3 Hedges Against the Coronavirus Crisis
It may be weeks or months until the full impact of the coronavirus outbreak is known. The Chinese government has moved swiftly to contain its spread. However, there still may be millions of infected people that have not yet displayed symptoms of the virus.
Many investors are wondering how they can hedge their portfolios against the possibility of a global pandemic. As I explained last week, a prolonged slowdown in China’s economy could reverberate throughout the global economy.
In a moment, I’ll show you three ways to protect your portfolio against such an event. Barring a repeat of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, the stock market should quickly recover once this outbreak of the coronavirus has been extinguished.
For that reason, I do not recommend taking extreme actions such as selling all your stocks. Instead, here are three proactive moves you can make to protect your investment portfolio from the economic risks associated with the virus. Each one is inexpensive to implement and easy to transact through your broker.
In the days following the initial spread of the virus, oil prices fell more than 5%. That’s because consumption of energy is highly correlated to economic activity. If China’s gross domestic product (GDP) is adversely impacted by the virus, the GDPs of most nations in the developed world will also take a hit.
A simple way to benefit from decreasing demand for energy is buying ProShares UltraShort Oil & Gas (DUG).
DUG is an exchange-traded fund (ETF) designed to move twice as far in the opposite direction of oil prices. Last week, the price of oil dropped below $53 a barrel, its lowest level in over three months.
In the past two weeks, DUG jumped 10% in value as news of the coronavirus gradually emerged. However, it is still 40% below its peak price from four years ago when the price of a barrel of oil bottomed out near $30.
While oil was on the decline last month, the price of gold ticked above $1,590 per ounce to reach its highest level in seven years. However, that is still far below its peak price of more than $2,000 achieved in August 2011.
Few countries still adhere to a gold standard for their currencies. However, gold is still universally regarded as a hedge against fluctuations in the value of the U.S. dollar. It is also viewed as a store of value that can be relied upon during times of global upheaval.
The ProShares Ultra Gold (UGL) ETF is a cheap and easy way to participate in rising gold prices. This fund is designed to move twice as much in the same direction as the price of gold. Last week, UGL increased 3% in value while the stock market fell by a similar amount.
The ETFs described above should provide short-term portfolio protection against the coronavirus. However, if the coronavirus is not quickly contained, there will be a need for a cure to treat current victims and a vaccine to prevent further spread.
You can make a sweeping bet on the entire biotech sector by owning the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB).
Surprisingly, this fund’s share price fell last week while fear of the coronavirus rose. Presumably, the stock market does not yet believe that this outbreak will result in the need for a new treatment. But if it does, the fund could quickly spike in value.
Editor’s Note: Our colleague Jim Pearce just put a spotlight on a global health crisis. But did you know that there’s a new cure for the most common affliction that hurts older Americans? This affliction isn’t the coronavirus. Nor is it cancer, Alzheimer’s, or diabetes.
One in five adults suffer from this affliction. That’s around 50 million in the U.S. alone. And until recently, all of the treatments had MAJOR side effects. (In fact, they’re about to become illegal.) Which means the one biotech stock tied to this new cure for chronic pain could quickly skyrocket by as much as 4,450% or more.
You’ve probably never heard of the company. Wall Street analysts are ignoring it. But our investment experts have uncovered this hidden biotech gem and now’s the time to invest. You need to act quickly, before the rest of the investment herd catches on and bids the share price sky high. Click here for details.