Trading Update / COVID-19

Gosh, where to start? Regular followers of the blog will have noticed a lack of posts. The reasons are probably obvious, but for the benefit of anyone reading this in the far flung future (if anyone is still around then), this is the time the world is gripped by a global pandemic. Some people are taking Coronavirus / COVID-19 / SARS-CoV-2 more seriously than others. Everyone is going to have to take it seriously when it hits close to them, and it will…

The Walsh household has been in enforced lockdown for more than a week. We haven’t left the house in about ten days. Clearly any semblance of daily routine has gone out of the window.

Our priority first and foremost is staying safe. Even if we ourselves are fit and healthy and not at particular risk should we contract the novel Coronavirus, we do not want to risk spreading it to others. Lockdown is good. Everyone should be doing it.

Then there is the small matter of our schools being closed. Mrs W and I are both engaged in home schooling our youngest. Our school was given half an hour notice of its impending closure. They have done an amazing job in the circumstances, and our youngest’s teacher has been keeping everyone busy and motivated through emailed lesson plans and shared activities. She’s acting as a one-woman micro-social network, running a virtual classroom as best she can with limited resources, preparation, and time (she has her own kids to home school as well).


So what about trading? This is a difficult subject. Not because the markets are crashing. Well actually yes, because they are crashing. But not for the reason a non-trader might think. Lots of my friends have been in touch, their messages always along the lines of, “Harvey, we’ve seen what’s going on with the stock market. Are you going to be okay?”

It’s understandable. People see graphs that look like ski slopes and immediately assume anyone involved in trading for a living must be devastated. They assume I’ve been wiped out.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

I’m a day trader, not an investor. All the value that’s being wiped off the markets has to go somewhere, and the fact is a lot of it is going into the accounts of day traders. Daily profits are, well, off the charts. There has not been a more insanely profitable time for day trading since the financial crash of 2008. Volatility equals opportunity, and it’s hard to overstate how much opportunity is around right now. Everywhere you look there is more money to be made more quickly than at any time in recent memory.

So what’s difficult about that? It’s that uncomfortable feeling that we’re making money off other people’s misfortune. I’ll be honest, I don’t feel too bad about it. Most of the “people” losing money are wealthy investors. But there are undoubtedly pension funds, hedge funds, tracker funds and the like that are losing out too, and that means normal hard-working savers taking a hit. The world is in enough of a crisis without having to worry about money as well.

This is why I’ve not been posting charts (that and the lack of available time, for the aforementioned reasons). It feels wrong to post enormously profitable charts when all around people are losing their livelihoods.

I’m insanely lucky. I already work from home. Self-isolation is virtually situation normal. Apart from having to take time out to take over teaching duties (and let’s be honest, that should be seen as a privilege not a chore), and apart from not getting out to do the shopping, being at home is not a constraint. To post charts showing ever increasing profits while people cannot get out to work, or are being laid off, would be in bad taste.


The rest of 2020 is going to be unlike any year almost anyone alive today can remember. We’re just at the start of this thing. Until a vaccine is generally available, which is at best likely to be a year from now, we’re all going to have to adjust. Rolling lockdowns are likely. Stay-cations will be on the cards for summer. A week in self-isolation and already it looks weird to me to see people in large groups on the television. Regular life is on hold until further notice.

Rather than worry about the negatives, we need to focus on the positives. More time with family is good. The planet is getting a breather from decades of our mistreatment. Nations are coming together in a time of crises.

When this is all over, and it will be, we’ll have a genuinely once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rebuild our global society for the better. Will we take that opportunity and create a more caring, sharing, compassionate world? Probably not if history is anything to go by, but at least we can hope.

I wish everyone reading this good health and good fortune. Wash your hands. Stay indoors. Be sensible. Be safe.