The Economy

Unsettled Markets: The Quiz

Uncertainty creates a lot of market volatility. How closely have you been following the 2020 fluctuations?
CFO StaffSeptember 11, 2020

Real-life crises aren’t always reflected in the direction of the markets. While the COVID-19 pandemic has nearly suffocated economies, for example, the U.S. stock market indices have been on a tear. Still, uncertainty about business profits, consumer spending, and government stimulus does create a lot of volatility. Two-thousand twenty has been especially bumpy. How closely have you been following the fluctuations?

1. When was the most recent trading day that the 10-year Treasury yield was above 1%?*
A. March 19
B. February 28
C. June 6
D. August 13

2. During the week of August 17, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate dipped below 3%. What was it two years earlier?
A. 4.2%
B. 5.1%
C. 6.5%
D. 4.6%

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3. As of mid-August, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was still a couple of thousand points off its record closing high. What month and date did its high point occur?
A. March 2020
B. February 2019
C. February 2020
D. April 2019

4. Since March 11, when the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, Brent Crude oil traded below $20 at one point.
A. True
B. False

5. During the second quarter, what was the average first-day “pop” of U.S. initial public offerings?
A. 23%
B. 16%
C. 30%
D. 38%

6. The S&P 500’s lowest close for the year occurred on March 23. What happened on that date?
A. U.S. COVID-19 cases passed 100,000
B. New York declared a state of emergency
C. The Federal Reserve lowered the federal funds rate
D. President Trump announced new tariffs on Chinese goods

7. As of the end of July, how much in corporate debt was the Federal Reserve holding as a result of its corporate credit facility program?
A. $10.4 billion
B. $5.5 billion
C. $300 million
D. $3.6 billion

8. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) has been above 20 since late February. On March 16 it hit its 2020 high point. What did it measure on that date?
A. 55.2
B. 82.7
C. 34.5
D. 41.9

Answers: 1-A; 2-D; 3-C; 4-A; 5-D; 6-C; 7-D; 8-B

* Performance numbers are as of August 21.

Sources: WSJ, Freddie Mac, Renaissance Capital, CBOE, Federal Reserve

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