It was a grueling first quarter as sovereign nations, financial markets and economies across the globe grappled with the unprecedented public health crisis of COVID-19. Markets gyrated wildly as the S&P 500 descended from its late February highs into a bear market (a decline of at least 20%) in just 16 days, the fastest pace on record. The index recorded its 3rd worst single day drop ever on March 16th, followed by its 9th best day ever on March 24th. The first quarter of 2020 was the worst quarter in the S&P 500 since the final three months of 2008, when the index slumped -22.6%. In short, the first quarter of the year was a wild ride in almost every major asset class.
For many, last week’s religious holidays may have felt more protracted than in the past as social distancing and the familiar “stay-at-home” mantra brought new twists with family (still) all under one roof. This week, the markets were back to being open for the full week. Below is a summary of market activity.