Coronavirus (COVID-19): Stocks to buy and how to invest

Investment ideas and strategies to navigate a market crash

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COVID-19 has had an enormous impact on stock markets around the world. Between February and March, share markets in Australia, the US and the UK recorded the fastest bear market fall (a 20% or more drop) in history amid unprecedented volatility.

With country borders and countless businesses closed in response to the health threat, it has become clear that we're in the early stages of a recession. Despite that, stock markets have staged an incredible recovery in recent weeks, rising by up to 30% since April and leaving many analysts scratching their heads.

While some shareholders have been hit by heavy losses, many will be using the market volatility as an opportunity to buy quality stocks at lower prices. Others will be looking to profit from falling prices through shorting strategies. Regardless of your approach, it's a good time to review your portfolio and consider your next steps.

We've compiled a list of investing guides and stock ideas to help you navigate this turbulent time.

If you're looking for other coronavirus-related guides, you can head to our coronavirus hub page or the World Health Organization (WHO) for further advice. If in doubt, speak to a professional.

Most popular investing guides and news

When will the market recover?

Unfortunately, it's impossible to know for certain how long the market downturn will last as we've never encountered a situation like this before. Below are a list of some of the more popular suggestions given by analysts as to what could trigger a recovery:

  • New global COVID-19 infection rates start slowing
  • Coordinated action from global governments to cull the outbreak
  • It becomes clear a credit squeeze isn't on the cards
  • Oil prices come under control and OPEC members agree on output
  • The pandemic comes under control

With businesses closing doors and forecasters predicting a the unemployment rate could hit 30-year highs, the economic fallout will be large and potentially long-lasting.

Depending on how the pandemic unfolds in the coming months, stock markets could either see a V-Shaped recovery (quick rebound) as we saw during the SARS outbreak or a U-Shaped recovery (slow rebound) as we saw following the global financial crisis (GFC).

Source: TradingView, Updated daily at 4.30pm AEST

Which stocks might drop?

Important: No one can say for certain which direction stocks will go – there's plenty of speculation about where the global economy might be headed. Below are some of the more common ideas among analysts about how stocks could be affected.

When there's a global event like this, most stocks will react negatively. Importantly, major blue chip stocks, such as the major banks, Telstra and CSL, are likely to fall, offering a potential buying opportunity at discount prices.

Because of the nature of the pandemic, tourism stocks are expected to be among the hardest hit as travel restrictions are put in place to curb the spread of the virus. This includes airlines, hotels and tour companies.

With major cities in China locked down, some analysts predict Chinese demand for imported goods could lessen as its economy slows. This means Australian companies with large Chinese exposure could see profits down this year, and investors will be pricing in that possibility.

Mining and energy companies in Australia have a strong reliance on global demand and the oil price. If the pandemic does spark a global recession, Australia's major energy companies are expected to take a hit.

No one can say how long these stocks will stay down for; however, a steep drop in prices is a good opportunity for bargain hunters willing to wait out the correction.

Travel and tourism

Blue chip stocks

Chinese demand

Energy companies

Which stocks could benefit?

A global crisis typically results in safe-haven investing, which means bonds and gold. This tends to send the gold price soaring while bond yields drop as demand goes up. Read our full guides on gold and bond investing for more information.

This often (although not always) results in gold company stocks becoming more popular. Because gold stocks are influenced by many factors such as profit results and new discoveries, it's also possible for stocks to go backwards.

A pandemic also benefits a few specific sectors, such as healthcare, insurance and protective gear manufacturers, such as face-mask suppliers. Meanwhile, companies that support working or studying from home should also react positively as people are forced to isolate themselves.

Gold companies

Healthcare

Protective wear/wash

Working/studying from home

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How to invest when there's a market crash

When markets crash, it can be tempting to sell your shares in an attempt to avoid further losses. But this is not necessarily the best strategy, especially if you hesitate on pulling the trigger.

Stock market downturns are a reality, and must be considered alongside the record gains of recent years. It's often a better idea to ride out the volatility rather than try to time the market, according to Shane Oliver, chief economist at Australian financial services giant AMP.

A lot of people get tempted to sell, then suddenly the markets find a bottom. Before you know it, they're back above the levels where a lot of people sold.”

Shane Oliver, AMP's chief economist

Know your strategy

Your best course of action in the event of a crash will depend on your trading strategy and overall investment goals, according to Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist for share-trading platform CMC Markets, who spoke to Finder. "In most cases, investors should be reviewing closely and working out what a 10% drop or a 20% drop would mean to their holding. Whereas somebody who's taking a more active approach might start weeding their portfolio."

It's important to know what your goals are and whether a crash has impacted your ability to achieve those goals. It is possible that a crash gives you some good reasons to sell.

Be prepared to buy the dip

When markets dip, you can make money. The key thing is to be ready for this to happen and to have the funds to snap up shares when the prices are low.

