The coronavirus crash and investment opportunities

Jessica Foreman


The coronavirus outbreak has pushed every country around the world to its limits. Indeed, Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan described this as an ‘acid test’ of the healthcare, governance and social capital of a country.


Yet, while some countries have struggled to keep pace with events and have seemingly been in reactive mode – Singapore has actually attracted a lot of praise for its smooth handling of the event. The World Health Organisation, for example, hailed the Lion City’s ‘good example of an all-government approach’, with measures ensuring the virus was as well contained as possible.


Singapore’s reputation – as a trustworthy place to do business that benefits from business-like governance – may not be harmed by such praise. But Singapore doesn’t operate in an economic vacuum. The financial impact of the virus will be felt everywhere, and it clearly won’t all be positive.


That doesn’t mean it will be all negative, however. With volatility, there will be bouts of investment opportunities. The market has a habit of delivering winners and losers from every major event after all and the best trading books – such as those in this guide – are full of reflections on surviving past crises.


US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin echoed this, telling reporters: “This is a short-term issue. It may be a couple of months, but we’re going to get through this, and the economy will be stronger than ever.


“You know, I look back at people who bought stocks after the crash in 1987, people who bought stocks after the financial crisis,” he continued. “For long-term investors, this will be a great investment opportunity.”


So, what could these investment opportunities be? Industries in demand during this crisis – or innovations that might capture the zeitgeist.


In Singapore, for example, we’ve seen how people have turned to using electrostatic spray guns to quickly and effectively disinfect a large surface area. Producers of such items that add speed and scale to the cleaning process are likely to be in higher demand across the world as businesses rush to get ‘back to normal’. Any company which can aid the market during such trying times will be deem as a good investment choice too.


The same logic – at an even more acute scale – applies to the world of pharmaceuticals too. Any company that can create a vaccine against this virus will be in for a serious financial windfall. Shares in US firm Moderna rocketed upon news that it had sent samples of a vaccine to The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAD), with a view to start trials in April. This spike in interest comes despite the fact the company hasn’t actually ever brought a drug to market – evidence that the power of hope and hype in fuelling finance.

The current crisis has also forced millions more people to work from home – a fact that has shone a spotlight on the technology that underpins your ability to do this. Zoom Video Communications – an online meeting and collaboration tool based in Silicon Valley – has benefited from the greater exposure this situation has provided and is experiencing strong growth as a result. While it might be too late to properly benefit from the rise of Zoom, other such tools that facilitate long periods of working from home still have the potential for growth – and should retain their new-found reputations in the post-coronavirus world.

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