Market Update – 22 Sep 2020

So it would have been my Dad’s birthday today, it always makes me sentimental as he is sorely missed.  He was a plain speaker and a practical man and I have found myself thinking of late what he would have made of the current pandemic.

One thing I’m sure of is that he would have had a number of projects on the go to keep busy and he would certainly have had something to say about the guidelines,  in particular about those who weren’t following them!

I’m working on a project myself at the moment as I restore an old singer sewing machine, it’s over 100 years old and has been in the family since new so it’s not a project I’m taking lightly.

The mechanics are all working now, it’s the woodwork in need of TLC so I’m sanding and restoring the surround so that it can take pride of place in the guest room.   It’s a work in progress and all things come to those who wait at least that’s my message to Carol.

In doing the restoration I’m following the advice Dad used to give me which was take your time and think about what you’re doing.  I admit he did occasionally (regularly!) tell me just to move over and leave it to him but he always let me take the credit.

It seems that our politicians will, later today, be telling us all to move over and leave it to them with additional instructions on COVID 19 expected as the alarming rise in cases continues.

It’s this rise, and the market reaction, that has caused me to issue my update early today.

The news on additional lockdown measures was met with groans and a high degree of negativity in the FTSE100 yesterday even though it wasn’t unexpected.  But the facts are the FTSE 100 marked its worst day in more than three months as HSBC and Standard Chartered slid on reports the banks were among those that moved allegedly illicit funds, while travel stocks plummeted on fears of more coronavirus-related lockdowns. Companies exposed to any new COVID 19 restrictions will invariably be hit hardest and it will no doubt be a difficult few weeks/months ahead.

Perspective is important however, the FTSE is still up over 6 months, and still down over 12 months (as it was before yesterday) but even these periods are short to measure.

Overnight in the US Stocks fell sharply as fears about the worsening coronavirus as well as uncertainty on further fiscal stimulus rattled traders. The Dow Jones dropped 3.1% its worst day since June 11, when it plunged more than 6%.

The general view is that it’s a health-care issue and we still really haven’t made any progress,” said Brad Kinkelaar, global portfolio manager at Barrow Hanley. “We still don’t have a vaccine; obviously, there’s still no cure and we’re still figuring out how to deal with the crisis. So it’s not surprising we’ve gone from a market that was essentially pricing in a resumption of normal activity, within a reasonable time frame, to one pricing in the notion that we haven’t figured this out yet.

Technology shares — which have led the broader market off its coronavirus lows and into record territory, have been hit hard so far in September and have struggled once again. Facebook and Amazon each dropped more than 1%. Alphabet slid 1.6%.

Meanwhile, tensions between the U.S. and China keep escalating. China’s Ministry of Commerce released long awaited provisions on its so called ‘unreliable entity list’ a day after the U.S. announced a ban on WeChat and TikTok.

Another busy day in the market and increasing volatility but we are in it for the long term and as with the volatility we saw at the start of the pandemic it will pass and the message today is the same, stay the course.

Happy Birthday Dad.