After weeks of headlines about the coronavirus outbreak, markets have been caught in a volatile pattern of surges and retreats. Here’s what you should know:
Disease outbreaks are hard to predict and come with a great deal of uncertainty that can make investors nervous—particularly after a period of record market gains.
As the epidemic spreads beyond China, investors worry that it could cause serious disruptions to trade and the interconnected global economy.
It’s hard to say. Though the human cost of an outbreak like Coronavirus is tragic, it’s unclear how widespread the economic fallout will actually be. We can’t predict what markets will do, but this isn’t the first time we’ve grappled with market reactions to an epidemic.
Here are some examples from previous outbreaks:
Though the past can’t predict the future, we can see that historically, markets reacted to epidemics with panic selling, but recovered after the initial outbreak.
However, epidemics don’t happen in isolation; the underlying economic and market fundamentals will influence how investors react long-term.
Whether the cause is an epidemic, geopolitical crisis, natural disaster, or financial issue, markets often react negatively to bad news and then recover.
Sometimes, the push-and-pull can go on for weeks and months, which can be stressful, even when it’s a normal part of the market cycle.
The best thing you can do is stick to your strategies and avoid emotional decision-making. Why?
Because emotional reactions don’t lead to smart investing decisions. The biggest mistake investors can make right now is to overreact instead of sticking to their strategies.
S&P 500 performance during outbreak: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/24/avoid-this-investing-mistake-as-coronavirus-fears-grip-the-markets.html
S&P 500 performance six months after outbreak: Yahoo Finance. 6-month performance between open of first trading day of the month after end of outbreak to adjusted close of final trading day of the sixth month.
SARS: April 1, 2003 – Sept 30, 2003
MERS: Dec 3, 2012 – May 31, 2013
Ebola: March 3, 2014 – Aug 29, 2014
Zika: March 1, 2016 – Aug 31, 2016
Risk Disclosure: Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values. Past performance does not guarantee future results.
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