In normal times, markets are a keep lifeblood of a capitalist economy. They send the singal to participants and the Government about the state of the economy and are a general barometer of health for a market economy.
But in times of crisis they are scary places. The markets are run these days by both human traders and their pet algo's. This means they experience both euphoria in the good times and fear in the bad times. Sometimes the algo's are designed to exploit the fear even further.
At this unprecedented time of crisis, I don't see the point of the markets remaining open for stocks and shares. We know the crisis is only going to get worseover the next few weeks. Then hopefully better. As such the markets are just going to keep dropping on every bit of bad news.
Meanwhile, Government's like the UK have stepped in to effectively nationalise the workforce. A completely unprecedetned move. Plus loans and tax holidays for businesses. These may work or may not work.
So to me the unknowns are so large that the markets will have no real option but to fall much further. This only unbalances the economy further for any recovery - hurting savers and allowing well-heeled Private Equity a chance to buy up lots of companies on the cheap at a future date. The answer surely must be to halt trading for 6 weeks.
Forex can continue for trade as can commodities as these are life essentials for a function global economy. But stock markets are a one way bet and the lack of price information is not going to change how our Governments make decisions in the next few weeks.
I am amazed at the lack of discussion of this in the media - this can only be because the responsible types at the Financial Times worry that this discussion will cause a stampede to cash by retail and other investors and thus another steep fall.
However, we need to be rational, a collapsed market will not be the basis for a quick bounce back and reset in a few months time if we are lucky enough to get to that point.