Market Health

Why I’m Shrugging Off Omicron Market Concerns – and You Should Too

When the novel coronavirus descended on the U.S., I panicked.

I ran to the store, bought off-brand alcohol wipes (there was no Clorox in sight), and wiped down every surface in my house. Countertops, doorknobs, light switches, you name it.

I barely saw my family for months.

Then things improved. Vaccines came out and I breathed easier.

The news of the delta variant spooked me a little… but I knew the drill. Mask up, social distance, avoid large crowds.

When news of the omicron variant broke last month, my reaction was, “Oh, great. Another one.”

At this point, I’m numb to the fear. I’m completely desensitized to the mania that plagued us all more than a year ago.

As you can see, my reactions became increasingly measured.

And the markets have responded in the exact same way.

Time to Turn Off the Sirens

Let’s take a look at the S&P 500 Index over the last two years…

The first coronavirus crash is clear as day – a steep plunge into the red.

But the subsequent market reactions to COVID-19 variants are barely blips on the screen. In a few years’ time, we won’t be able to identify them on a long-term chart.

The market low brought on by the omicron variant didn’t even hit the low from the delta variant sell-off.

It was just a speed bump on 2021’s journey to all-time highs. And investors are still seeing record gains.

Here’s what Chief Trends Strategist Matthew Carr had to say on the volatility we saw earlier this month…

Look, we’ve been here before… The markets can get jittery over the omicron variant. But we’ve seen the consumer remain strong in the face of the pandemic, including during the emergence of previous variants.

He’s right… We’ve seen this episode before. And we know there’s no reason to be on the edge of our seats.

Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado was similarly unflappable about the emergence of the omicron variant.

A week ago, he declared that the public health emergency in his state was over.

He said…

You don’t tell people to wear a jacket when they go out in winter and force them to [wear it]… If they get frostbite, it’s their own darn fault. If you haven’t been vaccinated, that’s your choice. I respect that. But it’s your fault when you’re in the hospital with COVID.

In short, the pandemic has been going on long enough that we are no longer in a state of emergency… This is our state of being.

We can’t simply lock down and hide away every time a new threat comes to our shores.

Over the past two years, we have been given the tools we need to go about our lives safely. Businesses have been given the chance to digitalize and adapt to this new normal.

So the time for panic – both on the personal and financial fronts – is long gone.

Shake It Off

How else can I put it?

The alpha variant was a snake bite – sudden and toxic.

The delta variant was a bee sting – uncomfortable but innocuous.

And the omicron variant is a mosquito bite – pesky but forgettable.

I have no doubt that we’ll see another strain in 2022. Maybe even multiple ones.

But COVID-19 is no longer a death sentence for the markets. And the talking heads that tell you otherwise are just professional fearmongers.

Be smarter than they are. Don’t panic.

Good investing,

Rebecca

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