COVID-19: Event Timeline

The coronavirus pandemic has created significant disruptive events for the global economy, public and private businesses, investors, and professional valuation experts. With a core focus on impacts in the U.S., VRC has compiled the following timeline from January 2, 2020, to the trading week ending May 29, 2020, to identify key events of the health and financial crises.

As needed, VRC will continue to deliver monthly updates as we are particularly mindful of our clients’ and partners’ needs as they must identify key triggering events for financial reporting purposes. Having this information at hand will become paramount as we work with clients to prepare valuations in the coming weeks and months to determine information that was considered “known or knowable” as of a given valuation date.

How COVID-19 Virus Events Impacted the S&P 500

Consumers, investors, and the markets largely ignored news of the virus outbreak in January 2020. But during February and March, it seemed to become the sole focus since the market’s first plunge on February 23, 2020, from its early record highs. As fears and news about the virus continued, the market lows of March developed into a bear market hitting its trough on March 23, 2020, when the S&P 500 index fell to its low of 2,237.40—a drop of 34%. Overall, March 2020 was a record-making market, down 12.5% for the month, seeing the third-worst one-day market decline on March 16 (down 12%), and going down as the 19th worst month in history. To help put this into perspective, the worst one-day market decline of the S&P 500 was on October 19, 1987—Black Monday—down 20.5%, and the second-worst was on October 28, 1929, down 12.3%.

In concert with an emotional socially-distanced society, investor sentiment also seemed to oscillate between ups and downs throughout April. This likely points toward the optimism found in measures from the U.S. government and its agencies, including signing the CARES Act into Law on March 27, followed by April’s establishment of the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loan, Main Street Lending Program, Health Care Enhancement Act, among many others (detailed in our timeline.) April closed strong with an 18% rally.

May has continued on an optimistic path, and the volatility of the virus seems to have started to calm, but it hasn’t necessarily gone away. A major theme across the U.S. is one of a slowly but surely reopening economy, with businesses at the end of May across all 50 states in some stage of reopening. More glimmers of light are also on the horizon with Johns Hopkins reporting a steady decline in late May’s five-day moving average of new positive COVID-19 cases, which were approximately 34,000 a day in April and 22,000 per day at the end of May. In the early days of June, cases have continued trending downward.

The month’s most important news may have come from two public companies reporting productive trials of vaccine candidates. This news may have been the delivery of hope the market needs to continue ticking upwards since experts say that normalizing the U.S. economy hinges on a vaccine that hopefully becomes available for widespread use in late 2020 or early 2021. In all, May closed on a higher note with the S&P 500’s second straight monthly advance, possibly pointing toward relentless investor optimism for an eventual economic recovery.

A Timeline of COVID-19 Impacts on the S&P 500

Timeline: A Progression of COVID-19 Events and Market Events

Viewing the information contained within the interactive timeline can be adjusted and searched using the list entries and search fields provided just above the table. You may also advance the timeline using the <Next> and <Previous> page controls at the base of the table. Additional resource links are also provided below for your convenience. For more information about valuation impacts as a result of COVID-19-related disruptions, we welcome you to visit our COVID-19 Resource Center.

DateEventsS&P 500 Index PriceS&P % ChangeDJIA
Index Price
DJIA % ChangeVIX
Index Price
VIX % Change
Dec 31, 20193,230.780.00%28,538.440.00%13.780.00%
Jan 2, 20203,257.850.84%28,868.801.16%12.47-9.51%
Jan 3The World Health Organization (WHO) announces a cluster of unknown pneumonia cases in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. Investigations by the WHO begin to identify the cause of the mystery illness.3,234.850.13%28,634.880.34%14.021.74%
Jan 63,246.280.48%28,703.380.58%13.850.51%
Jan 73,237.180.20%28,583.680.16%13.790.07%
Jan 8The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issues an official Health Advisory indicating close monitoring of a cluster of unknown pneumonia cases, some of which are critically ill, in Wuhan City. The advisory notes no deaths have been reported and no health care providers have been reported as ill. The CDC alert also notes issuance of a level 1 travel notice to "practice usual precautions" for the destination.3,253.050.69%28,745.090.72%13.45-2.39%
Jan 93,274.701.36%28,956.901.47%12.54-9.00%
Jan 10The Chinese state media reports the first known death from an unexplained viral pneumonia that had infected 41 patients at the time. The 61-year-old man, who also suffered from other unrelated illness, died of respiratory failure on January 9th.

