With July 4th having just passed I thought it would be inspiring to talk about inspiration. The United States is unique because it is a nation founded on inspired ideals versus population characteristics and geography. These ideals are centered around life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as well as the notion that all men are created equal.
I can’t say I’m surprised that states that had itchy trigger fingers to reopen (e.g. Texas, Arizona, Florida) are seeing a surge in new COVID-19 cases and a higher positivity rate among those tested. The following graph from the Wall Street Journal shows how the number of new cases is hitting a new peak after having come down.
As states start to open up, economic activity will undoubtedly increase. The S&P 500 is up approximately 26% from its March 23rd low, perhaps suggesting the worst is behind us for now. Of course, the question on everyone’s mind is whether there will be a second wave as more people congregate at work,
Yet again we have witnessed something unprecedented. As the following two charts show, we have never had negative oil prices until last week. Oil has never been cheaper on an inflation-adjusted basis than it is today.
I’m not one to typically advocate following the herd but in the case of the coronavirus, I am having a hard time seeing an end game that doesn’t have herd immunity as the ultimate goal. And this could take a long time and lead to a lengthier economic contraction (to put it mildly) and even more massive federal intervention through government spending and Federal Reserve support of financial markets.
With over $6 trillion in global stock market losses in one week, it’s clear that investors have woken up to the real risk that the coronavirus is not contained, somewhat akin to the subprime crisis that Ben Bernanke famously said was and led to massive financial losses around the world.
I’m admittedly obsessed by pandemics. I’ve been listening to the course on the Black Death via the Great Courses, I was in China at the tail end of SARS in 2003 and was intensely focused on what life was like during that time there, and of course,
CWS has a sister company that focuses on corporate housing. They provide temporary housing for business people, interns, long-term, special projects for companies, etc. I am one of the advisory board members and it’s been such a treat to see how the company has grown and prospered over its 25 years in business.
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