A swan or overhang

The market impact of a Black Swan event is generally seen through the lens of near-term disruption. The current condition has generally been deemed a Black Swan event, with near-term disruption that has followed.

There is a risk, I think, that the nature of this swan will carry into the economy long-term, and thus shape an era in the market, after the immediate disruption settles down. The risk is (more than usually) psychological.

Unlike the cases of the prior swans, 9/11 and the housing bubble, where the events could lend themselves to isolated response and become contained in the market psyche, the epidemic virus swan seems of a different sort. It’s global, indiscriminate, it may not end as much as flatten out, and even then may cycle or at some point return in different form or circumstance.

In other words, there is a risk, depending on the way these next few weeks and months unfold and how profoundly the effects are felt at scale, that this swan perhaps more than others may become an overhang. It may, in this case, become a long-term drag on demand, or otherwise at least change its nature.

The long-term investment case for the current market collapse is summarized in this longer post I published before the weekend – an eternity ago – which still holds.

The flip-side, I believe, is the psychological unknown.