Research firms are all publishing reports attempting to forecast the negative effects of a growing epidemic, but the wide range of estimates suggests that everybody – including experts in the field - are just guessing.
For investors, the best advice I’ve seen comes from the Irrelevant Investor and Humble Dollar sites.
“For the 18th time since the stock market bottomed in 2009, the S&P 500 is more than 5 per cent off its high… Every time we experience one of these pullbacks, things get noisy on social media, in the news papers, on TV, blogs, radio, everywhere. Why does this always happen, who cares about a 5 per cent pullback? … The more you risk, the more you make, and the more you make, the more you have to be willing to lose. There is an amount of pain that you must be willing to bear per unit of risk… If you are feeling extremely nervous after the last two days, you’re probably taking too much risk. If you weren’t feeling anything, you can probably afford to take more of it.”
“Trust me: No matter how much you fret over [coronavirus] issues, you will not come up with answers that will help you make more sensible investment decisions. So what should you do? … First, if history teaches us anything, it’s that great investment gains go to those who are diversified, optimistic and patient… the only folks who should feel any pressure to sell are those who have money in the stock market that they’ll need to spend in the next five years."
Periods of extreme market volatility are a severe test of investors’ emotional equilibrium and the potential for emotional mistakes climbs significantly. Many times, the best thing to do is nothing, as hard as that may be.
-- Scott Barlow, Globe and Mail market strategist
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Stocks to ponder
Genworth MI Canada The mortgage insurer is on a mission to distribute cash to shareholders through big special dividends. There’s a lot more cash coming, but is that a sufficient reason to buy the stock? David Berman takes a closer look.
Orvana Minerals The question is constantly raised to The Contra Guys: “Buy, hold or sell.” While the answer is usually reasonably clear, in this situation, it is far less so. Benj Gallander and Ben Stadelmann explain.
Virus fears? Sell-off has more to do with high valuations, overdue market correction
Investors should be worried about the economic impact of the coronavirus. But they should be equally concerned about the psychological impact of the outbreak. For at least some people, the virus appears to be crystallizing a wider set of anxieties around stock prices. If you are convinced the market is due for a correction because of excessively high valuations, or think the global economy rests on an artificially engineered low interest rate bubble, the outbreak offers a ready-made focus for your anxieties. The danger is that these fears will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Ian McGugan explains
Consider this alternative if you’re entranced by market-linked GICs
No matter how diligently we point out the shortcomings of market-linked GICs, we get questions like this one: “What are your thoughts on market-based GIC’s offered by Canadian banks? With markets at all-time highs, the security of my principal is enticing. I know I give up some potential upside but the protection of capital and very modest return seems like a good idea for someone thinking about retirement.” Rob Carrick provides his thoughts (and the big banks may very well not like them).
Feeling brave? These stocks could be big bargains after the coronavirus-driven selloff
Brave investors should cast a close eye on some of the stocks now being pounded by wave after wave of virus-driven selling. The share prices of airlines, holiday cruise operators, luxury goods retailers and miners have suffered stinging losses in recent weeks. Nervous investors have dumped these sectors with a vengeance as concern grows over the uncertain effects of the coronavirus on the global economy. The dash for safety is understandable. At these levels, though, several of today’s most disliked companies could be major bargains if the virus is contained over the next month or so, and the global economy suffers only a weak quarter or two. Ian McGugan outlines some of the potential bargains.
Coronavirus epidemic threatens profit rebound in North American markets
The spreading coronavirus epidemic is threatening to stifle a rebound in North American earnings that markets are counting on. Ian Shufelt reports.
Coronavirus shows the problem with Trump’s stock market boasting
There’s a reason most presidents are cautious when talking about the stock market. President Donald Trump is learning it the hard way this week. He is, in effect, experiencing the downside of having spent the past three years personalizing much of what happens in the markets and the economy, saying that the soaring stock values under his watch are a reflection of his special ability, and a central part of his case for reelection in November. Neil Irwin of The New York Times explains.
Others (for subscribers)
March 2 is the deadline to contribute to RRSPs for the 2019 tax year. Here is our Globe package on retirement saving and investing: RRSPs, TFSAs, CPP, other pensions and more.
Number Cruncher: A closer look at seven beaten-down tech stocks
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What’s up in the days ahead
What are Canadian fund managers thinking - and buying and selling - amid this week’s market turmoil? Brenda Bouw has surveyed a good handful of them for answers.
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Compiled by Globe Investor Staff.