First Quarter 2020 – “A Great Pause”
In the first quarter, global equity markets declined dramatically from their mid-February peaks, bringing about an extraordinary end to the ten-year-plus bull market that started at the end of the Global Financial Crisis. The S&P 500, MSCI EAFE, and MSCI Emerging indices posted double-digit declines of 19.6%, 22.8%, and 23.6%, respectively, as investors reacted to the coronavirus pandemic. March was an extremely volatile month for all risk assets, as the prospect of an economic pause to mitigate the healthcare crisis became a reality in much of the world and many investors moved to the sidelines. Central banks and governments around the world took swift, unprecedented action to ease the liquidity conditions and mitigate the economic consequences of the global shutdown.