The report also noted that no new infections were found as of January 3rd.
3,265.351.07%28,823.771.00%12.56-8.85%
Jan 133,288.131.78%28,907.051.29%12.32-10.60
Jan 143,283.151.62%28,939.671.41%12.39-10.09%
Jan 153,289.291.81%29,030.221.72%12.42-9.87%
Jan 163,316.812.66%29,297.642.66%12.32-10.06%
Jan 173,329.623.06%29,348.102.84%12.1-12.19%
Jan 21A man in his 30s is the first known, confirmed U.S. case of the novel coronavirus in Washington state.

As of January 21, there are 300 reported cases worldwide.
3,320.792.79%29,196.042.30%12.85-6.75%
Jan 223,321.752.82%29,186.272.27%12.91-6.31%
Jan 23Wuhan City is placed under quarantine. The order halted all public transportation, preventing any travel into or leaving the city by bus, train, and air. The next day, 10 additional Chinese cities also follow suit and as of Monday the 27th, the restrictions across these cities and more affects an estimated 50 million people. The quarantines begin amid the Chinese lunar new year - a peak travel time for approximately 3 billion people on the annual holiday - and an estimated 5 million people had left Wuhan before the city was placed on lockdown.

The WHO reports a total of 581 globally confirmed cases, 95 of which are individuals who are severely ill. 17 deaths are reported, all from Hubei Province in China.
3,325.542.93%29,160.092.18%12.98-5.81%
Jan 243,295.472.00%28,989.731.58%14.565.66%
Jan 273,243.630.40%28,535.80-0.01%18.2332.29%
Jan 283,276.241.41%28,722.850.65%16.2818.14%
Jan 29A press release from the Federal Reserve announces that during the December meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, amid a strong U.S. labor market, low unemployment, moderately paced household spending, and moderate rises in economic activity, target range for the federal funds rate will be maintained at 1-1/2 to 1-3/4%.3,273.401.32%28,734.450.69%16.3918.94%
Jan 30The WHO declares that the outbreak of the novel coronavirus is a "Public Health Emergency of International Concern."

The representatives from China report 7,711 confirmed cases, 170 deaths, and 124 recoveries from the virus. A WHO committee member also informs the group of 83 additional cases and no deaths in 18 other countries, some of which had no China travel history.

Further measures are put into place to enhance public health measures, increase communication of risk, and conduct virus screening. It is accompanied by a global advisory encouraging solidarity and cooperation to prepare for and prevent a potential onward spread of the novel coronavirus.
3,283.661.64%28,859.441.12%15.4912.41%
Jan 31The S&P 500 Index closes at 3,225.52. Marking the first lowest point of the year, -32.33 points from its close on January 2. The DJIA follows suit, closing over 600 points down and wiping out all of its January gains.3,225.52-0.16%28,256.03-0.99%18.8426.72%
Feb 33,248.920.56%28,399.81-0.49%17.9730.41%
Feb 43,297.592.07%28,807.630.94%16.0516.47%
Feb 53,334.693.22%29,290.852.64%15.159.94%
Feb 63,345.783.56%29,379.772.95%14.968.56%
Feb 73,327.713.00%29,102.511.98%15.4712.26%
Feb 103,352.093.75%29,276.822.59%15.049.14%
Feb 11To prevent inaccuracies, the WHO announces a name for the virus - COVID-19.

