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COVID-19

Investors seek safe havens as markets, bond yields fall

Nancy Marshall-Genzer Mar 4, 2020
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With yields this low, you’d think investors would be running away from bonds. But not everyone is. Spencer Platt/Getty Images
COVID-19

Investors seek safe havens as markets, bond yields fall

Nancy Marshall-Genzer Mar 4, 2020
With yields this low, you’d think investors would be running away from bonds. But not everyone is. Spencer Platt/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Stocks plunged again Tuesday, even after the Federal Reserve unexpectedly cut interest rates. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury bond dipped below 1% Tuesday for the first time.

Yield is the return on your investment when you buy a bond. With yields this low, you’d think investors would be running away from bonds. But not everyone is. Steven Goldberg, a partner at Tweddell Goldberg Wealth Management, said that with all the uncertainty over how COVID-19 will affect the global economy, he’s playing it safe and sticking with bonds.

“So you’re not making up even for inflation over time, but at the same time you’re not losing anything,” Goldberg said.

Goldberg also likes real estate stocks — investments in commercial real estate like warehouses and apartment buildings. Christine Benz, director of personal finance at Morningstar, said some homeowners looking for a safe investment are paying down their mortgages.

“You are getting a guaranteed return on your investment, similar to what you would have on a cash investment, but it’s at a higher rate than you would earn on your cash,” Benz said.

Other investors are turning to gold. As stocks fell Tuesday, the price of gold rose.

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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