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Gavin Baker+ Your Authors @GavinSBaker Husband, Becky Painter. CIO, Atreides Management. Former PM, Fidelity OTC fund. No investment advice, views all my own. Apr. 08, 2020 2 min read + Your Authors

1) We are at a critical juncture for the market.

The events of the next month will shape the next year.

In 20 years of investing, I've never seen such high sensitivity to initial conditions and such a wide range of outcomes with no real precedent to help guide thinking.

2) Positives:

NYC/CA/WA new cases have peaked for now. Can begin to frame when America restarts. Still think before Memorial Day.

Weather is getting warmer, which likely slows the transmission rate.

Massive stimulus.

3) Positives:

Vix down 50%ish.

Credit card data has *begun* to stabilize, albeit at a frightening rate of decline.

Positioning is much cleaner.

Market internals are slowly, fitfully beginning to improve (small cap vs. large cap, cyclical vs. defensive, value vs. growth).

4) Negatives:

New cases in the rest of the United States still accelerating.

8 states still don't have social distancing measures in place.

5) Negatives:

No Q2 guidance yet, so no "true market price." Valuation much more expensive than currently appears on stale forward numbers.

CS has the lowest 2020 SPX number at $125 vs. $155 consensus. I'd take the under on $125. 22x isn't obviously cheap.

6) Negatives:

SBA loans are a disaster so far. Banks are actively avoiding them given minimal profit and perceived regulatory risk due to 2008/2009 scars (banks that "helped" by acquiring failing competitors were later punished via huge fines for the behavior of acquired co.)

7) Stimulus variables:

Will Fintech's be allowed to lend via the SBA program? Fastest way to get money to SMBs. *Every* day matters.

What will the next round of fiscal stimulus look like?

8) Covid variables:

Clinical trials will begin to read out over the next 6 weeks which will tell us a lot about treatment regimens.

Serological testing ramps up in late April; we will learn the true CFR and where we are in herd immunity.

When do new cases ex NY/CA/WA peak?

9) Economic variables:

How high will unemployment go? Once this gets to a certain level, then a V-shaped recovery becomes much less likely. Alphabet soup of L, U, W, V.

10) Range of outcomes is still extraordinarily wide.

There is no precedent for the current situation (unlike 2008-2009).

Sensitivity to initial conditions is higher than I've ever seen in my 20 years of investing.

11) Outcome will be determined by the interaction of Q2 guidance, unemployment, new cases, timing of restart for America, speed of current stimulus and size/efficacy of future stimulus.

The next month will shape the next year.

Not making a market call. Just thinking out loud.

12) Thoughts? What am I missing?

You can follow @GavinSBaker.


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