COVID-19 UPDATE: F-CAT plateauing = good. Retail investor grown in 2020, but $1.5T in retail cash still on sidelines.
In the past week, COVID-19 US daily cases surged to record highs and are now averaging about 500,000 per week. Equity markets rallied this week and are near cycle highs of early June (~3,220 on S&P 500). Yet, in early June, daily US cases were about 18,000 per day and today this figure is about to surpass 70,000, or a nearly 4X increase. And this surge has caused states to pause and even rollback easing of the economy. I can think of three reasons equity markets have managed to rise in the face of this:
- Markets are distinguishing between infection rates and "confirmed cases" and the surge reported in the past month is due to better detection (testing). Models such as the IHME show the peak in US infection rates was in Feb/March;
- Markets are focusing on severe outcomes = deaths and hospitalizations, and these have largely diverged from cases;
- Markets are focusing on the rapid progress of vaccines/ cures and believe these surges now do not represent a new baseline;
- Markets saw how NYC/ NY tristate experienced its outbreak and sees the new epicenter, FL, CA, AZ, TX, or F-CAT, following this path.
So in total, I can see 4 reasons for the markets to have taken this absolute explosion in cases "in stride." In fact, Dr. Fauci spoke publicly today and reiterated his belief that the US would develop a commercial vaccine before year-end. This is an utter binary and game-changing development. Many skeptics have said a vaccine is at least 12-18 months away, so something seen in the next 6 months completely changes the roadmaps for 2020 and 2021.
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