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Saturday, October 31, 2020

Mark Mobius on markets bottom, investing, coronavirus

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Markets probably have not hit the “absolute bottom” yet, said veteran emerging markets investor Mark Mobius, who urged investors to keep cash on hand for buying opportunities.

“I don’t think we’re at the absolute bottom yet because the implications of this shutdown are incredible,” Mobius, the founding partner of Mobius Capital Partners, said. He added that “things are pretty bad” from the perspective of corporate earnings.

Earnings season is set to kick off Tuesday with JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Johnson & Johnson reporting numbers. The first batch of results will give investors a sense of how devastating the hit to corporations could be from the pandemic.

Analysts expect S&P 500 earnings growth to decline 10.2% in the first quarter year-over-year, according to Refinitiv.

Markets have, meanwhile, been volatile in the past month as the number of coronavirus cases and fatalities in the U.S. spiked sharply. Since the S&P 500′s all-time high on February 19, it’s down almost 19%.

The question on investors’ minds have been whether markets have reached a bottom. But Mobius urged people to keep more cash on hand in case another bottom occurs.

“Although there are some opportunities to buy, I would say it’s probably a good idea to keep some powder dry for another downturn. We might see a double bottom,” he said.

Mobius also suggested that the damage from a protracted shutdown would be “incredible,” and called for the economy to open up again “in some way.”

Many affected countries are under lockdown or stay-home measures because of the outbreak and authorities are debating when things can go back to normal.

But Mobius said: “I think we have to open up again in some way, because otherwise the collateral damage is going to be incredible. You think about the people who live day to day … you got to get the economy going again.”

U.S. President Donald Trump last week said he wanted the economy to “open as soon as possible,” but won’t do so “until we know this country is going to be healthy.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reportedly projected that lifting stay-at-home orders, school closures and social distancing after just 30 days would lead to an infection spike this summer.

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