squared would equal 36%. Meaning that the variance in one variable could be explained by the second variable 36% of the time.

Profiting From Negative Correlations

In finance, negative correlations come in handy when attempting to diversify a portfolio.

By putting money into investments that tend to perform oppositely under the same economic conditions, stocks and bonds for example, an investor can remain profitable under a variety of conditions.

Negative Correlation FAQs

About the Author

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), author of The Handy Financial Ratios Guide, a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website, view his author profile on Amazon, or check out his speaker profile on the CFA Institute website.

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