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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Stocks to buy and how to invest
Investment ideas and strategies to navigate a market crash
The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has had an enormous impact on stock markets around the world. Since late February, share markets in Australia, the US and the UK have fallen by around 30% amid unprecedented volatility. In March, shares in Singapore hit a 10-year low over as the Straits Times Index (STI) plummeted as much as 6.3% during intra-day trading on 13 March, the lowest since 24 July 2009.
With countries closing borders and businesses in response to the growing health threat, analysts predict we’re in the early stages of an unfolding global recession.
However, while shareholders have been hit by heavy losses, many will be using the market crash to keep an eye out for new buying opportunities or even profiting from falling prices. Regardless of your approach, it’s a good time to review your portfolio and consider your next steps. We’ve compiled a list of investing guides and stock ideas to help you navigate this turbulent time.
When will the market recover?
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to know for certain how long the market downturn will last as we’ve never encountered a situation like this before. Below are a list of some of the more popular suggestions given by analysts as to when we might see the market start to recover:
- New global COVID-19 infection rates start slowing
- Coordinated action from global governments to cull the outbreak
- It becomes clear a credit squeeze isn’t on the cards
- Oil prices come under control and OPEC members agree on output
- The pandemic comes under control
With businesses closing doors and forecasters predicting the unemployment rate could hit 30-year highs, the economic fallout will be large and potentially long-lasting.
Depending on how the pandemic unfolds in the coming months, stock markets could either see a V-Shaped recovery (quick rebound) as we saw during the SARS outbreak or a U-Shaped recovery (slow rebound) as we saw following the global financial crisis (GFC).
Coronavirus stock ideas
Which stocks might drop?
Important: No one can say for certain which direction stocks will go – there’s plenty of speculation about where the global economy might be headed. Below are some of the more common ideas among analysts about how stocks could be affected.
When there’s a global event like this, most stocks will react negatively. That means many of the major blue chip stocks, such as the major banks, Telstra and CSL, are also likely to fall, offering a potential buying opportunity at discount prices.
Because of the nature of the pandemic, tourism stocks are expected to be among the hardest hit as travel restrictions are put in place to curb the spread of the virus. This includes airlines, hotels and tour companies.
With major cities in China locked down, some analysts predict Chinese demand for imported goods could lessen as its economy slows. This means Singapore companies with large Chinese exposure could see profits down this year, and investors will be pricing in that possibility.
Mining and energy companies in Singapore have a strong reliance on global demand and the oil price. If the pandemic does spark a global recession, Singapore’s major energy companies are expected to take a hit.
No one can say how long these stocks will stay down for; however, a steep drop in prices is a good opportunity for bargain hunters willing to wait out the correction.
- Singapore Airlines (SGX: C6L)
- Far East Group Limited (SGX: 5TJ)
- Genting Singapore Ltd (SGX: G13)
- A-Sonic Aerospace Limited (SGX: BTJ)
- SIA Engineering Co Ltd (SGX: S59)
- Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SGX: Z74)
- DBS BK LTD (SGX: MU7)
- Singapore Press Holdings Limited (SGX: T39)
- Comfortdelgro Corporation Ltd (SGX: C52)
- Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. Limited (SGX: O39)
- Treasury Wine Estates (ASX: TWE)
- Crown Group (ASX: CWN)
- Star Entertainment Group (ASX: SGR)
- BlueScope Steel Limited (ASX: BSL)
- Rex International Holding Ltd (SGX: 5WH)
- Golden Energy and Resources Ltd (SGX: AUE)
- Mermaid Maritime Public Co Ltd (SGX: DU4)
- Sinostar PEC Holdings Limited (SGX: C9Q)
- China Aviation Oil (Singapore) Corp Ltd (SGX: G92)
Which stocks could benefit?
A global crisis typically results in safe-haven investing, which means bonds and gold. This tends to send the gold price soaring while bond yields drop as demand goes up. Read our full guides on gold and bond investing for more information.