Timing the market is incredibly hard and you're very unlikely to get the stock at its absolute lowest, but as with all investments, if your intention is to hold for the long term, it can be a good opportunity to snap it up at a lower cost.

One way to prepare if you're an active investor is to keep a list of stocks that you would be willing to buy if a crash happens.

Seek financial advice

When stocks are crashing it is easy to get swept up by your emotions. If 20% of your portfolio value has been knocked off, you might not be in the right frame of mind to be making decisions which could impact your financial future.

Seeking a second opinion, ideally from a financial adviser, can give you some perspective to your thinking and guard against any rash decisions.

What happens after a crash?

Following a market crash, stocks are likely to experience a period of volatility as investors reevaluate the market. But downturns can also represent investment opportunities, especially if there are certain stocks you think may have switched from overvalued to undervalued.

Cautious investors may often flock to "safe haven" investments like gold, bonds or even bitcoin, so a market downturn may be a good time to think about diversifying your investment portfolio.

If history is any indicator, the markets should eventually rebound, but trying to determine when this will happen is the million-dollar question. Stocks may recover within weeks or months, or we may be faced with a years-long bear market, especially if global recession fears turn out to be on the money.

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How to profit from a falling market

It's possible for traders to profit when prices are falling through a strategy called "shorting the market". Because this is typically a risky strategy, only experienced traders are advised to do this.

The most common ways that people can profit from falling equity, currency or commodity prices is through CFD, Forex or options trading. You can check out our guides on those below:

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Name Product Standard brokerage fee Inactivity fee Markets International
eToro (global stocks)
US$0
US$10 per month if there’s been no login for 12 months
Global shares, US shares, ETFs
Yes
Zero brokerage share trading on US, Hong Kong and European stocks with trades as low as $50.
Join the world’s biggest social trading network when you trade stocks, commodities and currencies from the one account.
IG Share Trading
Finder Award
IG Share Trading
$8
$50 per quarter if you make fewer than three trades in that period
ASX shares, Global shares
Yes
$0 brokerage for US and global shares plus get an active trader discount of $5 commission on Australian shares.
Enjoy some of the lowest brokerage fees on the market when trading Australian shares, international shares, plus get access to 24-hour customer support.
Superhero share trading
$5
No
ASX shares, US shares, ETFs
Yes
Australia’s lowest-cost broker for ASX shares and ETFs.
Pay zero brokerage on US stocks and all ETFs and just $5 (flat fee) to trade Australian shares from your mobile or desktop.
CMC Markets Stockbroking
$11
No
ASX shares, Global shares, mFunds, ETFs
Yes
$0 brokerage on global shares including US, UK and Japan markets.
Trade up to 9,000 products, including shares, ETFs and managed funds, plus access up to 15 major global and Australian stock exchanges.
Bell Direct Share Trading
Finder AwardExclusive
Bell Direct Share Trading
$15
No
ASX shares, mFunds, ETFs
No
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Bell Direct offers a one-second placement guarantee on market-to-limit ASX orders or your trade is free, plus enjoy extensive free research reports from top financial experts.
Saxo Capital Markets (Classic account)
$6.99
No
ASX shares, Global shares, Forex, CFDs, Margin trading, Options trading, ETFs
Yes
Acess 19,000+ stocks on 37 exchanges worldwide
Low fees for Australian and global share trading, no inactivity fees, low currency conversion fee and optimised for mobile.
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Important: Share trading can be financially risky and the value of your investment can go down as well as up. “Standard brokerage” fee is the cost to trade $1,000 or less of ASX-listed shares and ETFs without any qualifications or special eligibility. If ASX shares aren’t available, the fee shown is for US shares. Where both CHESS sponsored and custodian shares are offered, we display the cheapest option.

