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Coronavirus a potential buying opportunity: BetaShares

David Bassanese
By Aidan Curtis
13 February 2020 — 1 minute read

The spread of the coronavirus, now named COVID-19, since early January will only present short-term market problems and may lead to buying opportunities for Aussie investors, according to ETF provider BetaShares.

Investment manager Eaton Vance has previously labelled predictions of the market impact of COVID-19 as unhelpful without more information.

However, BetaShares chief economist David Bassanese compared COVID-19 to the SARS epidemic of 2003.

“That was really a two- to three-month event, so assuming it is just a short-run impact, it doesn’t necessarily mean investors need to make any changes to their portfolios,” Mr Bassanese said.

“If anything, there might be an opportunity to pick up some bargains should there be any undue sell-off in the markets at certain companies and sectors in the short run.”

Even though the effects of COVID-19 will likely be short-term, Mr Bassanese said there is still potential for some markets to overreact.

“If value starts to present itself — at the moment the overall market has held up pretty well — but I think, obviously, if some opportunities arise in the short run, then they would be buying opportunities,” he said.

Despite market areas such as tourism, food exports and vitamin exports being marked down in the short term as a direct result of the virus, Mr Bassanese said that, too, is likely only temporary.

“I think it should be a couple of months — somewhere between two and six months — but markets have the capacity to look through that,” he said.

However, Mr Bassanese noted that the culminative effect of the Australian bushfires and the COVID-19 could prove damaging for the Australian economy.

“I don’t think the markets have quite got their heads around exactly how weak the GDP numbers for Q1 could be,” he said.

“There’s a negative GDP number if tourism from China and student numbers really slump in the quarter, then you’ve got these other hits to exports; again, you could get a negative reaction in the markets.

“I think be prepared for some potential bad news on the economic front and to the extent markets overreact to that, but it could still present a buying opportunity.”


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