Markets dropped sharply Monday in the worst single-day drop of the COVID-19 outbreak as investors calibrated their outlooks to severe changes that are underway in how Americans live, work and spend.
We called up Barry Ritholtz, chairman and chief investment officer of Ritholtz Wealth Management, to help us put it in perspective.
To avoid turning into a “stock market zombie,” Ritholtz said to remember that ups and downs — even really big ups and downs — are the nature of the beast.
“We don’t get 10% swings up and down on a daily basis, but these happen on a regular basis. I think the biggest mistake people make is calling these things hundred-year floods, because we get them every 10 years or so,” Ritholtz said in an interview with Marketplace’s David Brancaccio.
Ritholtz cautioned against letting recent volatility scare you away from your long-term investment goals — something easier said than done.
“People are herd animals,” he said. “We’re primates that evolved in groups. That’s why it’s so difficult to be a contrarian: because every instinct you have wants to do what the crowd is doing. And historically that has not been the way you make money in the stock market.”
Click the audio player above to hear the interview.
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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