Will the Fed and Central Banks Step in to Stabilize the Markets?

This entire note is on the coronavirus as seems to be, of course, on everyone's mind ...

After a fairly brutal week on Wall Street, market participants breathed a quiet sigh of relief this morning with the expectation that the Fed ... and Central Banks throughout the globe ... will take steps to stabilize markets in the attempt to calm worried participants.

But will it work?

I was in Costco this weekend ... where I typically find myself on a Saturday ... and it was the most crowded I can recall seeing, outside of Christmas week. I was amazed as to how many people were piling cases of water in their carts ... as if they have become convinced that opting for "social distancing" will affect the water supply.   Of course, when I left the store, I found myself wondering if I put myself in peril by not doing the same (before I realized I could just come to the office and steal one of the water jugs we have in the kitchen).

Heck ... in my own temporary panic mode ... not being able to find hand sanitizer at Costco (they were out), I just looked for "Purell" on Amazon and the first offer seen was for a "pack of 2" 8 oz. jars ... for $56.95.   Talk about gouging! 

The concerning thing is that in times like these, what you might think irrational appears rational. 

There are, obviously, two schools of thought with the coronavirus situation.

The negative people feel that this will get much worse ... and we will become like Hong Kong is now ... so terrified that we hide at home and shut down businesses and schools (third story below).   

The positive people feel this to be a blip ... for at some point in time we will be beyond this ... for their focus is on the economy over the next many years ... and not the obstacle right in front whose height is impossible ... at the present moment ... to determine.

And me? I refuse to fill my cart with water bottles ... although I did, admittedly, get an extra three cases of beer.   

Momma didn't raise no fool.

I just hope my kid doesn't have to ask why this water substitute tastes funny.

... as of 10:59 AM today ...    

One U.S. economist has been looking over the landscape and doesn't see sunny skies ahead in the near term. Ed Hyman sees no U.S. growth over next two quarters (CNBC)

... but it, of course, is not on the U.S. that is affected. The OECD provides a warning that global economic growth can be cut in half (Forbes)

Has any area been able to contain coronavirus spread? Yes, Hong Kong ... but the citizens are basically in hibernation ... and it is greatly hurting its economy (NPR)

... and if our economy slows ... other than companies and investors ... who might get hurt? Borrowers ... especially those who are already delinquent on their car loans (USAToday)

Do you remember that CEO in Seattle who installed a minimum "living wage" among his employees and took a pay cut in the process? Here is on happy update (BBC)

I've written before as to how much I don't like the McDonalds kiosk. Now that I have temporary germophobia ... this article made me dislike it even more (MensHealth)

Related: Fear Is Driving the Financial Markets