Thanks John, I'd like to stay optimistic but this time I think you're wrong. This market will stay at the bottom for longer than any of us can imagine. Sure we'll have a few small bounces along the way, but I believe we're going to be in for more of an L-Shaped recovery this time around. We can no longer compare historical market disruptions to that of todays calamity. Our whole monetary system is very different now. Countries can no longer be propped up with worthless amounts of cash. Printing more, issuing more and borrowing more only has a limited effect. Maybe going back to the gold standard is the answer? I certainly hope our banks don't remain strong. I don't want to see a run of people making bank withdrawals, it'll be like the toilet paper saga. Hopefully Moelis can weather the storm.
"This time is different" ... not. It's not about being optimistic or pessimistic, but as John said you still cannot beat staying invested in the long term. Unless someone had a magic crystal ball and sold everything in the second week of February, we can assume most investors (including myself) sold part of their portfolio with losses to protect capital. The question is, what are you going to do with this cash? Keeping on the sidelines until when? How sure can you be that you can invest at the bottom? You can I suppose buy investment grade bonds, gold or term deposits but the return is a joke and it's not getting any better.
Great article. Interesting and informative. I liked the quotes you peppered the article with. One point. You state: "It’s unfortunate no-one alive today is old enough to remember the impact on society during that period, however interestingly, the situation closely mirrors today’s pandemic ......." Several people in the world are still alive and were born before 1918. To name just three: Kane Tanaka (January 2, 1903) is 117, Lucile Randon (February 11, 1904) is 116 and Jeanne Bot (January 14, 1905) is 115 years. These three people have had their ages verfied and there are many others who are slightly younger. They were all alive when the Spanish flu appeared. Would be great to hear what they have to say about it.
Hardly anybody flew on planes in 1918. Travelling to Australia was very difficult back then. Even in the 1950s, my father spent 8 weeks on a boat to get here. This virus is spreading much more viciously than pandemics of the distant past due to the ease of international travel. The effects could therefore be very much worse as it's harder for countries to hide.
Great to see a Morgan Housel quote. One of the most informative writers out there.