October is a typically volatile month for markets, and this year has been no exception. The main North American stock indexes were down for the month across the board. So were crude oil and gold. We heard media talking heads bringing out all the old saws about how markets “hate uncertainty,” or “it’s the U.S. election,” or “it’s Covid-19.” And while it’s true some or all of these things may have contributed to stock market volatility, no single item could be said to predominate. And then on the first trading day of November, a strange thing happened. READ MORE
The fall season of volatility is here again. This year, however, stock markets may be susceptible to even more gyrations than usual, given the vagaries of the Covid-19 pandemic and its effect on economic growth, the U.S. presidential election cycle, and the massive injections of monetary and fiscal stimulus to help keep economies afloat. Most recently, we saw stock markets sell off on Oct. 2 on the news that U.S. President Donald Trump had tested positive for Covid-19 and had been admitted to hospital for treatment. But any sustained correlation between market activity and the political cycle is tenuous at best, and is typically very short-lived. So it proved to be, as markets rebounded sharply on the following Monday.
Gold has in recent weeks become more interesting to investors. After a lengthy period during which an ounce of gold traded around US$1,500 per ounce, it notched up slightly after the March stock market meltdown, to around US$1,700. Since the beginning of June, though, it has been climbing steadily, edging toward a historic high of US$2,000 per ounce in the final days of July.
The March market meltdown, bond market gyrations, repricing of assets, and the flight to safety over the past couple of months has thrown many portfolios into disarray, particularly those of the do-it-yourself variety. The turmoil is likely to be reflected in increased values for fixed-income and cash holdings in your portfolio. Likewise, your equity values will have declined significantly.
Why the urgent need for “safety” can lead investors astray
These days, we’re reading a lot about the “flight to safety” in markets and investments. It’s understandable, of course, as the COVID-19 virus pandemic spreads fear and panic through global financial markets as a nasty side effect. But is that flight to safety the right thing to do right now?
Robyn Thompson is featured in CTV’s “Your Morning” with Anne-Marie Mediwake, discussing how to handle your investments and personal finances in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic scare.
With stock markets now into bear market territory, a global recession looming, and mob-mentality behavior prevailing in both supermarkets and stock markets, Robyn has some timely advice for investors on how to stay calm, weather the market turmoil, and even profit from new opportunities.
Stock market rout not the time for wholesale portfolio changes
The rapid spread of the Covid-19 virus (also known as the coronavirus), has hit global markets hard over the past few weeks as investors worry about the impact of the spreading contagion on global trade and corporate earnings. Stock market indexes have plunged well into correction territory (down more than 10% from recent highs), crude oil has dropped to levels last seen in 2017, global growth appears to be slowing, and with a possible recession looming, central banks are cutting interest rate cuts.
You may as well face facts: You can’t “save” a million dollars. A recent survey of the market showed that the highest rate paid in a standard, plain-vanilla deposit savings account (the kind that most banks and large financial institutions offer as a place to put your cash) was around 2.8%, while the lowest was, believe it or not, one tenth of 1%. Believe me, with this kind of return, you will not be able to “save” a million dollars. But another fact is that you can still retire rich, possibly with much more than a million dollars in your nest egg, once you unshackle yourself from the savings account trap. Here’s how.
Novices especially prone to classic investment pitfalls
Markets go through periods of volatility, and we are in one such period now. Market sentiment has been decidedly sour for the past few weeks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average recently sank into correction territory. And crude oil prices have slumped, hitting the energy sector hard. Economic growth in China is coming in slower than expected rattling exporters and commodity producers. So what’s an investor to do? Do you sell your stocks, get out of the market, and put your money under a mattress? But that would be precisely the wrong thing to do. Investors can go a long way to calming down if they simply avoid these four classic investment mistakes.