The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

The Next Black Swan?

02/14/2020

The most common question over the last few weeks is how is the coronavirius going to impact the stock market?  The obvious answer is nobody knows, of course.  But, the history of this great country is that major problems develop, get resolved, and then we keep growing.  That history is why advisors recommend clients stay 100% invested 100% of the time.

In 2007, just prior to the Great Recession, a prescient book was written by Nassim Nicholas Taleb entitled The Black Swan:  The Impact of the Highly Improbable.  Such events are (1) always unexpected, (2) always more severe than reasonable, and (3) perfectly predictable – in hindsight.  The following year, certain derivatives unexpectedly “blew-up” both the stock market and the economy, becoming the only GREAT recession, details of which had been clearly laid out in numerous corporate and government filings beforehand.

So, is the coronavirus the next Black Swan?  On Wall Street at record highs, that would be very unexpected . . .

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