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What caught my eye this week.

There are so many unanswered questions at this stage of the coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19 crash:

  • How many people in the UK have already had coronavirus? (I suspect huge numbers, but what do I know…)
  • Will Boris Johnson be a better or worse PM giving orders over Zoom?
  • Can we let Rishi Sunak have a go instead?
  • Where is Warren Buffett and why hasn’t he declared he’s buying?
  • Just how long will the population put up with lockdown life?
  • Just how long will my new-ish girlfriend put up with lockdown life with me?

Apologies, I’m not in a very serious mood. Perhaps I’m already going a little stir crazy.

Loafing around

This week like the last six has been mildly manic for me. Especially considering that most of it was played out in a 2.5 bedroom London flat with – thank heavens – a garden.

Besides work (I’ve still got plenty to do, for which I’m grateful) I did well over 100 trades in March alone, dusting off my old playbook from the financial crisis.

(Tentative playbook title – Rearranging Deckchairs on the Titanic: Tactical Trading In A Time Of COVID-19).

Meanwhile my sensibly staunchly passive co-blogger has been smothered by his job despite self-isolating away from it. But when it comes to his portfolio he’s sticking to the plan. He’s not selling. And he’s only buying what his long ago automated set-up does for him.

He’ll inherit the earth, that one.

Meanwhile some of you are going a bit nutty too.

For example long-time reader TheRhino has been in contact. He tells me – and supplied evidence – that he’s been knocking out Monevator-branded artisanal sourdough loaves:

When we said our site was about “making dough”

How I’d love to be having friends over to break bread with… but of course that’s a relic of what already seems 100-years ago. I’m a natural self-isolator by day, but I do miss mixing at night. I mean not over Skype, of course. You know, real mixing where you might catch something you’d be ashamed of.

I miss just going for long rambling walks far from home.

Like most of us in London I’m instead only venturing out once every day or two, half-surprised to see houses still standing and a car drive past. All the cherry and magnolia trees are in bloom, petals falling to the floor, mostly unseen. Almost nobody is drinking coffee on the street and obviously not in the now-closed cafes. It reminds me of the London I arrived at in the early 1990s. It seems so bizarre now.

I wave my M&S reusable plastic bag about as I hustle along, so everyone knows I’m on a government-sanctioned outing.

Barely started

This bear market hasn’t been bad for me so far, touch wood. I’m well ahead of my benchmarks – though decidedly down, of course. I’m over the shock and back into the swing of things – and getting used to metaphorically being punched in the face every day.

But the lockdown? It’s a bummer. And we’re barely two weeks in.

As for the deep economic drawdown – it hasn’t even gotten going yet.


Still, have a great weekend, whatever room this finds you in. 🙂

From Monevator

The coronavirus crash, as told by the Monevator community – Monevator

From the archive-ator: The hidden benefits of financial freedom – Monevator


Note: Some links are Google search results – in PC/desktop view you can click to read the piece without being a paid subscriber. Try privacy/incognito mode to avoid cookies. Consider subscribing if you read them a lot!1

Prime Minister Boris Johnson tests positive for coronavirus – BBC

Chancellor is now also giving support to millions of self-employed individuals… – GOV.UK

…but some, such as one-person limited companies, fall between the cracks – Guardian

US weekly initial unemployment claims increase to 3,283,000 [Unprecedented rise]Calculated Risk

Housing market frozen by government during coronavirus lockdown – Guardian

Income investors face ‘dividend drought’ [Search result]FT

S&P warns that bond default rates will surge, perhaps as high as 10% – Institutional Investor

[Click to enlarge the suffering]

Why food delivery apps are struggling even under UK lockdown [Search result]FT

Products and services

How to get refunds for school fees, season tickets and much more [Search result]FT

Barclays and Halifax withdraw the majority of mortgages – ThisIsMoney

Leaky Lockdown: Are you allowed to call a plumber out to fix a broken boiler? – ThisIsMoney

Tesco limits online to 80 orders per customer to speed up deliveries – Guardian

How are P2P lenders responding to the coronavirus pandemic? – Peer2Peer Finance News

At least ten cruise ships are still stuck at see as a result of the pandemic – Guardian

Comment and opinion

Asset allocation in the most painful month – Portfolio Charts

Here’s why you should rebalance your portfolio – Morningstar

Anchors a-weigh! – The Psy-Fi blog

The property market where people can’t leave their house? – ThisIsMoney

The greatest investment quotes of all-time – Of Dollars and Data

Surviving your very first market crash – A Wealth of Common Sense

Is it too late to de-risk? – Morningstar

Inflation, deflation, confiscation & devastation: The Four Horsemen of Risk – Wade Pfau

How the crisis nearly blew up one of the world’s safest trades [Podcast] – OddLots via Overcast

Of natural beauty and interesting markets – Simple Living in Somerset

Stock index weights are [post-crash]… different – Klement on Investing

Lower share prices mean that 10-year expected returns are well up – Vanguard

Naughty corner: Active antics

NYE professor Aswath Damodaran has been writing weekly crisis pieces that are worth your time – Musings on Markets

Data showing the dramatic de-rating of US stocks, especially small caps [but beware ‘E’ collapse in P/E]Meb Faber

Blizzard, Winter, or Ice Age? – Patrick O’Shaughnessy

The potential impact of the coronavirus on dividends – UK Value Investor

Merryn Somerset-Webb: Some rare coronavirus good news – equities are cheap [Search result]FT

The worst crash in history: A view from the front seat – FireVLondon

A deep dive into Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, post-crash – Rational Walk

COVID-19 Corner

What to make of headlines that 50% of the UK population may have had COVID-19? – Wired

The four possible timelines for life returning to normal – The Atlantic

How the UK got coronavirus testing wrong [Free to read]FT

A deep dive into the economic cost of social distancing – McKinsey & Company

Wounds heal, scars last – Morgan Housel

Italian scientists investigate possible earlier emergence of coronavirus – Reuters

The Ibuprofen debate reveals the danger of COVID-19 rumors – WIRED

Compaq and the coronavirus – Stratechery

Please, let’s stop the epidemic of armchair epidemiology – Slate

Kindle book bargains

The 80/20 Principle: Achieving More With Less by Richard Koch – £0.99 on Kindle

How to Get Rich by Felix Dennis [Will have to dust this off given the bear market!] – £1.99 on Kindle

One Up On Wall Street by Peter Lynch – £0.99 on Kindle

RESET: How to Restart Your Life and Get F.U. Money by Dave Sawyer – £0.99 on Kindle

Off our beat

Jonathan Pie is in lockdown [Video] – via YouTube

A crisis is a time to build momentum, not lose it – Rad Reads

Are serial entrepreneurs really smarter – or just lucky? – Fast Company

And finally…

“Visions of unavoidable collapse have been in the ascendant.”
– Vaclav Smil, Global Catastrophes and Trends: The Next Fifty Years

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  1. Note some articles can only be accessed through the search results if you’re using PC/desktop view (from mobile/tablet view they bring up the firewall/subscription page). To circumvent, switch your mobile browser to use the desktop view. On Chrome for Android: press the menu button followed by “Request Desktop Site”.

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