Wuhan virus: Why investors are not panicking

Unlike the anti-PAP cybernuts who rushed to hoard rice and instant noodles investors are not panicking Because

We estimate that even in a scenario where the rate of new infections did not peak until the second quarter, the negative hit to global economic growth would be about 0.3 percentage points. That means the expansion would still be 3.1 per cent — in line with last year’s pace.

Goldman Sachs Japan vice chair talking about the global economy

Current investor sentiment seem to suggest an economic recovery from 2018 lows remains on track, albeit with a delay.

JPMorgan’s Asia equity strategy team notes the prevalence of three types of investors at the moment:

“The largest group of investors have chosen to ride out the whole episode with an assumption that market reactions to the developments would be transitory and difficult to time. Much of this camp has recently been adding to existing holdings as they have corrected.”

It says, one gauge of this, which also dovetails with the Nasdaq 100 up 9.4% this year to a record high, is how the China A-shares tech sector is the best performing sector, says JPM.

A more KS group of investors believes “the situation is about to significantly deteriorate, calling cycle views into question”, notes JPM.

The bank’s strategists say “there are risks from unexpected supply disruptions (through bottleneck inputs or processes) or a resurgence of new cases as factories reopen or the virus mutates”. That scenario entails a drop of 6% in the MSCI Asia Share index excluding Japan, and further pain should the cycle falter from here.

The final group includes the buyers of the dip or what JPM term “a similar minority of investors are tactically raising risk exposure” and anticipating a lot more easing from China that offsets any damage to consumer sentiment.

JPM points out:

“In a somewhat cyclical argument, it is important for the market to hold up as, contrary to popular belief, we find price action shaping narratives and sentiment as much as (if not more than) the other way around.” In simple English it’s saying “This view requires a degree of optimism”.