"The Day the Earth Stood Still"
This sounds like the beginning of a Steven Spielberg movie but in actuality—we waited, and waited and waited and the time came and went without incident. Most of us have probably forgotten about that day, in fact, while I thought I remembered it well, I had to use Google to figure out the correct year and the first name of Mr. Browning. In fact, according to Thomas Gounley, in an article he wrote in 2015 on Buzzfeednews.com “some 40,000 students in portions of Missouri and surrounding states-Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois and Indiana -had the day off and some districts had canceled Tuesday and Wednesday as well.”
I remember the unsettling feeling of that day which passed until I felt it again almost 10 years later when Y2K occurred. As a rookie in the financial markets I remember the worry and almost panic that occurred as the date neared. Would computers work after 12:00pm 12/31/1999? I think you know the answer.
That brings me to 2020. I sense a little bit of Y2Kishness with fears of Coronavirus and lower oil prices hanging in the air! This is not to minimize the volatility we have seen in the stock and bond markets, but more a perspective, that this too will come and go. Will this fundamentally change our world, markets or economic stance? Possibly, but just imagine how those past events would have been received if we had Twitter, 24-7 economic news channels that have to keep viewers watching, and social media to waft the fear.
The toughest thing to do during a secular bull market is to hold onto your positions. Don’t forget to keep your long- term investment strategy in mind as volatility and news continue to spew attention grabbing headlines. While I’m no Iben Browning, my parents threw out the earth quake preparation kit years ago!