The stock market is very volatile amid the uncertainty around the magnitude, duration, and impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Many companies have suspended their earnings guidance and stock buybacks.
Even the most celebrated value investor, Warren Buffett, who is known for buying when the market is fearful, is not buying in the current market. Investors fear that the stock market will crash again.
While the TSX Composite Index recovered after falling 34% in March, it’s still down 10% year to date. The stock market recovered on the back of the Canadian government’s $52 billion stimulus package and $55 billion in tax deferrals.
As the business and economic environment is not driving this stock market rally, it’s not sustainable. There will be a pullback before growth — one that will lead to another stock market crash.
When does a stock market crash?
While there’s no specific definition of a market crash, when the overall stock market falls by the double digits, it’s called a crash. When there is uncertainty in the market, investors become fearful and sell their stocks in a panic, causing the stock market to crash.
The biggest stock market crash in history was during the Great Depression in 1929, and it took the market 25 years to return to pre-crash levels. Over the years, regulators, governments, and central banks learned from every crash and set a system in place to avoid the 1929-level crisis.
In the current COVID-19 turmoil, the Federal Reserve and the government have acted fast and put a stimulus package in place, minimizing the damage to the stock market. But another stock market crash is inevitable as the economy faces the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
What factors could result in another stock market crash?
The current stock market rally comes as investors are optimistic that things will normalize in the next 12 months. But five events can shatter these hopes.
- The second wave of the pandemic: Countries worldwide is gradually easing the lockdown. This easing could spark a second wave of the pandemic, as there is no vaccine in place yet. A second lockdown could lead to another stock market sell-off, as investors would want to hoard cash to survive the lockdown.
- Stimulus package: The current stock market rally has priced-in stimulus packages like unemployment benefits, and rent and loan deferrals. The government has extended these stimulus packages from June to August, but it can’t continue this support forever. When it removes these packages, businesses and individuals will struggle to pay salaries, rent, mortgages, and loans.
- Increase in defaults: Many companies and individuals have taken loans to pay for their daily expenses. As the government lifts stimulus packages, they may default on their payments. If the magnitude of the defaults is higher than anticipated, banks could face solvency risks more significant than the 2008 crisis. Then the government will have to bail out banks.
- Unemployment: Many companies will go bankrupt and others will cut costs to survive. This could lead to more job cuts. On the individual front, more members of a family will seek jobs to meet their expenses and pay off their debt. All this will mean increased unemployment, negatively impacting the economy.
- Looming recession: All of the above factors will push the economy into recession.
What should you do?
It is difficult to time the second stock market crash, but you can prepare for it. Do not sell your good investments in panic, as the market will recover gradually. Invest in cash-rich stocks that have recurring revenue and are resilient to a downturn.
Enghouse Systems (TSX:ENGH) and Constellation Software (TSX:CSU) are resilient to a market event because of their diversified consumer base and product portfolio. They acquire companies that offer mission-critical software to niche vertical markets. The majority of their revenue is recurring in nature and comes from maintenance service and software subscriptions.
They have low overhead costs, which means their EBITDA margins keep improving with economies of scale. Enghouse and Constellation have $168 million and $216 million in net cash, respectively, giving them sufficient liquidity to withstand the crisis and undertake acquisition opportunities.
If you own these two stocks, don’t sell them in panic, as they have strong growth potential. They are also good buys in a market crash.
Check below the list of other fundamentally strong companies that are good buys in a market crash.
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Fool contributor Puja Tayal has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Constellation Software. The Motley Fool recommends Enghouse Systems Ltd.
COVID-19 medical coverage now available even though Canadians advised to avoid international travel – CBC.ca
Canadians yearning to travel abroad — despite the COVID-19 pandemic — can now get medical insurance to cover costs if they get sick with the coronavirus while travelling.
In March, when the virus began its global spread and Canada advised against non-essential travel abroad, travel insurance providers stopped selling COVID-19 medical coverage.
Now, several insurance providers have resumed offering the coverage along with their regular travel insurance plans.
Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing and travel agency Flight Centre have also joined in, offering free COVID-19 medical coverage to passengers booking certain international flights and vacation packages.
