After yesterday’s cataclysmic fall, the markets recovered today, after volatile trading lead it in both directions
Boy, it’s nice to have Monday behind us. As classic rock bands called it “Blue Monday”, or “Monday Morning”, or even “Manic Monday”, it appeared to be more of an “It’s the End of the World As We Know It” kinda day. In a startling example of what a combination of bad news and uncertainty can do to the markets, the Dow fell a couple of points shy of 3,000 points representing the largest point drop in history. That put the Dow down 31.7% while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are now lower by more than 29% from their all-time highs, which they reached just last month.
After yesterday’s cataclysmic fall, the markets recovered Tuesday, after volatile trading lead it in both directions. Ultimately, the Dow closed up a bit over 1,000 points, or 5.2%, the S&P 500 rose 143.06 points, or 6%, the Nasdaq gained 430.19, or 6.23%, and the Russell 2000 gained 69.27 points, or 6.68%.
Uncertainty is the markets’ biggest fear and boy do we have lots of it. We’ve got no sports, professional or amateur. There’s no school, no concerts, no Broadway, no restaurants, no bars, no meetings with people in groups over 10, or 50 — depending on the mood of our fearless leader at the moment. Most store shelves have been ransacked, as it appears near impossible to find certain staples on most supermarket, specialty food and general stores’ shelves. We’ve been told not only to not congregate, but to stay in our houses, preferably 24 hours a day. And all these things are certain. So, what’s not certain?
What’s not certain is how long these curbs will stay in place. They could last two more weeks, of course - but then again, they could last two, or three, or four more months! The markets are taking notice that without spending, our economy appears quite fragile. In fact, it could be said that our economy is built on the willingness of the consumer to spend, and without that ability, we will lead the markets and the economy lower for the foreseeable future.
Don’t in any way be deluded into thinking that we’ve reached the bottom here. This pandemic should last a while, and so should the volatility and uncertainty in the market.