Global Matters Weekly – 16 March 2020

The Bear Necessities
by Robert White, CFA

“There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen”. After the longest bull market on record finally came to an end last week, Lenin’s famous quote concisely sums up the current mood among investors. The S&P 500 officially moved into bear market territory on Thursday after it breached the 20% level in a record 16 sessions of trading. Such price action reflects the tragic reality that the coronavirus has now caused the death of thousands globally, and the focus quite rightly is on limiting its human cost. Amidst the barrage of negative news, it is important for long term investors to act rationally and take account of the situation as it develops.

Market Snapshot

  • The rapid spread of COVID-19 caused significant portions of Europe to lockdown
  • Global markets declined 12.4% over the past week
  • Brent crude fell 25.2% ending the week at $33.9 a barrel
  • Gold fell 8.6% ending the week at $1529.8 an ounce