Which Countries’ Equities Outperformed During COVID-19?

Brad Hanson, Managing Director

Magni Global Asset Management


Magni Global Asset Management LLC (Magni) updated its analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on equity valuations of countries for the first half of 2020. The trend of equity outperformance of the better-responding countries increased by more than a half percent in just one month to 7.80% YTD through June versus 7.26% YTD through May. The Global COVID19 Index continued to be used in this update as the measure of the effectiveness of a country’s response and we excluded the US from this particular analysis(1).

As part of the overall analysis, Magni reviewed a variety of characteristics of the countries with a better response to the pandemic. One of the most important distinguishing characteristics across the better performing markets was the prevalence of female leaders.

The equity markets of investible countries with women leaders outperformed the equity markets of countries with male leaders by 12.14% on a YTD basis through the end of June.

Eight of the 22 countries with better responses to the pandemic have female leaders, while the 23 countries with worse responses to the pandemic are led by men. “Magni believes the quality of governance is important investment information. The difference in performance based on gender was amazing and a wonderful surprise. We will be exploring the governance implications,” said Kurt Lieberman, CEO of Magni.

The world has 196 countries, but only 45 countries outside the U.S. have an investable countrywide ETF. The 45 countries analyzed are both in developed markets and emerging markets. See the charts below.

country equities 1country equities 2

While past performance is not a predictor of future performance, Magni will be tracking to see whether the gaps continue or begin to close over time. Stay tuned.

(1) Magni excluded the U.S. from this particular analysis due to the polarized political environment here. In addition, the US equity market is so much bigger than any other country that people don’t tend to invest in a global portfolio, especially US-based investors. US investors tend to hold international portfolios. Even so, when we added the US into the group of countries, the basket of the top 23 countries still outperformed by 5.34% (-12.77% vs. -18.11%).

About Magni Global Asset Management

Magni Global Asset Management LLC is a leader in corporate governance research on countries and companies, focusing on the behavior of the entity. Magni developed the Sustainable Wealth Creation principles to evaluate country-level governance. The principles are based on widely accepted economic concepts regarding the accounting, legal, regulatory, adjudicative, and economic infrastructures of countries. Countries with strengths in these areas provide environments conducive to effective corporate governance. Magni’s extensive database contains research on countries across 280 qualitative factors over 17 years. Magni established the Sustainable Value Creation principles to evaluate public companies. These principles were applied to analyze 468 qualitative factors on each company. In addition to researching each company’s relationship with its shareholders and employees, the assessment also includes relationships with customers, suppliers, competitors, and the communities in which a company operates.




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