Investing and the COVID-19 Situation
Written by Tangerine

Wednesday, April 15th, 2020

There's no denying that we're facing challenging times and many people are confused about what everything means for their investments.

The information below is a detailed analysis of the current economic environment from our colleague Judith Chan at 1832 Asset Management Inc. Judith is the lead Portfolio Manager for Scotia Portfolio Solutions and DynamicEdge Portfolios and is also the advising representative overseeing Tangerine Investment Funds, our passively managed Portfolios.

Judith provides some great perspective on investing through a challenging environment. It's important to consider your own personal situation and maintain a focus on your investment objectives and strategies in order to keep yourself moving forward toward your goals. Tangerine Investment Clients will want to:

  1. Consider your investor profile and risk tolerance. We're happy to review this with you if you'd like. Remember that our Investment Funds Advisors are available Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.
  2. Remember that Tangerine reviews our Portfolios on a quarterly basis to ensure we haven't strayed from their target asset allocation.
  3. Think about automatic Investment contributions to help position your Portfolio for the eventual recovery.

We hope you stay safe during this unprecedented time, and that you find the below information from Judith helpful.

The Economic Impact of COVID-19

This has been an unprecedented time for all of us. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, our lives have drastically changed with government imposed self-isolation and quarantine. This has significantly affected global economic prospects and forced policymakers around the world to push out an extraordinary amount of fiscal and monetary support through interest rate cuts and relief programs as shown below to combat the major economic contraction.

Canadian and US policy rate cuts

Markets Have Responded Accordingly

The chart below is the VIX Index, which is a volatility measure for U.S. equities. A higher VIX number reflects a higher expectation of market volatility, and as you can see, COVID-19 has driven the VIX to the same level we saw during the 2008-09 Financial Crisis.

The Volatility Index

Q1 saw a steep decline across all equity markets. The chart below shows the year-to-date change in various asset classes. The fixed income market saw positive returns, helping to provide downside protection for balanced investors.

Stock Market YTD 2020 Return

The Importance of a Diversified Portfolio

Fixed income securities, such as bonds, are an important diversifier. As you can see below, a portfolio with exposure to fixed income held up meaningfully better during the first quarter.

YTD Returns of Hypothetical Canadian Portfolio

Rebalancing, which involves periodically buying or selling assets in your portfolio to maintain your target asset allocation, is just as important. If the equity portion of your portfolio has drifted higher over the last few years, then the negative impact from the downturn this quarter would be greater. A well-diversified portfolio with regular rebalancing ensures that your portfolio remains aligned with your risk tolerance and long-term goals.

What Can We Learn From the Past?

While the sharp and sudden market decline was unsettling in the first quarter of 2020, it's important to remember that the pandemic will eventually end, and the economy should recover. Looking back at the 10 worst quarters since 1928, we can see that major declines have generally been followed by major recoveries in the following 4 quarters.

S&P 500 Quarterly Performance USD from 1928 to present

These major recoveries can be sharp and can happen quickly. Sticking to your plan even when markets have declined ensures that your portfolio is able to participate in the recovery when stocks rally.

Where Do We Go From Here?

We will get through this pandemic, but volatility is likely to remain high in the short term. Throughout this period, there are a few things that you can do to help you stay grounded.

  • Stay Calm: Setbacks are usually short lived and followed by a recovery
  • Stay Diversified: Ensure that your portfolio is aligned with your longer-term goals and your risk profile
  • Stick to Your Plan: A well thought-out investment plan can help keep you disciplined and focused on the long term, rather than the short-term market direction

More Questions?

Remember, our Investment Funds Advisors are here to answer any questions and guide you on reaching your investment goals. Feel free to call us at 1-877-464-5678. We're open Monday to Friday from 8 am to 8 pm ET.

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