It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data, opined Sherlock Holmes. But which clues are relevant? Investors track internet searches as part of their effort to understand the coronavirus. The pipe-smoking detective might not have approved.

Goldman Sachs has been monitoring Baidu and Google search volume on virus-related keywords such as “coronavirus”, “SARS”, “Wuhan” and “surgical mask”. They also track measures such as air pollution, property sales and traffic congestion...

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