It also announces 42,708 confirmed cases, 1,017 persons of which have lost their lives to the virus in China. Another 393 cases and 1 death exist in 24 countries outside of China.

The WHO also announces a multilateral approach to pursue answers and research vaccines and therapeutics, while using "all available weapons to fight the virus."

A WHO spokesperson notes that there is a window of opportunity to realistically intervene and stop the outbreak because of the series of measures China has taken for its cities, including Wuhan.

The S&P 500 closes at 3,357.75, up +132.23 points since January 31st.
3,357.753.93%29,276.342.59%15.1810.16%
Feb 123,379.454.60%29,551.423.55%13.74-0.29%
Feb 133,373.944.43%29,423.313.10%14.152.69%
Feb 143,380.164.62%29,398.083.01%13.68-0.73%
Feb 18Passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship disembark after its 14-day quarantine ends off the coast of Japan. The first infected passenger disembarked the ship on January 25, and of the original passengers and crew members, 624 COVID-19 cases were confirmed, making the ship the largest outbreak outside of China.3,370.294.32%29,232.192.43%14.837.62%
Feb 19Topping two benchmarks, more than 75,000 cases of the novel coronavirus disease and over 2,000 deaths are reported, mostly in mainland China.

The S&P 500 closes at a record high of 3,386.15.
3,386.154.81%29,348.032.84%14.384.35%
Feb 203,373.234.41%29,219.982.39%15.5612.92%
Feb 213,337.753.31%28,992.411.59%17.0823.95%
Feb 243,225.89-0.15%27,960.80-2.02%25.0381.64%
Feb 253,128.21-3.17%27,081.36-5.11%27.85102.10%
Feb 263,116.39-3.54%26,957.59-5.54%27.56100.00%
Feb 272,978.76-7.80%25,766.64-9.71%39.16184.18%
Feb 28Media headlines throughout the week continue to bring news of an increasingly rapid spread of COVID-19 outside of China along with uncertainty as to how bad the crisis could get.

The U.S. Vice President leads his first meeting of the coronavirus task force.

California's public health officials report it is monitoring over 8,000 people for the virus, but emphasizes the risk to the public is low - only 33 patients test positive.

In global news, Hokkaido, Japan's northern island, declares a state of emergency to prevent the spread, urging its 5 million residents to remain inside.

The Federal Reserve issues a statement that the U.S. economy remains strong, and they are closely monitoring evolving economic developments and the risks of the coronavirus to economic activity. Fed Chairman Powell states that the Fed will "use our tools and act as appropriate to support the economy."

After a 6 day decline on Wall Street, the S&P 500 falls 4.4%, it's fastest drop from a record high into a 10%+ correction. The DJIA also plunges by 1,100 points, marking its worst day since February 2018.
2,954.22-8.56%25,409.36-10.96%40.11191.07%
Mar 2Washington state announces the first 2 U.S. deaths from COVID-19.

New York state confirms its first case of the coronavirus.
3,090.23-4.3526,703.32-6.43%33.42142.53%
Mar 3At an unscheduled meeting of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC), it lowers the Fed Funds Rate target by 50 bps, to 1 to 1 1/4%.

The last time such a rate reduction occurred was during the financial crisis and recession of 2007-2009.
3,003.37-7.04%25,917.41-9.18%36.82167.20%
Mar 4The market seems to react favorably to the FOMC announcement, climbing slightly over the initial 90 minutes of the trading day. However, the bull run is fleeting as the market moves lower, closing with hefty losses across the board.3,130.12-3.12%27,090.86-5.07%31.99132.15%
Mar 53,023.94-6.40%26,121.28-8.47%39.62187.52%
Mar 62,972.37-8.00%25,864.78-9.37%41.94204.35%
Mar 9On Sunday March 8, passengers and crew of the Grand Princess cruise docks in Oakland, CA and are placed in land-based sites for a 14-day quarantine from their voyage that began on February 21 in San Francisco. 78 individuals will test positive for the novel coronavirus during the quarantine.

