Good morning, it's Paul here with the SCVR for Weds.

Estimated timings - probably a little shorter report than usual, I should be done by the 1pm official finish time.
Update at 12:52 - today's report is now finished. Thanks for the kind reader comments, much appreciated.

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Coronavirus & me

Firstly though, apologies for my absence of late. I started to feel unwell 9 days ago. I've rented a bedroom in my best friend John's house in Islington for about 20 years now. 4 of us (including his Mum) share the house, and it's very convenient and pleasant for me to have a London base. One by one, we started to fall ill last week, with coronavirus-like symptoms. John's Mum is the eldest, at 74, and she had to be hospitalised. The hospital confirmed that she tested positive for coronavirus, therefore it stands to reason we've probably all got it. As things stand, she's in intensive care, on a respirator, with things looking dicey, we're desperately hoping that she pulls through. It's striking how much more serious the virus is for older people, and we're regretting not having properly isolated her. If any of your relatives are questioning the need for isolation, please forward them this article.

As regards for me, I've had a range of expected symptoms, but won't run through all of that. In a nutshell it's just like being hit by a bus. You don't have any energy or physical/mental capacity to do anything, except lie in bed almost 24/7. Today's the first day that I've felt up to writing a report, so my plan is to write sections slowly, then take naps! We'll see how we get on.

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Market conditions

Unprecedented, I've never known anything like it. There are echoes of what it was like after 9/11 (when all the travel shares crashed), and at the worst point in the 2008 financial crisis, but the speed & severity of this crash has been astonishing, and horrible to witness. I chronicled the early stages of coronavirus here in these reports. My strategy was to take it seriously, and hedge my longs with various short positions (on travel companies, and on the Dow Index). That back-fired initially, but over the last few weeks it has very much saved my bacon. Hence whilst my existing portfolio of long positions is basically smashed to pieces, I have…

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