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Mid-Week Market Minute 2.26.20

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Stocks fell sharply in a volatile trade this week as fears surrounding the global spread of the coronavirus overwhelmed financial markets. The S&P 500 was down over 6% mid-week while Treasury yields continued their recent rally. The yield on the 10-year treasury note reached a record low of 1.31% on Tuesday, benefiting from the perceived “risk-off” trade. The VIX (CBOE Volatility Index), which measures implied (forward-looking) volatility of the S&P 500, spiked this week as market participants anticipate increased levels of volatility over the near-term. Outside of China, there are now over 2,700 confirmed cases of the virus encompassing over 37 countries worldwide. While these figures may seem staggering, it is important to put this data into context. For example, since 2010 the CDC estimates that influenza is responsible for between 12,000 – 61,000 deaths annually in the U.S. alone. Trying to predict how markets will behave in the short-term is as difficult as predicting how the coronavirus will spread. What we do know is that over the long-term, stocks tend to follow the general trajectory of the economy, which remains solid and is unlikely to be materially impacted by the coronavirus.