Shortly after the markets open for trading, the S&P 500 takes a sharp 7% decline and a Level 1 market-wide circuit breaker is invoked. This results in a 15-minute trading halt of the U.S. equity markets. The president of the NYSE takes to Twitter explaining it "enforces a trading pause so that investors have time to absorb information, better understand what's happening in the market, and make decisions accordingly. These precautionary systems have a long history...our goal is market resiliency during times of stress."
2,746.56-14.99%23,851.02-16.42%54.46295.21%
Mar 102,882.23-10.79%25,018.16-12.34%47.30243.25%
Mar 11The WHO declares COVID-19 is a pandemic reaching a global spread of the virus to 118,000 cases in over 110 countries.

At the media briefing, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general says, "This is not just a public health crisis, it is a crisis that will touch every sector."

The WHO defines a pandemic as a global spread of a new disease and declaring the virus as such does not refer to the severity of the illness it causes.
2,741.38-15.15%23,553.22-17.47%53.90291.15%
Mar 122,480.64-23.22%21,200.62-25.71%75.47447.68%
Mar 13The U.S. President declares COVID-19 a National Emergency.

The proclamation prohibits entry to the U.S. by foreign nationals who have traveled in China, Iran, and the 26 countries of the Schengen Area of Europe in the past 14 days. To successfully contain and combat the virus in the U.S., it also sets forth quarantine measures for U.S. citizens leaving foreign nations, accelerates the need to acquire personal protective equipment (PPE), and requires hospitals to begin taking preparedness measures.
2,711.02-16.09%23,185.62-18.76%57.83319.67%
Mar 16U.S. President Trump issues public guidelines calling for Americans to limit social gatherings to no more than 10 people, avoid public dining, and to limit discretionary travel.

Over the weekend, a global COVID-19-related lockdown begins: Spain declares a 15-day state of emergency; Libya closes its airports, seaports, and border crossings for 3 weeks; air travel volume drops at least 30%, with travel bans or restrictions in place for 26 European nations, Canada, and the U.S.; France shutters all non-essential businesses.

After holding an unscheduled meeting, the FOMC announces 3 actions:
1. The federal funds target rate is lowered 100 bps to 0 to 1/4%.
2. Actions to support the flow of credit to households and businesses
3. Coordinated central bank action to enhance the provision of U.S. dollar liquidity, which also sets up swap lines with the Banks of Canada, England, Japan, the ECB, and the Swiss National Bank.

The Federal Reserve Board approves "decreasing the discount rate (the primary credit rate) at the Banks from 1-3/4% to 1/4%, effective immediately."

A 7% decline of the S&P 500 Index triggers a Level 1 market-wide circuit breaker trading halt. The Dow also drops 13%, noted as the worst dip in 30 years.
2,386.13-26.14%20,188.52-29.26%82.69500.07%
Mar 17A U.S. Presidential Executive Order is signed invoking the Defense Production Act to prioritize and allocate health and medical resources in response to the spread of COVID-19.

The Federal Reserve Board establishes a Commercial Paper Funding Facility (CPFF) to support the flow of credit to households and businesses.
2,529.19-21.72%21,237.38-25.58%75.91450.87%
Mar 18The Families First Coronavirus Response Act is signed into law providing paid sick leave, tax credits, and free COVID-19 testing; expanding food assistance and unemployment benefits; and increasing Medicaid funding.

The U.S. Treasury and IRS announce a deadline change for non-corporate tax filers to July 15, 2020, deferring any owed income up to $1 million without penalties or interest.
2,398.10-25.77%19,898.92-30.27%76.45454.79%
Mar 19California orders the first statewide "stay at home" mandatory restrictions in the U.S.

Italy surpasses China's total number of COVID-19 deaths, reporting 400+ losses of life. China reports no new infections for the previous day.

