Investing has become a game of chicken in the eyes of some investors. Has COVID-19 become a buying opportunity? Have we seen the bottom, or is the worst yet to come? It’s hard to make any solid predictions in this unfamiliar territory – investment markets have experienced a health crisis rather than being undone by poor fundamentals, such as in the global financial crisis. Those investors looking for ideas could consider the following.
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1. The essentials
Some sectors are largely able to continue normal operations, even in crisis situations. Humans still need basic supplies and services to live, meaning that consumer staples continue to see demand, while infrastructure such as energy suppliers or telecommunications continue to need to operate. In the current situation, telecommunications have been particularly essential with much of the population needing to work from home. Investors could look at an ETF like ETFS Global Core Infrastructure ETF (ASX code: CORE) to access global infrastructure.
2. Defensive assets
Uncertain times can make for volatile markets. Some investors may seek to include defensive assets which may be less correlated to equity market performance, such as precious metals like gold or silver. Gold in particular has been used as a safe haven asset in the past for its low and at times negative correlation to other asset classes. Investors can access precious metals through ETFs like ETFS Physical Gold (ASX code: GOLD) or ETFS Physical Silver (ASX code: ETPMAG).
3. Long-term megatrends
Those investors looking beyond the current activity could consider megatrends, some of which have accelerated during the pandemic. Trends such as ecommerce or online entertainment, falling under the megatrend for virtual connectivity and digitisation, have experienced spikes as citizens in lockdown have become attuned to their availability and convenience. Investors seeking companies which focus on this theme can consider an ETF like ETFS FANG+ ETF (ASX code: FANG) which includes companies like Amazon and Netflix.
Biotechnology may be a longer-term trend but it is also particularly topical at the moment in the hunt for vaccines and a cure for COVID-19. The ETFS S&P Biotech ETF (ASX code: CURE) accesses this trend and offers exposure to some of the key players currently working against the virus, including Gilead, Regeneron and Moderna.