What a difference a month makes! I think it’s safe to say that the Corona virus, now called COVID-19 is subject to much attention and airtime. Investment markets initially reacted calmly to the potential impact on the Chinese economy and flow-on effects to global trade. Many were assessing and monitoring the situation, but also referencing the previous outbreak of SARS and Avian Bird Flu, which only had a short-lived impact on global GDP. However, the recent spread of the virus with an outbreak of cases across Europe, South Korea, Japan and Iran has increased the risk of COVID-19 developing into a global pandemic, potentially causing material impacts on company profits and economic growth.
Stock markets hate uncertainty and that was probably never more evident than last week when the Australian Stock market tumbled 9.8%, as mass panic rolled through financial markets. Just 11 days ago stocks made fresh all-time highs as many believed the outbreak was contained to China. Locally, the Reserve Bank lowered interest rates by a further 0.25 points today – with the government pressuring the big banks to pass on the full rate cut. Naturally, people with a home loan should expect reprieve, with individuals relying on traditional term deposit interest facing lower returns. With low interest rates, it is expected that property will continue to perform well. Auction clearance rates across the country have been strong, with Sydney and Melbourne enjoying solid capital value growth. Key things for investors to bear in mind are that: corrections are normal, selling shares after a fall locks in a loss, share pullbacks provide opportunities for investors to buy them more cheaply and finally, to avoid getting thrown off a long-term investment strategy - it’s best to turn down the noise during times like this. If you’re relying on traditional interest rates to support your living expenses, please do not hesitate to contact the Synergy team for a discussion on alternative options.