The Fed establishes temporary U.S. dollar liquidity arrangements with Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Korea, Mexico, Norway, New Zealand, Singapore, and Sweden. Intended to help alleviate strains in global U.S. dollar funding markets and mitigate effects of the strain on the credit supply to businesses and households, domestically and internationally.
2,409.39-25.42%20,087.19-29.61%72.00422.50%
Mar 20Illinois and New York announce the requirement of "stay at home" orders for its residents. Similar orders are put into place for over 20% of the U.S.

In a coordinated action, the Central Banks of the U.S., Canada, Japan, England, Switzerland, Japan, and the European Central Bank enhance liquidity through standing U.S. dollar swap line arrangements, which will continue at least through April 2020.

The Fed expands a Money Market Fund Liquidity Facility (MMLF) credit program to support credit flow to the economy. The program will make loans to eligible financial institutions secured by high-quality assets that have been purchased from tax-exempt municipal money market funds.
2,304.92-28.66%19,173.98-32.81%66.04379.25%
Mar 23The U.K. is placed on lockdown status by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The S&P 500 drops to its lowest Q1 2020 point, a -30.75% change in price from 12/31/2019. The DJIA closes 583 points lower, nearly a 35% drop since 12/31/2019.

The Fed announces a number of new emergency programs to support the economy, businesses, and households:
- Unlimited purchases of Treasury bonds, mortgage-backed securities and other corporate debt, as needed
- Programs that, together, will provide up to $300 billion in new financing
- Expand the MMLF to include a wider range of securities
- Expand the CPFF to include high-quality, tax-exempt commercial paper
- Establish a Main Street Business Lending Program to complement SBA efforts
2,237.40-30.75%18,591.93-34.85%61.59346.95%
Mar 24The International Olympic Committee and organizers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics announce the postponement of the Games to 2021.

India enters a mandated lockdown for a 21-day period.

On signs that a deal is near for a U.S. stimulus package to ease economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, the DJIA surges and closes at 20,704.91, reflecting an 11% gain. This is the largest one-day gain of the DJIA since 1933.
2447.33-24.25%20,704.91-27.45%61.67347.53%
Mar 25New York reports 21,000 positive COVID-19 cases, and represents the largest epicenter of outbreaks in the U.S. Global case counts reach over 74,000.2,475.56-23.38%21,200.55-25.71%63.95364.08%
Mar 26U.S. unemployment claims rise to over 3.2 million, the highest level of claims since 1967. Nearly all states cite the impact of the COVID-19 virus to the Department of Labor.

The U.S. leads the world in the number of positive COVID-19 cases at 81,321 and deaths of over 1,000.

The DJIA soars after a three-day rally, rapidly plunging out of and then back into a bull market, a demonstration of how volatile U.S. stocks have become as a result of COVID-19 surging through the economy. The Dow finished the day up 6.4%, or 1,351.62 points, at 22,552.17 likely as a result of the coming $2 trillion stimulus package.
2,630.07-18.59%22,552.17-20.98%61.00342.67%
Mar 27The CARES Act is signed into law (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act). It is the largest single spending bill in U.S. history, providing nearly $2 trillion in tax relief, spending, grants and capital, among other impacts, to offset the economic disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic.2,541.47-21.34%21,636.78-24.18%65.54375.62%
Mar 30The U.S. extends its "stay at home" guidelines from March 30 to April 30, 2020.2,626.65-18.70%22,327.48-21.76%57.08314.22%
Mar 31The Fed establishes the FIMA Repo Facility to help support the continued functioning of the financial markets, available beginning April 6 and continuing for at least 6 months.

Approximately 80% of the U.S. population is under some form of "stay at home" order. According to modeling by the U.S. government an estimated 100,000 to 240,000 Americans could die from the coronavirus in the weeks ahead.
2,584.59-20.00%21,917.16-23.20%53.54288.53%
Apr 1Worldwide positive cases of COVID-19 are confirmed at 922,000, with 193,000 recoveries and 46,000 deaths.

