The current bear market in US stocks is more unusual than the past ones. The market's dynamic with bonds is being changed by aggressive interest rate hikes.
According to Brown, bonds are becoming an increasingly attractive alternative to stocks. Bonds have become less attractive as an alternative in the past.
The Federal Reserve is trying to cool rampant inflation with a string of big interest rate hikes.
Since the peak of the market, rates have doubled, making it more difficult to make the case for equities.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note has doubled over the course of 2022, close to its highest in a decade, while the S&P 500 index has fallen, putting it in range of the technical definition of a bear market.
A bear market is a period of falling stock prices that lasts for a long time.
Concerns about the US economy tumbling into a recession have caused investor confidence to fall, only to be alleviated recently by Fed Chair Powell who said an economic downturn is not intended.
As economic uncertainty tends to attract risk-averse investors, the 10-year US Treasury note's yield would usually fall. The price of bonds and the yield move in opposite directions.
As inflation erodes the purchasing power of fixed-income returns, bonds have suffered along with stocks. This has made bonds look more attractive for yield hungry investors.
The yield on the S&P 500 is a little over half the yield on the 10-year US Treasury at the moment.
There is a difference between previous bear markets and this one. In 2000, after the dotcom bubble burst, the Fed cut interest rates, but not this time.
Brown said that when central banks cut interest rates, it makes company financing cheaper, it makes stocks with better dividends look more attractive, and it makes bonds more expensive.
Increasing investor appetite for fixed income is a result of rising yields on US Treasuries.
"Bonds are becoming a better alternative to stocks than they've been for a long time in comparison to other bear markets where bond yields have actually come down throughout the course of a bear market."
The 10-year Treasury's yield is close to its widest in a decade while the S&P 500's yield is close to its lowest.
In previous bear markets, bond yields were getting less and less attractive, but now they are looking more attractive. In 2000 and 2007, rates were higher than they are now, but they came down not to go up.
Brown said that investors are cautious about the outlook of the US economy and that's bad news for the stock market.
She said there was a need for investors to get less risk-averse in order to see the market turn around.