- Monkeypox virus infection 2 has been cropping up in headlines everywhere.
- In Canada, health officials are said to be looking into some 13 suspected cases of monkeypox virus infection.
- Officials said on Wednesday that an American who tested positive for monkeypox visited Canada recently.
The world may not be over COVID-19 yet but that is not stopping another health crisis from knocking at our door. Monkeypox virus infection 2 has been cropping up in headlines everywhere, including in Canada, after cases began surfacing in many regions around the globe.
In Canada, health officials have confirmed two cases of monkeypox virus infection as of writing and are said to be looking into several other suspected cases. Concerns have been rising further since officials said earlier this week that an American who tested positive for monkeypox in 2022 recently visited Canada.
What is monkeypox?
The rare “pox-like disease”, as per the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), was first spotted in monkeys kept for research in 1958 following a couple of outbreaks. The first case in humans, however, was not noticed until 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Since then, central and western African countries have seen multiple cases of monkeypox annually, although it is said to be uncommon in Europe and North America, as the World Health Organization (WHO) recently noted.
Where has monkeypox hit recently?
Britain is said to have reported about 20 cases of this disease so far recently while Portugal and Spain have detected some 40.
With officials in Europe reporting growing cases of the uncommon infectious disease and the US and Canada investigating their own suspected cases, concerns around a possible global outbreak are spreading fast too.
How bad can monkeypox get for stock markets?
Nobody missed the part where COVID-19 ravaged the stock markets when it first hit the pandemic status in 2020. As global lockdowns and panic came into place, the share prices of even some of the top companies came tumbling down.
The S&P/TSX Composite index lost over 37 per cent in less than a month between February 19 and March 23, 2020, when it hit a record low of 11,228.49. In the same time frame, the S&P 500 nosedived by nearly 34 per cent, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted by about 58 per cent and the NASDAQ Composite was down some 30 per cent.
The stock markets have made a significant recovery since their pandemic lows – the Canadian benchmark index, for one, has rebounded by around 79 per cent since hitting a dip of 11,228.49 on 11,228.49. But if the monkeypox outbreak hits a global crisis level, the stock markets can see a depression again, especially if rigid public health measures come into place.
Which TSX stocks to buy for safety?
While many companies sank, the COVID-19 pandemic had also seen some stocks shine, mostly those belonging to the tech, health and gold sectors. Investors who would want to bulk up their portfolios with some safety stocks in case there is another public health crisis can take a look at the following stocks.
TSX dividend stocks
Passive income can come in handy in case of a market downturn. Some notable TSX dividend stocks to look at would be Royal Bank of Canada (TSX: RY), Bank of Montreal (TSX: BMO) and TransAlta (TSX: TA), which currently pay quarterly dividends of C$ 1.2, C$ xx and C$ 0.05, respectively.
While banks can come under some pressure in a health crisis, top Canadian lenders have shown their resilience during COVID-19. An electricity-providing utility company like TransAlta, on the other hand, is likely to retain its demand through a crisis.
TSX grocery stocks
Like utilities, food is something that cannot lose all its demand in case the world goes into a crisis mode again. This brings the discussion to stocks of grocery retailers and convenience store chains like Goodfood Market (TSX: FOOD), Alimentation Couche-Tard (TSX: ATD.B), Loblaw (TSX: L), etc.
TSX technology stocks
Tech companies that help you navigate through life from home saw quite a boost amid the pandemic, especially those dealing with online grocery and food delivery, online shopping, remote working, digital payment, etc.
Keeping that in mind, investors can explore tech stocks like Canadian e-commerce giant Shopify Inc (TSX: SHOP), payment platform Nuvei (TSX: NVEI), learning management system platform Docebo (TSX: DCBO), etc.
TSX gold stocks
It’s no secret in the investment world that gold is one of the most sought-after options when crises hit the fan. Likewise, gold stocks like Barrick (TSX: ABX), B2Gold (TSX: BTO), Franco-Nevada (TSX: FNV) can also be some options to weigh.
An important thing to keep in mind before panicking over monkeypox is that a global crisis has not officially been reported yet. Hence, while precaution to a certain extent can be a good practice, panic and fear-mongering never are.
Also, the immunization for smallpox is said to have significant efficacy against monkeypox, so humanity is not likely to be at a complete loss this time around.