The spread of coronavirus is bad enough, but what will be more significant in the short term for investors will be the public perception of the virus and its effects, especially on market prices. The more instability is believed to exist with the virus, whether or not actually true or not, will directly correlate with price stability or decreases as panicked investors try to sell in anticipation of the worst. This works out well for investors, who can ‘buy the dip’ and profit after the virus incident blows over, because based on fundamentals, this will be another SARS-like incident- something that incites public fear and anxiety, and good for market buying.
Something that may stoke such fears are threats of more serious consequences, such as what has compelled people in Taiwan to wait in kilometer-long lines for face masks.
As more local governments on the mainland (including Beijing and Wuhan) mandate that facemasks be worn at all times, price gouging throughout Asia and even in certain parts of the US has become extremely common. Locals say Chinese everywhere are snapping up masks and mailing them to family in the mianland.
Of course, stores around China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau can’t get their hands on more facemasks fast enough (Japan is reportedly preparing a shipment to assist the Chinese government). As a result, lines outside shops and factories are growing to a staggering degree.
One line outside a factory in in Changhua City reportedly stretched for more than a kilometer (0.62 miles) (source)
Some things just stay the same always.