While the CDC closely monitors the outbreak of the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, many of us are monitoring the stock market and how it will react to this international illness that is growing with each new day.
The fact is: The spread of the coronavirus is spooking investors. The market began to drop late last week. By the time it closed on Tuesday, the Dow Jones industrial average was down more than 1900 points, which is a 6.59 percent drop over two days.
It’s clear that investors were watching as the health scare widened around the world. This drop turns out to be the worst two-day percentage loss in the last two years.
But The Washington Post seems to urge caution when it comes to panic. Reporters talked with epidemiology experts, and they said the most important thing we can do to prepare costs nothing at all: It is simply to remain calm. This goes for your interaction with the market as well.
But as you watch the evening news, you may also be the type of person that watches Wallstreet reacting negatively and suddenly you have Virus Anxiety!
My word to you is to keep your perspective and talk to your advisor. Don’t be quick to change course. But, on the other hand, if you don’t have a financial plan in place, this is a great time to talk with a trusted adviser about your concerns, needs, and future goals.
According the Wealth E&P Magazine, “Traders paid close attention to coronavirus developments and earnings last week, while wondering how the former might eventually impact the latter. Concern over updated infection numbers moderated risk appetite.
“A pair of key stock benchmarks posted similar weekly losses. In New York, the S&P 500 declined 1.25%; the MSCI EAFE index (of developed stock markets away from North America) lost 1.24%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 1.38% for the four-day trading week; the Nasdaq Composite, 1.59%.
“Last month, members of the Federal Open Market Committee felt the near-term outlook for the economy had improved slightly since the last Fed meeting in December. The minutes did note that the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak ‘warranted close watching.’”
Some analysts have taken all of this a step further and wonder, if the coronavirus threat heightens whether the Fed could actually cut short-term interest rates this year. If you remember, the FOMC voted 11-0 in January to leave rates alone.
Timothy Brewer who is a professor of epidemiology and medicine at UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health and David Geffen School of Medicine, says his central piece of advice is not exactly medical.
“Don’t panic,” he says. “There’s no value in panicking or telling people to be afraid. Don’t let fear and emotion drive the response to this virus. That can be extremely difficult because it is new, and we’re still learning about it, but don’t allow fear of what we don’t know about the virus to overwhelm what we do know.”
Brewer suggests that it’s important to remember that “covid-19” is a respiratory disease influenza, and while there’s not a vaccine for it, there are tried-and-true ways to deal with this type of illness.
The truth is as of Tuesday, there were 57 people in the US with the virus, all but 14 of them are evacuees from the Diamond Princess cruise ship. But CDC officials expect this number to increase as the disease spreads around the world. But they also stress that immediate risks remain low.
Still, worried investors dumped stocks again for a fifth day in a row as American officials warned that it was only a matter of time before the coronavirus outbreak spreads to the United States.
So, what did investors do? They moved to the safety of government bonds, pushing their prices up and yields down. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note closed at a record low of 1.335 percent and the 30-year bond also dropped to a record of 1.81 percent — two signals that investors are preparing for growth in the US to slow down.
While the virus is jarring the market, the actual jolt isn’t extreme. The S&P 500 was down about 7.6 percent from a recent record high.
I believe we will see more drops as the market adjusts, the virus spreads, and as health agencies struggle to gain control. All of this has led to a softening of the market with a lower forecast around 5.9% versus the 7.9% we enjoyed at the beginning of the year.
Lastly, don’t forget that this virus is also being driven by social-media and the news media. It fits perfectly into the news cycle, the interconnectedness of global supply chains and a pricey stock market, all of this works to make Wall Street look more vulnerable.
Staying on financial course, taking care of yourself from a wealth-management perspective and a health perspective are winning elements to any shift in the market.
A trusted financial advisor can show you how to create a budget that works and a financial investment plan that will care of you in the years to come. Schedule a free 15-minute consultation with me today and let’s make a plan for you that will work today, tomorrow, and the future.