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

COVID-19 Timeline, S&P 500 Index % change, spread over the US Treasury Note, December 2019 to January 2023

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

Richter’s economic 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 since the outset of COVID-19. 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 might persist, as well as the duration of the current aggressive tightening cycle, and the related impact on corporations, industries and the macro-economic climate.

During November and December 2022, we continued to witness a slight recovery of the S&P 500 stock index following steep losses in September resulting from the deteriorating economic outlook in North America and worldwide. This occurs contemporaneously with the following:

  • Looming concerns of a recession in Canada, US and other countries, as S&P 500 stock index closes out 2022 with a 19.4% loss, the worst since 2008
  • Unemployment rates stabilize in Canada and US, following sustained lows from February to September 2022
  • Governments continued loosening sanitary measures following successful rollout of vaccines in many countries and decreased severity of COVID-19 infections
  • Continued concerns and uncertainties around Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine and its impact on oil, gas and food commodity prices
  • Inflationary pressures appear to be cooling with declining consumer demand and lessening supply chain disruption
  • The central bank gradually increasing interest rates throughout 2022 to combat sustained inflationary pressure
  • Modest weakening of the value of the US dollar in recent months compared to other major currencies, but the dollar still trades near its 20-year high
  • Decrease in the price of commodities including copper, oil and gas, wheat and others, resulting from looming recessionary concerns and increased fixed income yields.

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”


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