As the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus takes us into unprecedented territory, investors will have to cope with increased volatility and some big market falls.

"In modern times we haven't seen an epidemic of this scale," says Pie Funds chief executive Mike Taylor. "So for investors it's about trying to quantify what effect that will have on companies and economies."

From an investment perspective you needed to go back and focus on your underlying strategy, he said.

"Am I a long term investor or am I a trader? If you are a long term investor then you shouldn't really alter your investment strategy."

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Meanwhile the economy is taking a bigger hit than first hoped and now faces long term disruption.

"There has been significant disruption to the supply chain in China, we hear reports that some of those factories are coming back on line, but it won't be to the same level that it was."

Consumers were now changing their behaviour - most obviously around travel and tourism.

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That would have big consequences for New Zealand, Taylor said.

"It's now looking likely we will have some negative GDP which could translate into a recession, with two negative quarters."

"But the feeling is that this is related to the virus only, Taylor said. "When this virus passes which, these things tend to do - then the economy will start to get back to normal."

Changes in market volatility and changes in consumer behaviour created investment opportunities, he said.

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"The first is to look at business or stocks that have been sold off indiscriminately, you might see a company that has been sold down 15, 20 even 30 per cent. Is it really reflective of their fundamentals? Are they really going to be affected by the virus outbreak or not?"

The second way was to look at businesses that would benefit from changes in consumer behaviour.

"So broadly it might be pharmaceuticals, infrastructure spending, streaming services.

You'd look at a company like Netflix as being a beneficiary, with more people staying at home."

In fact Netflix stock was holding up well in the past week despite the big market fall on Wall Street.

Businesses that are doing home delivery of food might also see a boost.

"It will change consumer behaviour. If you are a bit worried about going to the supermarket and now it's convenient to shop online you might just make that change a permanent one."

There was a lot of guessing going on about the final impact of the virus on the world economy, Taylor said.

But the volatility was prompting central banks to take action.

We've already seen rate cuts from the US Federal Reserve, Reserve Bank of Australia and Bank of Canada.

The market expectation is that the Reserve Bank of New Zealand will cut rates later this month.

"We can confidently say that rates will stay down for a long period of time," Taylor said.

There would be some very serious stuff coming our way in the next few weeks.

"But overall the evidence suggests that this is not a life-threatening illness for the majority of healthy people and we'll get through this."

- The Market Watch video series is produced in association with Pie Funds