Research / BFI Working PaperAug 04, 2020

Coronavirus: Impact on Stock Prices and Growth Expectations

Niels J. Gormsen, Ralph Koijen

We use data from the aggregate stock and dividend futures markets to quantify how investors’ expectations about economic growth evolve across horizons in response to the new coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and subsequent policy responses until July 2020. Dividend futures, which are claims to dividends on the aggregate stock market in a particular year, can be used to directly compute a lower bound on growth expectations across maturities or to estimate expected growth using a forecasting model. We show how the actual forecast and the bound evolve over time. As of July 20, our forecast of annual growth in dividends points to a decline of 8% in both the US and Japan and a 14% decline in the EU compared to January 1. Our forecast of GDP growth points to a decline of 2% in the US and Japan and 3% in the EU. The lower bound on the change in expected dividends is -17% in the US and Japan and -28% in the EU at the 2-year horizon. News about fiscal stimulus around March 24 boosts the stock market and long-term growth but did little to increase short-term growth expectations. Expected dividend growth has improved since April 1 in all geographies.


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