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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Topics:  Financial Markets