D-PIMS Weekly Market Update - Week of 13th to 19th April 2020
Today’s Monday Update:
Over the last week, once again Coronavirus developments dominated the headlines, although Brexit did put in a rare appearance!:
• Ten U.S. governors on the east and west coasts banded together on Monday in two regional pacts to coordinate gradual economic re-openings as the coronavirus crisis finally appeared to be ebbing. This came as President Donald Trump declared any decision on restarting the U.S. economy was up to him.
France’s lockdown which started 17th March, was due to end Tuesday, but the French President, Emmanuelle Macron extended their lockdown to at least 11th May.
• Tuesday saw India extend it’s nationwide lockdown for its 1.3 billion people until May 3rd, with its prime minister warning of economic sacrifices to save lives, as the number of coronavirus cases crossed 10,000.
• First Minister Arlene Foster said on Wednesday that Northern Ireland will keep coronavirus restrictions in place for another three weeks, keeping in line with similar measures in neighbouring Ireland, due to run until May 5th.
• On Wednesday, Brexit made a re-emergence when a joint statement said Britain and the European Union had agreed dates for 3 week-long negotiating rounds to reach a post-Brexit deal on their future relationship, also confirming a high-level review of progress in June.
The negotiations would take place by videoconference in the weeks beginning April 20th, May 11th and June 1st, the statement said.
• Thursday saw the UK announce that lockdown measures will remain in place for at least another 3 weeks. The statement confirmed that the UK’s coronavirus outbreak is starting to peak, but it is too early to lift the lockdown because the virus would “run rampant” if the government eased social distancing measures at this time, Health Minister Matt Hancock said.
On the same day a 106-year-old great-grandmother, thought to be the oldest patient in Britain to beat the coronavirus, was discharged from hospital to applause from nurses and health workers.
• Friday – New York and six other North Eastern states extended coronavirus stay-at-home orders to May 15th, as President Donald Trump issued new federal guidelines for a cautious reopening of the economy, in keeping with advice from leading public health authorities. The president, who had pressed to restart idled businesses as early as May 1st and had declared “total” authority to do so, settled instead for a phased-in, science-based strategy, heeding warnings from infectious-disease experts that easing social distancing too soon would invite disaster.
The guidelines Trump unveiled at the White House, call for a three-phase process of restarting US economic activity, but only after states record a 14-day “downward trajectory” in their coronavirus cases after each phase. In the first phase, public venues such as restaurants and movie theatres could operate again with strict social distancing. During phase two, non-essential travel can resume, schools can reopen, and sporting arenas can operate under “moderate” physical distancing. During phase three, visits to nursing homes and unrestricted staffing at businesses can resume.
Investors were buoyed by a report from healthcare publication Stat News, claiming a clinical trial of remdesivir, a treatment developed by Gilead Sciences, was showing rapid recoveries in fever and respiratory symptoms from Covid-19 patients.
Also on Friday, the establishment of a Vaccine Task Force was announced by the UK Government and a team of scientists from Oxford University said a million doses of their experimental COVID-19 vaccine (called “ChAdOx1 nCoV-19”) are already being manufactured and will be available by September, even before trials prove whether the shot is effective. They hope to confirm the viability of the drug from the human trials, by the time the vaccine is ready to distribute.
• Over the week global Stockmarkets were mixed with some up and some down, with the US being the best performer. Pleasingly, all the D-PIMS Portfolios put in another well positive showing for the second week in a row, especially the higher risk ones.
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The comments made above represent our interpretation of events and market views and are in no way a guarantee of future investment performance.