The attached note takes a look at the worry list for investors, which is currently focused on Corona virus, and how to turn down the noise around investing. The key points are as follows:
- The coronavirus outbreak, while horrible from a human perspective, is just another of a long list of worries for investors.
- Our natural inclination to zoom in on negative news combined with a massive ramp up in the availability of information is arguably making us worse investors: more fearful, more jittery, more short-term.
- Five ways to help manage the noise and turn down the worry list are: put the latest worry in context; recognise that shares return more than cash in the long-term because they can lose money in the short-term; find a process to help filter noise; make a conscious effort not to check your investments so much; look for opportunities that investor worries throw up.
2020 has seen a very noisy start to the year with one major event with significant human and investment market implications after another. For Australia it started with an intensification of the bushfires but moved on to a significant ramping up of US/Iran tensions where, according to President Trump, war came “closer than you thought” and now the coronavirus outbreak is creating fears of a global pandemic and a big hit to global economic activity. These are scary in terms of their human consequences, but also in terms of the potential economic fallout and what it means for investors. The coronavirus outbreak in particular continues to pose significant uncertainty around the short-term economic outlook. In terms of the key things to watch there is some good news with signs of a reported slowing in new cases in China and still limited transmission outside China (which has 99% of cases).
Source: PRC National Health Commission, Bloomberg, AMP Capital
And the mortality rate at just over 2% remains lower than with SARS. Against this there remains much debate about the true number of cases, it’s common in outbreaks to see periods of stabilisation only to be followed by a spike in cases and the disruption to economic activity in China and from global travel bans remain significant all of which makes it easy to imagine the worst in terms of economic consequences. Each week China remains say 2/3rds shut it knocks 1.3% off its GDP or 0.25% directly off global GDP.