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


Graph : COVID-19 Timeline, S&P 500 Index % change, spread over the 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 September 2021, we witnessed the S&P 500 stock index dip slightly after a strong Q1 through Q3, as well as a slight rise in credit spreads. This occurs contemporaneously with the following:

  • The fourth wave of the COVID-19 virus in certain regions contrasted with the successful rollout of vaccines in other regions
  • Despite concerns related to Delta variant and continued supply chain disruptions, experts predict a strong finish to 2021 for the stock market
  • S&P 500, Nasdaq Composite trade up to all-time highs to close the month of August
  • Unemployment rates remaining above historical averages in the U.S. and Canada
  • Generally sustained inflationary pressure, albeit some softening of certain commodities, including lumber, grains and copper
  • Strong M+A markets in North America bolstered by continued low interest rates

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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