Recent market volatility is more than just COVID-19
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Some investors will tell you a storm was brewing before the coronavirus roiled the markets.
The trade war made them anxious. Many believe stocks have been overvalued. And, it’s an election year, with giant economic issues at play.
Late last year, the Boston Consulting Group surveyed analysts and asset managers. Many worried the bull market was running out of steam. And now, the COVID-19 disease caused by coronavirus.
“Uncertainty is something that makes investors sit more on the edge than they otherwise would,” said Hady Farag, a partner and associate director at BCG. “So their finger is just a little bit closer to the sell button.”
The S&P 500 hit a record high nearly two weeks ago, but what goes up usually comes down.
The coronavirus has brought things down fast.
“I can promise you that nobody expected anything like this,” Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics said. “It’s happened in the space of a few days. So it has now become really very alarming.”
But while COVID-19 is hitting the markets hard, it’s not the only thing going on.
COVID-19 Economy FAQs
What’s the outlook for vaccine supply?
Chief executives of America’s COVID-19 vaccine makers promised in congressional testimony to deliver the doses promised to the U.S. government by summer. The projections of confidence come after months of supply chain challenges and companies falling short of year-end projections for 2020. What changed? In part, drugmakers that normally compete are now actually helping one another. This has helped solve several supply chain issues, but not all of them.
How has the pandemic changed scientific research?
Over the past year, while some scientists turned their attention to COVID-19 and creating vaccines to fight it, most others had to pause their research — and re-imagine how to do it. Social distancing, limited lab capacity — “It’s less fun, I have to say. Like, for me the big part of the science is discussing the science with other people, getting excited about projects,” said Isabella Rauch, an immunologist at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. Funding is also a big question for many.
What happened to all of the hazard pay essential workers were getting at the beginning of the pandemic?
Almost a year ago, when the pandemic began, essential workers were hailed as heroes. Back then, many companies gave hazard pay, an extra $2 or so per hour, for coming in to work. That quietly went away for most of them last summer. Without federal action, it’s mostly been up to local governments to create programs and mandates. They’ve helped compensate front-line workers, but they haven’t been perfect. “The solutions are small. They’re piecemeal,” said Molly Kinder at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “You’re seeing these innovative pop-ups because we have failed overall to do something systematically.”
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