With all of the negativity and bad headlines surrounding the impact the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is having on U.S. markets, Blackstone Vice Chair Byron Wien says everyone needs to relax and, no, this isn’t the beginning of a bear market.
After all three major U.S. indexes fell more than 3% Monday, including a 1,031-point dip by the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the third biggest single-day decline in its history, and then another crash Tuesday, investors could use some reassurance.
And that’s what Wien delivered after he was asked whether a 5% to 10% correction was looming.
“The market was vulnerable to a 5% to 10% correction at any time. Maybe we’re getting it now. I don’t think it’s the end of the world. I think the virus will be brought under control,” Wien said this week on CNBC. “The U.S. was doing very well in spite of the virus. I think if the virus is brought under control the world economy will continue to expand.
“I think it says more about the state of the world economy,” he continued. “The world expansion was expected to be in excess of 3% before the coronavirus hit. It’s now down below 3% but … we’re still predicting world growth, not world recession. And so if the virus is brought under control and the overbought condition is corrected during the market decline, the market can proceed up again. Valuations were not crazy at the current interest rate level.”
In his yearly “Ten Surprises” column, Wien said several market corrections greater than 5% will occur this year, but the S&P 500 will ultimately finish above 3,500. Despite this week’s decline, Wien stood by his prediction. And even with Treasury yields falling to record lows and gold hitting seven-year highs this week, Wien reiterated he doesn’t think this is the end of the record long bull market run.
“I think what we’re seeing is a correction in an ongoing positive market. It’s not the beginning of a bear market. It’s a serious correction related to a fundamental development,” Wien said. “The fundamental development will be corrected ultimately, and the market will resume its previous direction, which was positive.”