With the coronavirus spreading panic and a market selloff over the last week, some are wondering how we should position our portfolios in light of a potential epidemic. As is usual under such circumstances, I prefer to take an historical perspective. Though history doesn't repeat itself, it certainly does rhyme and may give us a sound guide of how to proceed going forward. As such, I've attached a chart below which illustrates how the market has responded during the onset of other infectious diseases including SARS, Ebola and Avian Flu among others. Though such epidemics may certainly have an impact on the broader economy and market over the short term, you'll notice that over longer periods of time, the stock market has been "immune" to broader damaging effects.
Though I thought long and hard during many periods of my life about a calling to the priesthood, I would never feel comfortable building my business by using religion as a marketing plan. For one, I understand that I am an imperfect man incapable of living up to perfect ideals. I wouldn't want my clients and friends to entrust their assets to our firm with an expectation that I will not make mistakes in my life and potentially become disillusioned by my missteps. Secondly, I don't know if God wants us to be financially successful or not. The ideals I've studied for endeavoring to live a noble life have little connection with monetary things and many, like St. Francis and Mother Teresa, have lived with little worldly possessions while leaving a remarkable legacy. Faith, hope and charity require a belief in the Divine while the cardinal virtues of prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice may be well exemplified by non-believers alike.
Volatility has been on the rise in financial markets this year, and December seems to be unfolding as potentially the worst month of 2018 for stock market volatility. What’s unusual this year is that just about all asset classes are down at this point, which is a reversal of what we experienced last year in terms of both volatility and the return on our investments. In light of recent market trends, I answer some of the questions clients may be considering about the markets.