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March 21, 2020, 10:24 a.m. EDT

Good news for the stock market would be any potential treatment against the coronavirus

President Trump touts chloroquine, which has been controversial. Other drugs may find some success in the weeks or months ahead

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By Nigam Arora


Getty Images
A packet of branded chloroquine, commonly used against malaria.

Investors, after facing huge losses amid the threat of the coronavirus, are grappling with what is next for the stock market.

In January, I warned that an external event could cause a major drop in the market. Now it has happened. Something investors need to be on the lookout for: potential treatments that could put a halt to this public health crisis, unfolding economic calamity and stock market rout.

We have been assessing potential treatments. It’s clear that a vaccine would take at least a year. The best hope is finding an antiviral that at least lessens the severity of the coronavirus, much like Tamiflu lowers the severity of the seasonal flu.

We are not infectious-disease experts. Based on our consultations and research, our conclusion has been that chloroquine may have the most potential of several drugs being tried. The data in this journal is helpful.

Read: Trump makes the case for chloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment, though it has not been approved by the FDA for this illness

President Trump has touted chloroquine as a potential treatment; he did so again Friday. For that, he has come under criticism by some for giving false hope. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Friday, standing next to Trump, that chloroquine could potentially be used, though it’s not a prime candidate at the moment.

I won’t wade into the controversy but instead focus on implications for the stock market. Let’s explore with the help of a chart.

Chart

Please click here for an annotated chart of SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF /zigman2/quotes/208954582/composite DIA -0.56% , which tracks the Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -0.58% .

Note the following:

• The chart shows the target zone if there is a positive development on an antiviral drug against COVID-19.

• The chart shows a small bounce in the stock market after the support zone was broken. This bounce mainly reflected a short squeeze and so-called quadruple witching. In quadruple witching, stock options, stock index futures, stock index options and single stock futures expire.

• To learn more about the support zones, please click here.

• Click here to learn about an objective way to call the bottom, as shown on the chart.

• It seems that chloroquine has in vitro activity against the novel coronavirus. In plain English, this means that chloroquine is effective in a test tube.

/zigman2/quotes/208954582/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE Arca
$ 254.35
-1.42 -0.56%
Volume: 4.96M
May 28, 2020 4:00p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime
US : Dow Jones Global
25,400.64
-147.63 -0.58%
Volume: 378.40M
May 28, 2020 5:13p
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