Weekend reads: Why you might have to wait three years for new highs in the stock market

Despite word from China and South Korea that the pace of new coronavirus infections is slowing, dire predictions have shaken financial markets this week. But all previous stock-market crashes have led to recoveries, some much longer than others, followed by record highs.

Through Thursday, March 12, the benchmark S&P 500 Index SPX, +9.28% had fallen 27% from its record intraday high Feb. 19. This is obviously a difficult time for even the most patient and committed investor, and Warren Buffett says he has never seen anything like it.

Leaving the travails of professional investors and day-traders aside, it can help to point out to younger investors who haven’t lived through bear markets that if they are making regular contributions to retirement accounts, they are paying lower prices with contributions during down periods, which will benefit them when the market eventually recovers.

Mark Hulbert looks back at the history of bear markets going back to 1900, to come up with an average recovery time, pointing to how long it may take before we see new highs for U.S. stocks.

Related:Here’s how long bear markets usually last.

The wrong-headed flu argument

You’ve no doubt seen the statistics showing that thousands of Americans die from the flu each year, with writers wondering why the great majority of people don’t get flu shots. Those reports typically take a dismissive tone, concluding that people are overreacting to the rapid spread of the coronavirus. Quentin Fottrell skewers those arguments and hundreds of readers leave thoughtful comments.

Here’s what some hospitals are doing to get ready for an influx of coronavirus patients.

The data worsens:This epidemiologist is more worried about coronavirus than he was a month ago.

Cancel your flights

Jacob Passy digs into the details about health and financial risks to travelers as COVID-19 coronavirus infections continue to increase in the U.S., including how easy or difficult it is to get a refund from an airline, hotel or tour operator if you can cancel a flight.

Read:CDC warns Americans about traveling within the U.S.

This does more to prevent the spread of viruses than disinfectants

Here’s the science.

Testing and quarantine:

• How much does it cost to get tested for the coronavirus?

• How do I self-quarantine?

You need to take care of yourself

As the coronavirus spreads, you are no doubt thinking constantly about the risks to your health, to your loved ones and to your finances, but you also need to be careful not to let panic overwhelm you. Elisabeth Buchwald offers 10 things you can do right now instead of losing your head about the Dow or coronavirus.

The epic oil story

William Watts narrates the events that led to a 24% decline in the price of oil over the course of four trading sessions. Claudia Assis outlines reactions from analysts and steps oil producers have been taking to limit their risk.

Tech stocks ‘on sale’

Kevin Landis, the portfolio manager of the Firsthand Technology Opportunities Fund TEFQX, +1.62%, recommends buying discounted shares of “next-generation” technology companies.

More on tech:The supply chain is recovering from coronavirus, but beware a relapse.

Don’t forget dividend stocks

Dan Peris of Federated Hermes is now buying shares of strong companies whose dividend yields have increased considerably as index-fund selling has caused nearly every S&P 500 stock to slide over the past month. Here’s a screen of solid dividend payers in his recommended sectors.

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