Does the China COVID recovery point to a V-shaped US recovery?

With the COVID-19 shutdown profoundly impacting the US economy with over 30 million job losses, just one in 10 fund managers expect a V-shaped recovery according to the FT. Is this the right call? Luckily we can look to the Far East as a crystal ball and what we may have in store in the next few months.

China re-opened their economy in mid-February so they are about 3-5 months ahead of the US economy as the US is opening states at differing schedules.

What does it suggest about a V-shaped recovery? Some sectors have rebounded in a strong V, while others have been slow to recover. Let's take a closer look.

Will 50% of restaurants close permanently from the COVID-19 fallout?

While many people are hoping for a V-shape recovery for the economy, restaurateurs aren't so optimistic. It is scary to think about what the restaurant landscape might look like in the fallout of COVID-19 especially for fine dining which simply can't operate at half capacity.

Macau casinos show what to expect from a Las Vegas reopening

Recently, the Las Vegas mayor Carolyn Goodman made waves for pushing for the reopening of Las Vegas. While it may not make sense from a health perspective, their economy relies on tourism, conference and gambling. Even if the governor decides to reopen, it isn't clear how quickly things can return to anything close to normal. Casinos will need to spend more on regular cleanings and gamblers will likely need to wear masks, have their temperatures checked, and sit with social distancing. This doesn't sound like an ideal environment to gamble. Whatever the case, we can look the Far East to the Macau casinos to see how they have done.

How many jobs aren't coming back right away?

In the last three weeks, over 15 million people have filed jobless claims. This is sharpest employment loss in history. The unemployment rate will surpass 15% in short order and could even go to 20%+. Optimists say that when the economy re-starts, jobs will return; however, we are concerned that not all jobs will come back right away and employment will take time to recover.

Don't fight the Fed

There is an investment adage that says, "Don't fight the Fed." Put simply, when the Fed is providing liquidity to the markets, it should be an overall positive for the stock market, and you should be invested. Historically, this meant investors should watch what the Fed is doing in terms of interest rate policy. Today, with the Fed already hacking the rate back to zero, investors have to look at quantitative easing and it is truly epic.

Coronavirus: Helpful Links and Resources

The novel coronavirus information and number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases change daily. Here are helpful links and resources for tracking and keeping up-to-date.

It should also be noted that the New York Times has removed the paywall for all coronavirus articles.

Please mind the (COVID-19) gap

The Senate today agreed to a massive $2 trillion stimulus deal (roughly 10% of GDP) to combat the economic fallout from COVID-19. This is a bigger stimulus deal than the Great Recession. Here are some of the highlights:

What if we are all stuck at home for the next three months?

This week began my family's social distancing, work from home (#WFH), homeschooling experiment. If you're not already doing the same, odds are that you will be soon. Having completed the prerequisite reading (Social Distancing: This is Not a Snow Day,) my wife and I politely turned down invitations for play dates and get-togethers. We remain focused on doing our part toward flattening the curve. This means having three kids (four if you count me) at home with limited contact to the outside world. It's an adjustment for everyone. Whenever the kids start clashing, usually by late afternoon, we take a family walk around the block. On just day five, we find ourselves walking a lot!

Jobless claims just starting to skyrocket

Last week jobless claims rose to 281,000. With the fast moving COVID-19 eviscerating demand, this is just the initial blast off of jobless claims. For those expecting a V-shape bottom, it is just way too early to call. Bill Gates believes the virus shutdown can last 10 weeks. This is going to be incredible strain on businesses.

Fed tries to calm markets but instead triggers panic selling

The Fed Open Market Committee was set to meet this Tuesday and Wednesday and the market was expecting a 100bps rate cut to the emergency zero level. Instead, the Fed shocked the market with a Sunday rate cut of the expected 100bps and surprise announcement of a $700 billion bond buying program, aka Quantitative Easing 4. This certainly feels like a panic move by Chairman Jerome Powell and the Fed. A Sunday afternoon rate cut is unprecedented. The market didn't take it well with US futures opening limit down -5% and then stocks tumbled at the open to trigger a 15 minute pause in selling. What does it all mean for investors?

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