Travel insurance broker Martin Firestone said he’s surprised by the spate of offers — considering Canada’s advisory against international travel remains intact due to the ongoing pandemic.
“Your country is now currently under a Level 3 travel advisory, and you’ve got airlines enticing people with free medical coverage,” said Firestone with Travel Secure in Toronto.
“Whether you have coverage or not, you may be in a very precarious position with [available] hospital beds and treatment and the ability to be flown back to Canada.”
Many companies providing COVID-19 coverage told CBC News they’re responding to consumer demand.
“People are looking to travel,” said Richard Job, Flight Centre’s vice-president of commercial partnership. “They are able to travel if they want to, and we just want to enable that to take place as safely as we can.”
International travellers returning to Canada must self-isolate for 14 days.
WATCH | The future of air travel:
Who’s offering coverage?
Manulife announced this week it will start offering the coverage in October.
The plans vary. For example, not all providers cover daily expenses if an infected traveller is forced to quarantine abroad.
Each company said it offers medical coverage for all ailments, including COVID-19, for up to $5 million — with the exception of Manulife, which has capped COVID-19 coverage at $200,000.
Manulife declined to comment on the cap.
Airline industry offering free coverage
Flight Centre and the airlines are providing free coverage only for COVID-19 illnesses and related expenses, such as accommodation costs while being quarantined. The offers are available for a limited time — ranging from the next seven months to a year.
Customers booking vacation packages with Flight Centre, Air Canada Vacations and WestJet to select destinations — which exclude the United States — are covered for up to $100,000 in medical bills. WestJet provides the same coverage for international flights, excluding the U.S.
Sunwing will cover up to $200,000 in COVID-19 medical expenses for passengers booking any of its vacation packages and flights departing on or after Oct. 16. Air Canada (which is separate from Air Canada Vacations) currently provides the same $200,000 coverage for customers purchasing international fights, including to the U.S.
Although the Canada-U.S. land border is closed to non-essential traffic, Canadians can still fly to the U.S.
Firestone questions if $200,000 would be enough to cover a severe case of COVID-19 in the U.S., where medical costs can run high.
“What if the bill is $500,000?” he said. “Then it becomes your problem.”
Manulife, which is partnering with Air Canada to provide the coverage, declined to comment.
Air Canada said that passengers wanting extra protection can consider purchasing an extensive travel insurance plan.
What about snowbirds?
Medipac’s main customers are snowbirds heading to the southern U.S. where the COVID-19 infection rate remains high. But the insurance provider said it’s confident it won’t be bombarded with COVID-19 claims, because Medipac’s clientele will likely play it safe.
“The people that we’re tailoring our product to are going to do what they’ve always done, travel down as a couple, go to their winter residence,” said Medipac spokesperson Christopher Davidge.
“We’re not talking about cramming into a discount airline … and staying at a resort hotel and going to a theme park.”
Snowbird Perry Cohen said he and his wife, Rose, plan to take all necessary precautions when they likely head to their condo this winter in Deerfield Beach, Fla., near Fort Lauderdale.
“Our community is pretty safe,” said Cohen, who lives in Toronto. “We’re not going to look for large crowds. We’re not running to the bars and the restaurants.”
Even so, Cohen said COVID-19 coverage is a game changer because he and his wife would never consider heading south if they couldn’t purchase it.
“Why take the risk?” he said. “I like a complete package to know I’m looked after.”
Cases ‘going up again’
But not all eager travellers will be swayed by COVID-19 coverage.
Avid international traveller Suzanne Chojnacki said she and her husband will stay put for now because they still have many concerns — such as getting stuck abroad if the country they’re visiting suddenly closes its borders.
“The [COVID-19 case] numbers are going up again,” said Chojnacki who lives in Richmond Hill, Ont. “So it’s really not a good time to think about going away — for us.”
Current plans offering travellers COVID-19 coverage don’t include compensation if a customer cancels a trip due to the pandemic. Firestone said that’s because cancellation insurance typically covers unexpected mishaps, not a “known” issue such as the coronavirus.
“It’s just so known, it’s not even funny.”
Some airlines are now offering free COVID-19 insurance – CTV Toronto
Many people don’t feel safe flying amid the COVID-19 pandemic and there are still government warnings in place against non-essential travel.
