If there is perhaps one thing that investors don’t like above all others, it’s uncertainty. And that’s what was served up in heaping bucketfuls this week as it became clear the coronavirus wouldn’t bypass the U.S. — with the stock market turning in its worst performance since last decade’s financial crisis.
“I think the operative word is fear. We got questions from clients about what should we do,” said Matthew Lui, vice president of investment research at Canterbury Consulting, a Newport Beach firm that provides advice to endowments, foundations and high-net-worth families. “It’s been a very volatile week. Our inboxes got bombarded.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average — which hit a record high of 29,551.42 just weeks ago on Feb. 12 — fell 3,583 points, or 12.4%. Microsoft and Apple, the two most valuable companies in the S&P 500, lost a combined $300 billion. In a sign of the severity of the concern about the possible economic blow, the price of oil sank 16%.