The Fed announces changes to its supplementary leverage ratio rule. The temporary adjustment is intended to ease strains on the Treasury market and is in effect until March 31, 2021.
2,470.50-23.53%20,943.51-26.61%57.06314.08%
Apr 2Unemployment insurance claims rise to over 6.6 million; once again, nearly all states cite the cause as the COVID-19 virus.2,526.90-21.79%21,413.44-24.97%50.91269.45%
Apr 3The SBA opens the processing period for the Paycheck Protection Program.2,488.65-22.97%21,052.53-26.23%46.80239.62%
Apr 6The New York Fed opens the registration process for the CPFF, beginning on April 14. The CPFF will begin funding purchase of commercial paper providing a liquidity backstop through a SPV that will purchase eligible 3-month corporate, asset-backed, and municipal commercial paper from issuers using financing provided by the NY Fed.2,663.68-17.55%22,679.99-20.53%45.24228.30%
Apr 72,659.41-17.69%22,653.86-20.62%46.70238.90%
Apr 8The city of Wuhan lifts its 76-day lockdown.2,749.98-14.88%23,433.57-17.89%43.35214.59%
Apr 9With the approval of the U.S. Treasury Secretary, the Fed announces it will provide up to $2.3 trillion in loans for economic support including:
- Term financing back by the SBA PPP
- Ensure credit flows via the Main Street Lending Program
- Expand the size and scope of the PMCCF, SMCCF, and TALF
- Establish a Municipal Liquidity Facility
2,789.82-13.65%23,719.37-16.89%41.67202.39%
Apr 132,761.63-14.52%23,390.77-18.04%41.17198.77%
Apr 14The Federal Reserve, FDIC, and OCC release an interim rule to temporarily defer real estate-related appraisals.2,846.06-11.91%23,949.76-16.08%37.76174.02%
Apr 15In less than 14 days, funding for the SBAs PPP and Economic Injury Disaster Loan is exhausted.

The Fed's Beige Book is released and notes the sharp, abrupt economic contraction across all U.S. regions.
2,783.36-13.85%23,504.35-17.64%40.84196.37%
Apr 16The White House announces its three-phase guidelines for states and local governments to begin opening up businesses and relaxing social distancing restrictions.

The Fed announces its Paycheck Protection Program Liquidity Facility is fully operational and available to provide liquidity to eligible financial institutions.
2,799.55-13.35%23,537.68-17.52%40.11191.07%
Apr 172,847.56-11.03%24,242.49-15.05%38.15176.85%
Apr 202,823.16-12.62%
23,650.44-17.13%43.83218.07%
Apr 212,736.56-15.30%23,018.88-19.34%45.41229.54%
Apr 222,799.31-13.35%23,475.82-17.74%41.98204.64%
Apr 23To mitigate daily liquidity disruptions, the Fed encourages financially healthy institutions to utilize intraday credit on both collateralized and uncollateralized bases.2,797.80-13.40%23,515.26-17.60%41.38200.29%
Apr 24The House and the Senate approve a bill to allocate an additional $320 billion into the Paycheck Protection Program.

The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act is signed into law.
2,836.74-12.20%23,775.27-16.69%35.93160.74%
Apr 272,878.48-10.90%24,133.78-15.43%33.29141.58%
Apr 28More than 1 million cases of COVID-19 are confirmed in the U.S., with the death toll climbing to more than 57,000.

Having enforced one of the world's strictest coronavirus lockdowns, Spain begins to plot its 4-phase course to reopen within 6 to 8 weeks.

Worldwide cases reach over 3 million and more than 217,000 global deaths confirmed.

