JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon told CNBC on Tuesday (Feb. 25) that “we’ll just have to wait and see” what the fallout is from the coronavirus, following the market’s worst decline in two years on Monday (Feb. 24). Speaking to Wilfred Frost at the JPMorgan Chase 2020 Investor Day, Dimon wouldn’t speak to the market sell-off, but did say that “2020 will be tougher than 2019, and the next decade will be tougher than the last decade.”
“It’s very hard to tell you, and I don’t want to guess,” he said regarding the market sell-off that saw the Dow drop 1,000 points (3.5 percent), with global stocks losing more than $1.7 trillion of value in a single day.
“Obviously, we hope [the virus] is contained. It’s a human casualty, … you feel terrible for it,” Dimon told Frost. “We have South Korea, Japan and Iran now with these rapidly increasing curves. How bad is it? How did they get there? They don’t know who patient number one was in Italy.”
JPMorgan executives told participants at Investor Day in New York that the largest U.S. bank will continue to thrive, despite global and economic challenges.
“Downturns present great opportunities,” Dimon said.
He pointed out that JPMorgan’s size enables the bank to invest in products as needed to beat the competition.
“We earn $47 billion. We can burn a billion in order to do something better, rather than be disrupted,” he added.
The pneumonia-like coronavirus that emerged in late December has been upending all facets of business, travel and markets, with no end in sight. China confirmed 77,658 cases and 2,663 deaths. Iran confirmed 95 cases and at least 15 deaths. South Korea reported 144 new cases, bringing its toll to 977. Italy is the site of Europe’s biggest coronavirus outbreak. A 70-year-old man is the first person to test positive for coronavirus in Switzerland.
“I had this nightmare that somehow in Davos, all of us who went there got it, and then we all left and spread it. The only good news from that is that it might just have killed the elite,” Dimon joked.
Amid the plunging stock markets, and the speculation about whether and when central banks might cut rates (or not), it’s clear that some verticals will recover faster than others from the coronavirus.
Apple is feeling the pinch of supply chain disruption, while Alibaba has called the epidemic a “black swan event” and Amazon has been stockpiling goods. International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said that, as a group, global airlines could see lost revenue to the tune of $29 billion.