Name Product Minimum Opening Deposit Minimum Opening Deposit Commission - ASX 200 Shares Available markets Platforms
Vantage FX CFD
$200
$200
$8 AUD or 0.08%
Forex, CFD shares, Indices, Cryptocurrencies, Commodities
MetaTrader 4
MetaTrader 5
TradingView
Disclaimer: CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Vantage FX has some of the lowest CFD trading fees in Australia, plus you can place trades and find global trends through the new TradingView charts platform.
eToro CFD
US$200
US$200
No commission
Forex, Shares, Indices, Cryptocurrencies, Commodities, ETFs
eToro Trading Platform
Disclaimer: CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Join the largest social trading network in the world.
Plus500 CFD
$200
$200
No commission
CFD on Forex, Commodities, Cryptocurrency, Indices, Shares, Options and ETF's
Plus500 Trading Platform
Disclaimer: CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Trade CFDs on Australian and International shares, indices, cryptocurrencies, commodities and more.
IG CFD broker
$0
$0
0.08% with $7 minimum
Indices, FX, Shares, Commodities, Cryptocurrency, ETPs, Options, Interest Rates, Bonds
MetaTrader 4
ProReal Time
IG Trading Platform and Apps
L2
Disclaimer: CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Trade from over 15,000 markets with Australia's leading service for CFD trading and forex.
IC Markets CFD (True ECN Account)
US$200
US$200
0.1% per side
ASX shares, global shares, indices, commodities, forex, cryptocurrencies
MetaTrader 4
MetaTrader 5
cTrader
Disclaimer: CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Trade 230+ different products with fast execution under 40 milliseconds on average.
Saxo Capital Markets CFD
3,000
3,000
0.10% with $6 minimum
Indices, FX, Shares & ETFs, Commodities, Cryptocurrencies, Options, Bonds
SaxoTraderGO
SaxoTraderPRO
Disclaimer: CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Award-winning trading platfrom with extensive charting tools and reliable execution.
Blueberry Markets CFD Trading
US$100
US$100
$20 per month subscription plus 2% of trade size
Indices, ASX200 Shares, Commodities, Cryptocurrency
MetaTrader 5
Disclaimer: CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Bottom of the market fees on forex, CFDs and commodities with 24/7 quality customer service.
Pepperstone CFD
$200
$200
No commission
ASX shares, global shares, indices, cryptocurrencies, commodities
MetaTrader 4
MetaTrader 5
cTrader
Disclaimer: CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Trade stock indices on the global market, via Pepperstone's MetaTrader 4 and cTrader client terminals.
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Trading CFDs and forex on leverage is high-risk and you could lose more than your initial investment. It may not be suitable for every investor. Refer to the provider’s PDS and consider the risks before trading.

Name Product Monthly fee Options trading fee Standard brokerage fee
Bell Direct Options Trading
$0
$30
AUD 15
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Name Product Minimum Opening Deposit Minimum Spreads for Major Currencies Commission Minimum Trade Size Platforms
Vantage FX
AUD 200
0.0 pips - 1.0 pips
$0
0.01 lots
MetaTrader 4
MetaTrader 5
TradingView
Disclaimer: CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Spreads start from 0.0 on major currency pairs and you get some of the lowest forex trading fees in Australia. Plus you can place trades and find global trends through the TradingView charts platform.
eToro Forex Trading
USD 200
1.0 pips
$0
US$200 (to CopyTrade)
eToro Trading Platform
Disclaimer: CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Margin FX is a complex financial product and traders are at high-risk of losing all of or more than their initial investment.

Social trading, advanced charting tools, plus receive exclusive benefits through the eToro Club (membership is tiered based on the equity in your trading account).
Plus500 Forex Trading
AUD 200
1.0 pips
$0
N/A
Plus500 Trading Platform
Disclaimer: CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Minimum spreads of 0.01% for major currencies. Customers should visit Plus500's website for updated spreads in real time.
Open an account and experience Plus500's easy-to-use proprietary trading platform, 24/7 online chat support and free real-time forex quotes.
IG Forex Trading
0
0.6 - 1.5 pips
$0
1 lot
MetaTrader 4
ProReal Time
IG Trading Platform and Apps
L2
CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Choice of trading platforms. Choose optional extras like advanced charting, reporting and order types. Over 90 currency pairs to choose from.
IC Markets Forex Trading (Raw Spread account)
USD 200
From 0.0-0.1 pips
AU$3.50 per 100k traded
0.01 lots
MetaTrader 4
MetaTrader 5
cTrader
CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Saxo Forex Trading (Classic Account)
AUD 3,000
0.5 pips
$0
$1000
SaxoTraderGO
SaxoTraderPRO
CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Trade majors, minors, exortics, crypto and spot metals on Saxo's award-winning trading platfrom.
Blueberry Markets Forex Trading
USD 100
From 0.0 pips
$0
0.01
MetaTrader4, MetaTrader5
CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Bottom of the market fees on forex, CFDs and commodities with 24/7 quality customer service.
Pepperstone Forex Trading (Razor Account)
USD 200
0.0 - 0.1 pips
AU$3.50 per 100k traded
0.01 lots
MetaTrader 4
MetaTrader 5
cTrader
Disclaimer: CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Margin FX is a complex financial product and traders are at high-risk of losing all of or more than their initial investment.

Choose from a range of fee-free funding methods, plus a suite of 10 different apps available as part of Pepperstone's Smarter Trading Tools.
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Trading CFDs and forex on leverage is high-risk and you could lose more than your initial investment. It may not be suitable for every investor. Refer to the provider’s PDS and consider the risks before trading.

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Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of futures, stocks, ETFs, CFDs, options or any specific provider, service or offering. It should not be relied upon as investment advice or construed as providing recommendations of any kind. Futures, stocks, ETFs and options trading involves substantial risk of loss and therefore are not appropriate for all investors. Trading CFDs and forex on leverage comes with a higher risk of losing money rapidly. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before making any trades.

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