Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2-10-2021


Purpose – This paper aims to examine the impact of the daily growth rate of COVID-19 cases in the USA (COVID), the Federal Fund Rate (FFR) and the trade-weighted US dollar index (USDX) on S&P500 index daily returns and its 11 constituent sectors’ indices for the time period between January 22, 2020, until June 30, 2020. Design/methodology/approach – The study uses the multivariate generalized autoregressive conditional heteroscedasticity (MGARCH) model to gauge the impacts over the whole period of study, as well as over two sub-periods; first, January 22, 2020, until March 30, 2020, reflecting uncertainty in the US markets and second, from April 1, 2020, until June 30, 2020, reflecting the lockdown. Findings – Results of the MGARCH model reveal a negative and significant relation between COVID and S&P500 index daily returns over the first sub-period and the whole study period in the following sectors, namely, communications, consumer discretionary, consumer staples, health, technology and materials. Yet, COVID showed a positive and significant relation with S&P500 index daily returns during the second time period in the following sectors, namely, communication, consumer discretionary, financial, industrial, information technology (IT) and utilities. Besides, USDX showed a negative significant effect on S&P500 index daily returns and on the daily return on each of its 11 constituent sectors over the second sub-period and the whole period. Further, FFR showed a significant effect only in the second sub-period, specifically, a negative effect on the daily return of the financial sector and a positive effect on the daily return of the technology sector index. Nevertheless, FFR had a positive significant effect on the daily return of the utilities sector index for the whole period under study. Research limitations/implications – The impact of the crisis on the S&P500 index can be assessed only with some limitations owing to available global data and the limited time frame of the lock-down. Practical implications – The study proposes supporting a smooth, functioning and resilient financial system; increasing fiscal measures by the US Government to increase liquidity on constraints; measures by The Federal Reserve to alleviate US dollar funding shortages; support market integrity; ensure continuous transparency and sharing of information; support the health sector, as well as consumer-based sectors that faced demand shocks and facilitate investments in the technology sector. Originality/value – The originality of this paper lies in the examination of the impact of the novel COVID19 pandemic on each of the 11 sectors constituting the S&P500 index separately, reflecting how the main economic sectors formulating the US economy reacted to the shock during the peak time of the pandemic to observe a full picture of the economic consequences amid the pandemic

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