Just before the COVID-19 pandemic struck the S&P 500, Nasdaq, and Dow, Ray Dalio was recklessly dismissive of cash positions, stating "cash is trash." Even Goldman Sachs proclaimed that the economy was recession-proof via "Great Moderation," characterized by low volatility, sustainable growth, and muted inflation. Not only were these assessments incorrect but they were ill-advised in what was an already frothy market with stretched valuations. I'm sure Ray Dalio quickly realized that his "cash is trash" mentality, and public statements were imprudent. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a truly back swan event that no one saw coming. This health crisis has crushed stocks and decimated entire industries such as airlines, casinos, travel, leisure, and retail with others in the crosshairs.
The S&P 500, Nasdaq, and Dow Jones have shed approximately a third of their market capitalization, with the sell-offs coming in at 33%, 29%, and 36%, respectively, through March 20, 2020. Some individual stocks have lost over 70% of their market capitalization. Other stocks have been hit due to the market-wide meltdown, and many opportunities have been presented as a result.
Investors have been presented with a unique opportunity to start buying stocks and take long positions in high-quality companies. Throughout this market sell-off, I have begun to take long positions in individual stocks, particularly in the technology sector and broad market ETFs that mirror the S&P 500, Nasdaq, and Dow Jones. It's important to put this black swan into perspective and see through this on a long term basis while viewing this as an opportunity that only comes along in decades.
Most Extreme and Rare Sell-Off Ever
The abrupt and drastic economic shutdown and velocity of the U.S. market's ~30% drop within a month bring parallels to the 1930s. This sell-off has been extreme and rare in its breadth, nearly evaporating entire market capitalizations of specific companies. The pace at which stocks have dropped from their peak just last month from all-time highs is the fastest in history. The major averages just posted their worst week since the financial crisis (Figures 1 and 2). The Dow is tracking for its worst month since 1931, the S&P since 1940. As of March 20, the S&P 500, Nasdaq and Dow Jones have sold off 33%, 29%, and 36%, respectively. Continue reading "Seeing Beyond The Black Swan Event"