News is coming fast and furious these days—so much so, it’s difficult to remember the morning news in the evening (much less what happened yesterday or last week). Day-to-day planning has taken priority over long-term financial planning, and it’s getting easier to lose sight of the forest through the trees.
Lost among the shocking headlines we saw last quarter was the passing of country music legend Kenny Rogers. For those of a younger generation, he wasn’t just the man who made “a pretty strong bird” on a legendary Seinfeld episode. I remember my grandparents listening to his albums on the record player when I was little. One of my friends owned this thing, which played The Gambler, and was used any time someone at our weekly poker game was taking too long to make a decision (I may need one of these for my office).
With the caveat that our background is in investments, not epidemiology, we wanted to share a little historical perspective on prior market reactions to pandemics as well as provide some perspective on what is happening currently.
The markets remain volatile—slightly up one day, down the next, rinse, wash repeat—and frankly, we expect this to continue until news surrounding the Coronavirus stabilizes. There are many predictions and opinions about when that could happen, but we are not virologists or pandemic experts. We do believe with more testing will come more cases which means to us, any true normalcy in the markets and life, is probably at least a few weeks away.
The markets have recently reminded all that volatility is always right around the corner. Volatility, sudden corrections, uncertainty—all part of the price we pay to participate.
Context, however, is what’s missing from most things today. We are so fixated on right now—we forget where we were, and lose sight of where we want to go.
Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the stock market. We need look no further than the “Fear and Greed Index” to see how quickly things change.
Narratives are powerful. Since the days of our earliest ancestors, storytelling has been a consistent means of communicating these narratives, be they uplifting or apocalyptic. In the age of cinema, narratives of the apocalyptic kind have become popular, and one of the staples for Hollywood has been to play out a scenario of a modern-day plague: Outbreak, Contagion, Seven Monkeys, etc.