While many investors are worried that several conflicts around the globe will mean disaster for stocks, Kenneth Fisher says history offers a different lesson.
“War is terrible and tragic, but history shows regional conflicts don’t knock stocks much,” Fisher writes for Interactive Investor. “They’re usually too short and cover too small a piece of the world economy to whack commerce and earnings globally. It takes massive, global to sink stocks. Most skirmishes in modern market history — even those involving major powers like America and Britain — haven’t had significant global economic impact. Today’s conflicts, though catastrophic for people impacted directly, should prove no different.”
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Fisher says a regional conflict has never ended a bull market. “They’ve brought volatility — normal as fear builds as conflict nears — but it usually fades fast,” he says. “Sometimes conflict is avoided at the eleventh hour. Other times bullets fly but investors realise the skirmish lacks scope — terrible as war is for those directly involved, life goes on everywhere else. Business doesn’t stop. Trade doesn’t stop. This is a relief for stocks.”
Fisher looks at several historical examples of how markets have bounced back swiftly after war-related declines. “Barring a major and unlikely World War III-like escalation, today’s conflicts don’t have the necessary scope to derail global trade and this bull market,” he writes. “Iraq is only 0.3% of global GDP. Ukraine is only 0.2%. Now isn’t the time to fear a meltdown, whether due to conflict or any other reason headlines hype. There are too many things driving this bull market forward for it to end now — this is the time for a melt-up.”