The Future Beyond Coronavirus

March 24, 2020 () –

In the week of March 16-20, those five days arguably felt like five years. All three major stock market indices—Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq—saw their worst weekly performance since 2008. New York, California and Illinois shut down businesses and ordered more than 70 million residents to stay home (since March 20, 14 more states have issued similar orders). As North America is feeling the full impact of coronavirus, we are certain to face many more challenges in the weeks and months ahead.

While the news can seem overwhelming, it’s no reason to despair.

Analysts, experts and economists are assessing the situation day by day, making projections about the economy and what the future holds for individual sectors and businesses. But they are also providing insights into what the path forward could look like based on the first signs of recovery around the world.

In a March 15 interview with Face the Nation, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said China appears to be recovering, noting 80% of employees are back to work after social distancing and separation was an issue in January. “I'm talking about clients of ours who employ [workers], have factories in China are back -- 60, 70, 80%, which is good news because the supply chain of goods is there."

Motley Fool’s Jeremy Bowman also weighed in, noting “China's economy isn't likely to make a full recovery for at least several months” but “life has begun to return to normal,” citing some stores and schools reopening, as well as factories starting back up. While he thinks the U.S. economy is likely to “follow in a similar trajectory to China's,” he warned the shock could be worse as the American economy relies more on consumer spending.

Even as the outbreak seems to be battering the rest of the world, some sectors are holding steady, even thriving as they continue to serve millions of people who are suddenly homebound. For example, Moody’s listed grocery stores and packaging as sectors that will survive relatively unscathed. As for the goods that consumers are reaching for, Bloomberg Intelligence found that it’s not just packaged foods like canned meat but “comfort foods,” as Mondelez reported a jump in sales for its sweets and snacks. Meat shouldn’t be ignored, however, as Motley Fool’s Lee Samaha named Hormel Foods a stock to buy during the crisis. Samaha added that the near-term shift from consumers dining out to buying groceries could become a longer-term behavior change.

These are just a few of the bright spots that have appeared in the last week amidst overwhelming uncertainty. At Industry Intelligence, we have always provided decision makers an edge when strategizing for the future in both good times and bad. With our daily IMPACT report that focuses on the coronavirus crisis, we are even more committed to providing that added visibility to help you navigate these unprecedented times.

Sandy Yang is the inSight editor for Industry Intelligence, which can help YOU better address your own industry challenges. To arm yourself with the latest market intelligence, contact ClientCare@IndustryIntel.com or call 310-553-0008 if you’re interested in receiving or sharing the IMPACT report with colleagues or partners.

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