That is why airlines are now offering free COVID-19 insurance coverage.
But at least one travel expert says that may not be enough of a reason to book a flight anytime soon.
Martin Firestone, the president of Travel Secure, said, “I think insurance companies are looking to get back some lost sales that don’t exist right now and the airlines are of course looking for business.”
Taking a flight is more stressful these days with social distancing, mandatory temperature checks and having to wear a mask for the duration of a flight.
Now as summer comes to an end this is the time of year that many Canadians plan vacations to Mexico, Cuba and other parts of the Caribbean, but due to COVID-19 many travelers may opt to stay home this winter.
In an effort to try filling seats, Air Canada and WestJet are now offering free COVID-19 insurance coverage on some flights of up to $100,000 and Manulife has announced it will roll out a COVID-19 policy in October that will provide up to $200,000 in coverage.
The coverage for someone testing positive for COVID-19 would pay for emergency hospital and medical costs, quarantine accommodations and transportation home via ambulance or air ambulance.
Firestone said people need to realize that if they get a serious case of COVID-19 while travelling in another country and are hospitalized and on a ventilator for weeks, the costs could add up to much more than the coverage currently being offered.
“A claim upward of a half a million dollars is a possibility and the insurance company’s exposure may be capped at $100,000 to $200,000. Who is going to pay the rest? That would be the consumer,” said Firestone.
Firestone said COVID-19 insurance policies come at a time when borders to the U.S. remain closed and the Canadian government continues to warn against non-essential travel.
“I think this is a marketing plan that someone has devised, but a lot of thought has not really gone into it, because it totally goes against the government’s position on travel at this time,” Firestone added.
Many Canadians will be tempted to book vacations to sunny destinations as the cold weather arrives, but Firestone said until travel advisories are lifted and there is a vaccine people may want to stay put.
“The next two or three months I’m suggesting to hold tight and stay home,” Firestone said.
Even though some airlines are including free COVID-19 insurance coverage that is not the same as travel medical insurance. If you book a trip you still need to pay for that yourself in case something else happens while you’re away.
B.C. RCMP reminds Tesla owners not to push limits with automation feature – News 1130
SURREY (NEWS 1130) — B.C. Mounties are reminding Tesla owners not to test the autonomous driving feature on our roads.
On Thursday, the RCMP said they had charged a man from B.C. with dangerous driving after an officer pulled over a speeding Tesla on a central Alberta highway that appeared to be driving itself in July.
According to the RCMP, the car appeared to be travelling over 140 km/h and both front seats were completely reclined and two people in the car appeared to be sleeping.
“…but if they’re caught napping behind the wheel, it’s drive without due care at a very minimum, and as high up as a criminal charge for dangerous driving.” #bctransportation
— Ria Renouf (@riarenouf) September 18, 2020
Cpl. Mike Halskov, with BC RCMP’s traffic services, says if you’re thinking of doing the same and testing out the autopilot system in your Tesla, please think again.
“I don’t think anyone should rely 100 per cent on any automated systems that are equipped with some vehicle. They’re not foolproof. And that is why steering wheels are still in vehicles, even the ones with automated systems in it because there does need to be the human component,” he says.
In the case of the Tesla in Alberta, a 20-year-old is accused of speeding and dangerous driving and has a court date in October.
While each traffic stop is different, Halskov says there are penalties under our Motor Vehicle Act you could face in B.C.
“If somebody is testing their automated systems and they’re taking liberty with the Motor Vehicle Act … [by] excessive speed or whatever the case may be, certainly those tickets would apply,” he says.
I spoke w/Cpl. Mike Halskov who says as far as he knows, no one has been ticketed for a similar offence involving autonomous driving. He’s hoping it stays that way.
— Ria Renouf (@riarenouf) September 18, 2020
So for Tesla owners thinking of testing the feature, Halskov adds “You’re putting yourself and your passengers and the motoring public in harm’s way by doing so, and the outcome can be tragic for you and or other people, and obviously we don’t want that to happen.”
“So don’t rely 100 per cent on your automated systems in your car if you do have them. There does need to be driver input and the driver does need to be paying attention to what’s happening and have their hands on the wheel and providing some input where it may be required.”
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