On August 19, 2019 the US unemployment rate sat near a record low of 3.8%. Almost all industries were full steam ahead with investment. Carnival was building their largest ship to date, new US shale oil wells were coming online all over the country, and even GE looked like they were on the mend with their new CEO. The worst news in corporate America was around Boeing forgetting that they should train pilots when they design a new plane. Our president was in the news for saying things like we were going to buy Greenland but ultimately reassured the markets that recession fears were unfounded. That day the S&P 500 closed at 2847.11
Fast forward 9 months to April 27, 2020. The US unemployment rate is likely already higher than 20% and is in spitting distance of the record 24.9% that was set in 1933 during the great depression. A pandemic ravages our cities and the elderly, a pandemic caused by a germ we know so little about that our president suggested injecting bleach into our veins to treat it. The travel and entertainment industries sit in ruin as nearly all humans stopped traveling or leaving their house. Oil was priced at negative $40 and projections of June delivery have been forecasted as low as negative $100, the entire US oil industry is effectively bankrupt. Our basic food supply chains have been so taxed by the virus that shortages are projected to begin within two weeks. From a business perspective a near worst case scenario has occurred.
In response, bank’s capital requirements have been cut to 0, The Fed has employed all emergency programs used during the great recession at faster speed and greater depth, and congress has passed unprecedented levels of aid. Despite these steps, it doesn’t change the fact that companies will fail, jobs will not return quickly, and we are now in the steepest recession in US history. What little forward looking guidance companies are willing to offer is all negative and even the rosiest analysis indicates negative worldwide GDP growth. Today, April 27, 2020, the S&P 500 hits 2879 or 1% higher than August 2019.
Disclaimer: This information is only for educational purposes. Do not make any investment decisions based on the information in this article. Do you own due diligence.