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While global equity markets have rallied back this week, it is premature to think we are in the beginning stages of a new bull market. The same problems continue to plague us.

Below is a chart showing percentage price changes for the SPDR Barclays High Yield Bond (JNK) - Get SPDR Bloomberg High Yield Bond ETF Report and the United States Oil (USO) - Get United States Oil Fund LP Report , exchange-traded funds that track junk bonds and crude oil, respectively. 

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Lower energy prices have negatively affected both sovereign producers and private-sector companies. Economic growth in developing countries has experienced a noticeable slowdown in recent months as the price of oil collapses further. Falling oil prices have affected high-yield debt, which many oil producers stocked up on during boom times. The chart above shows that both high-yielding debt and oil prices remain in a strong downtrend, with little sign of reversal.

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The next chart of interest is of the CurrencyShares® Japanese Yen ETF (FXY) - Get Invesco Currencyshares Japanese Yen Trust Report and Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US ETF (VEU) - Get Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US Index Fund Report . Global equity markets have sold off by nearly 24% since the middle of 2014, and market volatility has increased. Meanwhile, the yen has begun to strengthen. The move in the yen is significant as the Bank of Japan cut its key lending rate into negative territory at its latest meeting. With the yen still rising amid negative interest rates, it is a testament to the elevated caution among global investors.

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While the U.S. stock markets has failed to decline into official bear market territory, it seems as if investors should start preparing for a scenario in which it does break down. Although most media pundits are permanent bulls, it is a fact that markets go through cycles. The disastrous effects of worldwide monetary stimulus, which propped up asset prices but failed to lead to a tangible economic recovery, seems to finally be unraveling, with inflated commodity prices unable to boost emerging-market growth. The markets will decline in 2016, and investors must prepare accordingly.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the securities mentioned.