This often (although not always) results in gold company stocks becoming more popular. That being said, gold stocks are influenced by many other factors including global demand and new discoveries so it’s also possible for stocks to go backwards.
A pandemic also benefits a few specific sectors, such as healthcare, insurance and protective gear manufacturers, such as face-mask suppliers. Meanwhile, companies that support working or studying from home should also react positively as people are forced to isolate themselves.
Many of the biggest beneficiaries might be established US companies such as Zoom (NASDAQ: ZM), Slack (NYSE: WORK) and GSX Techedu (NYSE: GSX).
- CNMC Goldmine Holdings Ltd (SGX: 5TP)
- Wilton Resources Corporation Ltd (SGX: 5F7)
- Anchor Resources Ltd (SGX: 43E)
- Medtecs International Corporation Ltd (SGX: 546)
- UG Healthcare Corporation Ltd (SGX: 41A)
- Clearbridge Health Ltd (SGX: 1H3)
- Co-Diagnostics (NASDAQ: CODX)
- 3M Co (NYSE: MMM)
- Alpha Pro Tech (NYSEMKT: APT)
- Zoom (NASDAQ: ZM)
- Slack (NYSE: WORK)
- GSX Techedu (NYSE: GSX)
How to invest when there’s a market crash
When markets crash, it can be tempting to sell your shares in an attempt to avoid further losses. But this is not necessarily the best strategy, especially if you hesitate on pulling the trigger.
Stock market downturns are a reality, and must be considered alongside the record gains of recent years. It’s often a better idea to ride out the volatility rather than try to time the market, according to Shane Oliver, chief economist at Australian financial services giant AMP.
A lot of people get tempted to sell, then suddenly the markets find a bottom. Before you know it, they’re back above the levels where a lot of people sold.”
Know your strategy
Your best course of action in the event of a crash will depend on your trading strategy and overall investment goals, according to Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist for share-trading platform CMC Markets, who spoke to Finder. “In most cases, investors should be reviewing closely and working out what a 10% drop or a 20% drop would mean to their holding. Whereas somebody who’s taking a more active approach might start weeding their portfolio.”
It’s important to know what your goals are and whether a crash has impacted your ability to achieve those goals. It is possible that a crash gives you some good reasons to sell.
Be prepared to buy the dip
When markets dip, you can make money. The key thing is to be ready for this to happen and to have the funds to snap up shares when the prices are low.
Timing the market is incredibly hard and you’re very unlikely to get the stock at its absolute lowest, but as with all investments, if your intention is to hold for the long term, it can be a good opportunity to snap it up at a lower cost.
One way to prepare if you’re an active investor is to keep a list of stocks that you would be willing to buy if a crash happens.
Seek financial advice
When stocks are crashing it is easy to get swept up by your emotions. If 20% of your portfolio value has been knocked off, you might not be in the right frame of mind to be making decisions which could impact your financial future.
Seeking a second opinion, ideally from a financial adviser, can give you some perspective to your thinking and guard against any rash decisions.
What happens after a crash?
Following a market crash, stocks are likely to experience a period of volatility as investors reevaluate the market. But downturns can also represent investment opportunities, especially if there are certain stocks you think may have switched from overvalued to undervalued.
Cautious investors may often flock to “safe haven” investments like gold, bonds or even bitcoin, so a market downturn may be a good time to think about diversifying your investment portfolio.
If history is any indicator, the markets should eventually rebound, but trying to determine when this will happen is the million-dollar question. Stocks may recover within weeks or months, or we may be faced with a years-long bear market, especially if global recession fears turn out to be on the money.
How to profit from a falling market
It’s possible for traders to profit when prices are falling through a strategy called “shorting the market”. Because this is typically a risky strategy, only experienced traders are advised to do this. The most common ways that people can profit from falling equity, currency or commodity prices is through CFD, Forex or options trading.
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