Good morning!

The Covid-19 outlook has not improved over the weekend - expectations for the duration of the 'lockdown' period are lengthening.

This report won't be locked down, however. Business as usual here.

At 7.30am, FTSE futures are trading almost unchanged at c. 5500.



Agenda for today (COVID-19)

There are a vast number of RNS updates, again, as companies scramble to update investors in light of the Coronavirus situation.

I can't help the feeling that we are in some type of a "doomsday" scenario for many businesses. Even during wars and recessions, many businesses were still open and operational.

This virus (or the government's response to it, depending on your point of view) has completely shut down huge parts of the economy. It's an unthinkable scenario - who could ever have imagined it?

It's a punishing situation for people who are leveraged, in their portfolios or their personal lives.

I thought that I was sufficiently careful, only buying shares in financially strong corporates and using only a very modest degree of leverage in my trading account.

It turns out that I might not have been careful enough: even financially strong companies such as Next (LON:NXT) (in which I have long position) may struggle, if they are forced to stay shut for six months. And while I wasn't forced to close any positions (e.g. due to margin calls), March has been an uncomfortable month.

But again, who could have predicted a scenario in which vast swathes of the economy would be forced to shut down?

I am loath to get involved in a political debate on a financial blog, but I do feel compelled to share this article by Professor John Lee (retired).

While demonstrating some important ways to understand the statistics you see in the media, the article also strengthens my suspicion that government policies are being driven by fear, not by a calm understanding of the facts and the alternatives.

However, there is nothing that I can do to influence policy. The only thing I can do is manage my portfolio as best as I can, and try to share a few nuggets of wisdom with you.

Discussed today: