Your Guess Is as Good as Mine

From February 19th to March 23rd, the S&P 500 plummeted -34 percent. From March 23rd until time of composition, the same index climbed approximately 50 percent. Do not confuse this as a net gain. (Refer to our blog series on risk and volatility for how path dependency is important for the geometric compounding of investment returns). Here are some other events one must consider when forecasting: COVID-19 recovery; cratering oil prices due to supply glut; unprecedented levels of unemployment; mass rioting globally (concentrated in the U.S.); unparalleled central bank action; and increasing U.S./China tensions. In his latest memo, the CEO of Oaktree Capital Management, Howard Marks, discusses that investors should be prepared for a myriad of scenarios and that timing the bottom is a futile exercise. (Click here for his conversation with Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker). The path dependency of global economies and financial markets is beyond the realms of accurate forecasting, and investors should be wary of “experts” claiming predictive accuracy. Instead, investors should accept the capriciousness of the future and position their portfolios to withstand exogenous events consistent with their risk tolerance. Risk management and diversification (anti-concentration) amid the volatility associated with these uncertain times is of utmost importance.