Investors are losing their minds as the coronavirus grinds the Chinese economy to a halt and markets are falling hard. The coronavirus is occupying a lot of space in the minds of many investors, space that used to be occupied by issues such as the US-China trade wars, a Trump presidency, Brexit, PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain), Grexit (a Greek exit from the EU), QE (quantitative easing), state capture, credit downgrades (though that is making a comeback), and so on. 

Market commentators describe these passing issues as noise, and while they have a short-term effect on markets, they often fade into memory as a new issue comes to the fore. Successful investors tend to ignore or add little weight to these issues and focus on long-term principles and ongoing analysis of what really matters (earnings). ..

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