In response to a reduction in processing capacities and some meat packaging and processing plants, the Defense Production Act of 1950 is invoked in the U.S. to order the continuation of processing under guidance from the CDC and OSHA to preserve the functionality of the national food supply chain.
2,863.39-11.37%24,101.55-15.55%33.57143.61%
Apr 29Based on an advance estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the real GDP falls 4.8% in the first quarter of 2020, due, in large part, to the spread of COVID-19, stay-at-home orders, and a rapid decline in consumer demand and spending.

The FOMC issues a statement that the federal funds rate will remain at its current target of 0 to 1/4%, while committing to continuing to use a full range of tools to support the U.S. economy.

At an online press conference, U.S. Fed Chair Powell said more spending will be needed from Congress to help the U.S. economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. He also warned of greater economic deterioration to come, including a double-digit jobless rate in the April employment report, to be released next week.
2,939.51-9.02%24,633.86-13.68%31.23126.63%
Apr 30The Fed expands the scope of the Main Street Lending Program for businesses including changes such as a third loan option, a lowered minimum loan size and expanding eligibility requirements.

Access is also expanded for the Paycheck Protection Program Liquidity Facility.
2,912.43-9.85%24.345.72-14.69%34.15147.82%
May 12,830.71-12.38%23,723.69-16.87%37.19169.88%
May 42,842.74-12.01%23,749.76-16.78%35.97161.03%
May 5An interim final rule is released by the Fed, FDIC, and OCC to modify the agencies' liquidity coverage ratio for the Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility and Paycheck Protection Program Liquidity Facility.2,868.44-11.22%23,883.09-16.31%33.61143.90%
May 62,848.42-11.83%23,664.64-17.08%34.12147.61%
May 72,881.19-10.82%23,875.89-16.34%31.44128.16%
May 8The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports historic unemployment and job losses, which fell by 20.5 million in April 2020 and a rise in U.S. unemployment to 14.7%.2,929.80-9.32%24,331.32-14.74%27.98103.05%
May 11Days after Germany begins to reopen the country, coronavirus infections once again begin to rise. Germany is ranked with the 7th highest number of cases globally, with 169,218 and a reported death toll of 7,395. Amid the news from abroad, more than 15 U.S. states were set to move forward with reopening procedures.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York announces that the Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility will begin purchasing exchange-traded funds on May 12.
2,930.32-9.30%24,221.99-15.13%27.57100.07%
May 12The Fed updates the eligibility criteria for borrowers and collateral for the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, ensuring business are able to continue to access credit at affordable terms.2,870.12-11.16%23,764.78-16.73%33.04139.77%
May 132,820.00-12.71%23,247.97-18.54%35.28156.02%
May 142,852.50-11.71%23,625.34-17.22%32.61136.65%
May 15Global coronavirus cases top 4.5 million, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The DJIA rose slightly, but loses more than 2% at the close of the trading week among sobering economic reports.

The U.S. Commerce Department announces a historic decline in monthly retail and food service sales, showing a decline of 16.4% from the previous month and a decline of 21.6% from April 2019.

A temporary change to the supplementary leverage ratio rule is announced by the Fed, FDIC, and OCC, to ease strains in the Treasury market.
2,863.70-11.36%23,685.42-17.01%31.89131.42%
May 18Moderna Inc. reports encouraging results from its Phase 1 human trial of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate that produced immune responses. The data remains far from inclusive, but is certainly an advancement toward slowing or preventing infection.

A majority of U.S. states begin moving forward with phased-in approaches for reopening businesses, which often vary by county and city within each state.

