Today all but promises to be a volatile day in the markets as investors focus on actions both by the Fed and Congress with regard to support of the economy … for there seems to be growing attraction to the thought of … and I hate to quote a Presidential tweet … “we cannot let the cure be worse than the problem.”
What does this mean exactly?
Some feel we should remain in place for an extended period of time and accept that this would shut down a great deal of commerce. Others … facing ramifications of projected unemployment of as much as 30% and a quarterly GDP forecasted by Goldman Sachs to be cut by as much as 24% … feel it best to yank off the band-aid … go back to work (for those at perceived lower risk) and accept that we will lose some of our elderly and infirmed.
There is no right answer, and either choice holds devastating consequences. So we pray for thoughtful leadership amid the hope of a (miraculous) medical breakthrough as we continue to fight this war from which no combatant will feel victorious.
Am I concerned? Of course I am. Very concerned. But a few days ago I had the good fortune of being on the phone with Sean Swarner, as a friend of mine is putting together a podcast with him.
Why am I mentioning this? Because I was an emotional wreck over the weekend focusing on bad things that might occur. It seems my own mind had become my own worst enemy.
Sean is touted as one of the eight most influential speakers in the world … because of his background. Cancer-struck … and at the age of 13, he was given 3 months to live. Obviously, he survived but tragedy struck again when he turned 16 and … following an unrelated cancer diagnosis … was given 2 weeks. He survived that also … but was put into a medically-induced coma for a year. He said he then decided that “I didn’t want to focus on not living … I wanted to focus on living.”
Sean went on to climb the “7-Summits” including Mt. Everest. He has skied in both the North and South Poles. And he finished the Hawaiian World Champion Ironman Competition (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, 26.2 mile marathon … all in one event).
Oh … and by the way … he only has one working lung.
What Sean mentioned in the now-being-created podcast was a message about fear (and he never once mentioned the corona virus). He mentioned that everyone has fear and while we cannot control the danger what we can control is our own reaction to it. He’s absolutely right.
I think many are starting to decide that what we have to do is be careful … take good care of ourselves and others … and not let fear paralyze us, as it can end up making the situation much worse than it is.
I think I recognized my own overreaction when it came to … yes … toilet paper. Heck, I even reviewed the last link below which is a calculator to tell you how long your toilet paper will last.
Before the event, I would spin rolls as if I was playing Wheel of Fortune.
I found myself starting to handle the sheets as if I was opening a safe.
Fear paralyzes. But only if we let it.
I am somewhat relieved with that thought that it might soon be time to, once again, spin away.
Have a good day,
Joseph G. Witthohn, CFA
Emerald Asset Management PA, LLC
610 Freedom Business Center Drive
King of Prussia, PA 19406
Direct: (610) 285-9905
cell: (856) 625-7915
… as of 11:28 AM today …
Quick Look at the News
One of the victims of the coronavirus has been the economy ... but the medical staff at the Fed are on the case ... and supplying medicine to stabilize the patient (MarketWatch)https://www.marketwatch.com/story/fed-saying-aggressive-action-is-needed-starts-unlimited-qe-2020-03-23
We can all do our parts by not panicking ... and, yes, those comments to "flatten the curve" are made with good reason. We can do it ... here's how (CNET)https://www.cnet.com/how-to/10-practical-ways-to-help-avoid-coronavirus-when-you-leave-the-house/
... although there is a school of through that claims we might be in this for a very long time, it doesn't mean barricading ourselves. Escape cabin fever ... be safe ... but go outside (Newsweek)https://www.newsweek.com/coronavirus-could-continue-9-months-avoid-cabin-fever-new-york-governor-andrew-cuomo-says-1493640
One of the people who seems to have correctly predicted the avenue the disease has taken feels things will improve ... even with the rough week ahead (TechTimes)https://www.techtimes.com/articles/248250/20200323/nobel-laureate-correctly-predicts-coronavirus-slowdown-in-china-foresees-similar-outcomes-around-the-world.htm
... especially as patients who are sick ... improve ... and people understand that testing positive, for most, will result in a recoverable illness. Seeing this on the news will help (CNN)https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/23/entertainment/tom-hank-rita-wilson-coronavirus-feeling-better-trnd/index.html
Years from now we may look back on the hording of toilet paper with humor ... but it is not funny for those who do run out. There is even a calculator to let you know your limits (MercuryNews)https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/03/22/coronavirus-this-online-toilet-paper-calculator-will-tell-you-just-how-long-your-supply-will-last/