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