Billionaire investor Paul Tudor Jones on Thursday said that America will beat the deadly coronavirus pandemic, while sharing his own personal narrative, noting that his daughter contracted the illness recently and has since recovered.
”We are going to quash it and send it back to the oblivion from where it came from” Jones told CNBC during a Thursday morning interview, cautioning that people are “prone to hype things to beyond what they are,” referring to the infectious disease that was first identified in Wuhan, China in December and has infected nearly a half a million people and claimed more than 22,000 lives, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, as of Thursday.
“We’ve got to be careful not to mythologize this into the pandemic Godzilla,” he said. “We can beat this thing,” he added.
‘We’ve got to be careful not to mythologize this into the pandemic Godzilla.’
Jones said that his daughter, who is in her mid 20s, contracted the illness but has since recovered. “I’ve seen first hand the impact” of COVID-19, the legendary investor said, noting that his daughter had “nothing more than a mild case.”
The 65-year old hedge-fund founder of Tudor Investment Group said he is optimistic about the outlook for markets which have been hammered by concerns about the economic damage the disease would inflict on the American and global economy.
“I don’t think we need to panic,” he said. By his own estimates, Jones speculated that the disease could infect one million people in the U.S. in a worst-case scenario and applying a 4% mortality rate— far greater than most epidemiologist are assigning to the disease—roughly 40,000 people would die due to the deadly pathogen. He said that although he believes such losses would be tragic, he compared that to lives lost during a bad influenza season.
From that perspective, Jones forecasts that the peak of the illness is likely to occur in early to late April. “We are probably going to hit our peak anywhere from April 4 and April 10,” he speculated, adding that he estimates that some 300,000 people would contract the disease in a base-case scenario.
In the U.S., there are nearly 70,000 confirmed cases and 86 deaths, the Johns Hopkins data show, so far.
Jones said that the stock market could be much higher in three to five months from now but said that what happens then really depends on how quickly the economy can jump back to life. Currently, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +4.47% is down 26% from its Feb. 12 record high, the S&P 500 SPX, +3.91% and the Nasdaq Composite COMP, +3.32% indexes were both down by about 24% from their Feb. 19 peaks.
It all depends on “our ability to get back to work,” he said and “our ability to resume normal functioning.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday said during a Fox News interview in the White House Rose Garden that he hopes to have the country reopened as early as Easter on April 12, though most countries have taken several months to managing the epidemic.
Trump has argued that a longer U.S. shutdown would make it more difficult for the economy to rebound from a recession. “The longer it takes, the longer we stay out, the longer that is to do,” he has explained.
Jones is widely credited with predicting, and profiting, from the stock-market crash on Oct. 19, 1987, which saw the Dow lose nearly 23% of its value, marking the largest one-day percentage decline for the blue-chip benchmark in its history.
Jones became known for trading everything from currencies to commodities. His record has featured middling returns and an exodus of billions of dollars from his hedge fund in more recent years. According to a Forbes list of billionaires, Jones boasts a net worth of $5.1 billion.
The Dow and S&P 500 on Thursday were attempting to notch a third straight gain, shaking off a record 3.2 million weekly report on jobless claims, after the Senate approved a $2 trillion stimulus package that is is intended to help curb the economic impact of the contagion. However, that bill must still be passed by the House before it is signed into law by President Trump.
Jones said that more concerning to him was the potential loss of life if unemployment skyrockets due to the pandemic. He said “our biggest threat is what happens to the economy on the other side,” he offered.
In the end, he took a decidedly optimistic tone, “we’re going to kick this bug’s ass.”
Check out the CNBC interview below: