Just because the World Health Organization (WHO) officially named the novel coronavirus “COVID-19” doesn’t mean it’s not going to be referred to as the “Wuhan Virus,” the “Chinese Coronavirus,” or other names that stamp the origin of the virus into the public lexicon.
One reason for what some observers see as politically incorrect name-calling is, in fact, pure politics.
The President of the United States, some members of his Administration, and other politicians are stamping “Made in China” all over the virus because identifying China as the virus’s place of origin stigmatizes China geopolitically, with the intention of undermining China’s increasing global influence.
Another reason the world’s going to be hearing more about the Wuhan or Chinese Virus is lawsuits are being filed blaming China for accidental or deliberate gross economic destruction.
A $20 trillion class-action lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas alleges the COVID-19 virus is a biological weapon designed by China. And, by releasing it, China violated U.S. law, international laws, treaties, and norms and caused massive economic damage to U.S. individuals and businesses.
These are trying times. The coronavirus, COVID-19, has proven to be, and will likely continue to be, a threat not only to U.S. and global markets, but to humanity in general.
And because money shouldn’t be something you need to worry about during trying times, the Money Morning team has been busy building a brand-new feature for you, free of charge: Markets Live with Money Morning.
Every day the markets are open, four of our experts at Money Morning, Shah included, will come to you live with commentary on the global financial news you can’t hear elsewhere – along with stock picks, market analysis tools, recommendations, and live Q&A sessions.
He’ll be on every day at 3:45 p.m. ET. You can follow along and we’ll listen to the closing bell together, debrief on what happened during the day, and take a glance into what we’re likely to see tomorrow.
Last week, the Securities and Exchange Committee (SEC) announced an order providing “public companies a 45-day extension to file certain disclosure reports that would otherwise have been due between March 1 and July 1, 2020.”
To be clear, that means earnings reports covering the first quarter, which ends today, may not have to be filed on time, and material impacts of the coronavirus hitting companies throughout the second quarter, which ends June 30, 2020, don’t have to be disclosed in a timely fashion.
Given COVID-19’s impact on company workers, including executives, managers and accountants, in-house and external auditors, granting an extension on filing certain disclosure reports looks considerate, but in reality, it’s a recipe for disaster.
Today’s rally might be hopeful, but Shah isn’t quite buying it. That’s why he decided to jump on a video call to address some of the biggest questions riddling headlines today: which stocks to sell, how to evaluate a “value” stock (with two he’s looking at himself), when the market could rebound, and which questions you need to ask your financial advisor right now.
Anyone who doesn’t believe “demand destruction,” resulting from the impact of the novel coronavirus across U.S. and world economies, isn’t going to result in a global recession, just doesn’t know the facts.
By way of just one example, China, the first country hit and hit hard by COVID-19, which originated in Wuhan, Hubei province, announced its February manufacturing PMI (purchasing managers index) dropped to 35.7 from January’s 50 level.
50 is the index’s dividing line, above which implies expansion and below 50 spells contraction.
That drop is both a record drop in a month and a record low for China.
Worse, China’s non-manufacturing PMI (think services) fell from 54.1 in January to 28.9 in February.
At the height of the 2008-09 financial crisis, China’s manufacturing PMI only fell to 38.7. Its non-manufacturing PMI never even broke 50.
With 11 million people locked down in Wuhan and at least 46 million people across China quarantined, of course demand declined, so did production.
If you think the Fed’s going to fire hundreds of billions or trillions of dollars of “stimulus” rounds at the coronavirus crisis and pierce the virus’s grip on mankind, on the market, and on the economy, you’re wrong.
This is an existential threat to humans, markets, and economies, which the Fed’s ammo can’t kill, but sure can make it worse.
“It’s all good until it isn’t” is one of my favorite sayings, which happens to be exactly what happened with the bull market’s last run-up to all-time highs on February 12, 2020.
The hot-mess rally, after news about the spread of novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China, knocked global and U.S. markets down from mid-January, looked good. It looked like virus fears were overblown when China said the rate of infection was slowing. Stocks got right back on the bull and rode it.
The coronavirus is spreading globally, infecting and killing thousands of humans and decimating financial markets. This column documents the current state of the virus and financial markets to-date, and projects future impacts of the virus on mankind, global economies, and markets.
What Is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses get their generic name from the corona or crown-like shape the viruses exhibit.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause illness in people, and others, such as canine and feline coronaviruses, only infect animals. Rarely, animal coronaviruses emerge to infect people and can spread between people.”
Zoonotic coronaviruses, as transmuting viruses are known, include Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, SARS (or SARS-CoV), which scientists believe originated in bats and was transmitted to civet cats, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, MERS (or MERS-CoV), scientists believe originated in camels.
The “novel coronavirus” (novel means new, as in not previously identified), or 2019-nCoV, (CoV is the CDC’s notation for coronavirus), or COVID-19 (where CO stands for corona, VI for virus, D for disease, and 19 for the year the virus was identified), the World Health Organization’s (WHO) official name for the novel coronavirus, is thought to have originated and transmuted as a zoonotic coronavirus from a live animal market in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.
However, the exact origin of COVID-19 remains unknown.