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The COVID-19 Timeline: What was known or knowable and what did the market say?

Covid-19 timeline graph, S&P 500 index % change, spread over US treasury note

Sources: S&P Capital IQ, Yahoo Finance, Duff & Phelps, James R. Hitchner’s Valuation Products and Services and CMAJ News.


Richter’s COVID-19 timeline plots local and world events together with a depiction of the volatility of the S&P 500 stock index as well as the spread of publicly traded BBB corporate bonds over US treasury notes. The rebound of the stock and credit markets following the low in March 2020 was largely bolstered by remarkable government stimulus, particularly in Canada and the US. The level of funding provided and the impact on the economic environment could not have been predicted at the outset of the pandemic. It is difficult to predict the level of government stimulus that will persist and its impact on corporations, industries and the macro economic climate.

As of June 2021, we continue to witness a rise in the S&P 500 stock index and slight decline in credit spreads. This occurs contemporaneously with the following:

  • The third wave of the COVID-19 virus in certain regions contrasted with the successful rollout of vaccines in other regions
  • Expected acceleration of global economic growth in the latter half of 2021
  • Unemployment rates remaining above historical averages in the U.S. and Canada
  • Increasing inflationary pressure and record high commodity process, including oil & gas, lumber, wheat and copper
  • Strong M+A markets in North America bolstered by continued low interest rates
  • Canadian dollar trading at a six-year high


This timeline was compiled by Richter LLP’s Business Valuation and Dispute Advisory Group. A similar version was published in the CBV Institute’s Journal of Business Valuation (November 2020 edition), Section 05, Page 111, “Repricing Risk in the Times of COVID-19”

Link: https://cbvinstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/CBV-Institute_Journal2020_Final.pdf

Contact Persons: Alana Geller, CPA, CA, CBV, CFF, and Brett Miller, CPA, CA, CBV, MBA

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