hGood morning!

FTSE futures are up at the dizzy heights of 5575 - apparently due to signs that the spread of Covid-19, and deaths associated with it, may be slowing down.

This is the placeholder for your early comments - more to follow.

Cheers

Graham


Covid Thoughts

Wow, it's a sea of blue in my portfolio today. I'm sure many of you are seeing some recovery shoots, too.

Experienced voices in the investing community have been cautious about the recent recovery, viewing it as a temporary reprieve before the next leg down.

The main factor is clearly the duration of lockdown, and the extent to which economic activity can normalise in the weeks/months ahead.

There are some signs that the panic might recede, for example here are the total UK cases:

5e8ae80ec449eUK_20200406.PNG

That might look very bad, but you need to put it on a logarithmic scale to see the rate of increase (thanks to Worldometer for these charts):

5e8ae906cf021UK_log_20200406.PNG

As the logarithmic chart weakens, the percentage increase in cases per day starts to reduce (e.g. the total number of cases increases by 1%, instead of 10%).

Obviously I'm leaving out the fact that millions of people in the UK could well have had the virus without getting a test (because they were asymptomatic or because no test was available).

But governments tend to act on official data, no matter how bad it is (since it's the only data they have). These are the numbers which inform the news media and the debate. So there is some merit in watching them, if only to predict what other people might make of them. And they show definite signs of slowing down.

Here are the same charts for Italy, which as you will know was one of the first countries to be gripped by the virus, and is still one of the most badly-affected countries.

Linear:

5e8aea5eb5567italy_20200406.PNG

Logarithmic:

5e8aea90e8e26italy_log_20200406.PNG

This logarithmic chart shows the recorded growth of the virus in Italy now running at very weak levels. I don't know if this will stimulate the risk tolerance needed to get the country moving again, but it's a start.

Let's also look at the death numbers in Italy.

Again,…

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