What’s an investor to make of the recent violent upheaval in the stock market? Does the spread of the new coronavirus outside of China signal a pandemic that will spark a global recession?
On February 19, the stock market as measured by the S&P 500® index hit an all-time high of 3386. Yet by month-end, as news about the coronavirus worsened, the index plunged 13%. Along with stock prices, oil, copper and other industrial commodity prices tumbled, while flight-to-safety assets like gold and Treasury bonds rallied. Surely all this must signal major economic troubles ahead.
The purpose of this report is to provide investors a perspective on the investment implications of the global medical crisis caused by the spread of the coronavirus and its associated disease, COVID-19. At this point in time there is much the world’s medical experts still don’t know about COVID-19, so any forecast or recommendation contains a high degree of uncertainty and risk.
In addition, it is difficult to discuss the economic and investment implications of a public health emergency without appearing to be unsympathetic. That is not my intent, as I recognize that the coronavirus will cause immense human suffering around the globe.
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