(Apr 9): The brunt of the damage done by the Covid-19 pandemic has shifted from Asia to Europe and the US in recent weeks. 

Along with the westward move of this unfolding health care crisis, markets have declined and become increasingly volatile. Steeply falling oil prices have worsened the situation. The toll on those affected will be large, though there is some growing (if still early) solace in recent developments. Based on the experiences of China and South Korea, we know that with significant testing and severe restrictions on social interaction the virus can be contained. China has now reported consecutive days of no new local cases. While still a difficult situation, Italy appears to be making progress and cases may have peaked.

The current decline differs from prior ones insofar as it appears no asset class or industry has been spared. Assets across the board have seen losses on a global basis. It is somewhat frustrating to date, as there is no or little differentiation — within US equity markets at least — in terms of factors: Quality, size, beta, balance sheet and dividends. But this is not to say differentiation will not come.

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