Italy and Spain begin significant easing of lockdown restrictions and record their lowest daily increase in deaths since March.
2,953.91-8.57%24,597.37-13.81%29.30112.63%
May 19Fed Chair Powell delivers his official statement on the Fed's response to COVID-19 and the CARES Act to the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. In his remarks, Powell offers a stark assessment of the fragility of the U.S. economy, and warns of more job losses in the coming months. Taking a cautious tone, he also explains that a full economic recovery will not be realized until the coronavirus crisis is resolved.2.922.94-9.53%24,206.86-15.18%30.53121.55%
May 20As many U.S. states with major centers of population began opening in early May, the CDC delivers guidance with updates for continuing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

More than 4.9 million cases of COVID-19 have been recorded worldwide, including at least 327,000 deaths. India experiences a surge in new cases, recording more than 5,600 in a single day. Brazil also set a record high for new, positive coronavirus cases with 19,952, bringing the total to 291,579 confirmed positive cases and 18,859 total deaths.

The WHO's director general notes the agency received more reported COVID-19 cases in the preceding 24-hours than any time since the beginning of the outbreak.
2,971.61-8.02%24,575.90-13.88%27.99103.12%
May 21Global coronavirus cases surpass 5 million as all 50 U.S. states begin reopening and easing lockdown restrictions.

Unemployment filings and jobless claims total 2.4 million in the U.S. Reports say that while levels remain elevated it is also at a declining pace from previous weeks. Total filings during the coronavirus pandemic reach 38.6 million.
2,948.51-8.74%24.474.12-14.24%29.53114.30%
May 222,955.45-8.52%24,465.16-14.27%28.16104.35%
May 26Novavax announces that it is beginning its first human trials of an experimental coronavirus vaccine. The vaccine becomes 1 of at least 10 contenders that have reached an initial human trial stage. The company expects to deliver initial results in July 2020 and, if results are promising, will move to a second expanded human study phase.2,991.77-7.40%24,995.11-12.42%28.01103.27%
May 27COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. reach a staggering milestone of more than 100,000.

The WHO declares Latin America as the new epicenter for the coronavirus pandemic.
3,036.13-6.02%25,548.27-10.48%27.62100.44%
May 28CDC data reports the total deaths in the U.S. from the coronavirus exceed 100,000 and total cases reach over 1.6 million.

In Q1 2020, the U.S. economy contracted 5%, and economists expect Q2 2020 will reflect an even sharper contraction.
3,029.73-6.22%25,400.64-10.99%28.59107.47%
May 29The S&P 500 ends May on a higher note as it closed with a second straight monthly advance, pointing possibly toward relentless investor optimism for a coming economic recovery. The DJIA also ended the week on a positive note, turning in its best week since early April.3,044.31-5.77%25,383.11-11.06%27.5199.64%

The VIX and the Virus

Often called the “fear index,” the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is a real-time market index that measures market risk and investor sentiment, representing market expectations for 30-day forward-looking volatility. The VIX is derived from the price inputs of S&P 500 index options.


Being that Q1 2020 performance of the equities markets closed with the worst performance seen since the 2007-2008 financial crisis, it stands to reason that the fear and stress has been seen in the rise of the VIX to historic highs during this same period. It also seems that as relentless investor optimism has begun bringing back a sense of normalcy to the S&P 500 and the DJIA, the VIX, too, is leveling back off, pointing to what we hope shows that the coronavirus volatility is officially well in the rearview mirror.

 

It may be prudent for us to also reflect upon the history of the VIX noting that two peaks occurred about one month apart from each other during the financial crisis – reaching 79.13 on October 20, 2008, and 72.67 on November 17, 2008.

 

A repeat of this historic wild ride of the VIX may prove to not become a possibility in the era of the coronavirus disruption. Global social distancing measures to stem the spread of the virus, the progression of vaccine candidate testing to slow or stop the spread, along with continued efforts from government actions to heal economies—even in the face of a continued rise in COVID-19 cases—may show in short order that the worst of the market upheaval has passed.

VIX vs. The Equities Markets (Mar 2-May 29, 2020 close)


Other Helpful Resources:

VRC’s COVID-19 Resource Center

FRASER, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Business Valuation Resources, COVID-19 Timeline (Nov 2019 – Mar 2020)

How the Coronavirus Pandemic Unfolded: A Timeline (The New York Times, updated as of May 26, 2020)