Good morning!

Graham here.

Viral thoughts

As you've probably noticed, markets are looking much more perky now, compared to three weeks ago.

Versus the recent lows:

  • The S&P 500 is up about 25%.
  • The FTSE-100 is up about 21%.
  • The Euro Stoxx 50 is up about 24%.

(All indices measured in their own currencies.)

5e95668010b7eUKX_20200414.PNG

(Source:Stockopedia.)

Anecdotally, I am still seeing a lot of scepticism about these gains from commentators on Twitter and elsewhere.

As I said last week, the duration of "lockdown" measures is the most important unknown in the short-term, since many companies are closed for business until these lockdown measures are removed.

This is a truly unknowable variable - lockdown will only be ended when the combined weight of medical evidence and public opinion convinces national governments that it is feasible to make a change.

The data

I continue to check Worldometer for daily charts of coronavirus progression. The underlying data quality remains extremely poor, but these are the headline numbers which influence public opinion, so I think they're important.

Itay has seen a steady decline in numbers dying with the virus in recent weeks:

5e9559a2daa9eitaly_death_20200414.PNG

New cases are falling too:

5e9559d4e0e42italy_20200414.PNG

In Italy, "bookshops, stationers and children's clothes shops" are open from today. Factories might open again on May 3rd (I expect that they will since I think the peak of the coronavirus has been seen for Italy).

Deaths in Spain are on the decline too:

5e955aed725a7spain_deaths_20200414.PNG

And new cases in Spain have plunged:

5e955b18acbd1spain_20200414.PNG

In Spain, construction and factory workers went back to work yesterday.

Elsewhere:

  • Austria is reopening schools and some shops.
  • Denmark is reopening primary schools and creches.
  • Czech Republic has reopened hardware stores and a range of others, and is rumoured to publish its exit strategy today.

The UK figures show deaths still rising, though not at an "exponential" rate:

5e955e930a6aeUK_deaths_20200414.PNG

Barring the occasional daily spike, new cases in the UK suggest that exponential growth is now very weak:

5e955ee2283f5UK_20200414.PNG

We can see this on a logarithmic chart:

5e956104a8ccduk_log_20200414.PNG

From…

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