The stock markets have rallied, so is peak panic over?

In the past fortnight an optimism of sorts has returned but the rebound rests in part on some pretty heroic assumptions

At the end of the first quarter of the year, stock market investors are counting their losses. The FTSE 100 index has fallen 25% since the turn of the year, its worst single quarter since 1987. The financial crisis of 2008, around the collapse of Lehman Brothers, ran for several quarters and should still be considered more severe. But, whatever your yardstick, 2020 so far has been brutal for equity investors, which includes most people with a pension plan.

Narrow your focus to the last couple of weeks, however, and the picture looks different. You could almost believe normal life has returned. The FTSE 100 overall has risen in seven of the last nine trading days, and in eight of the last 12. And, if you caught the bottom, congratulations: you could have made about 16% in three days.

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