Pandemics, Vaccines and Corporate Earnings
We estimate a model of damage to corporate earnings from COVID-19. An unexpected pandemic lowers current earnings due to costly mitigation and reduces growth rates. Damage depends on the expected arrival of a vaccine that reverts earnings to normal. Using this model, we infer from analysts' earnings forecasts that, as of mid-May 2020, an effective vaccine is expected in 0.96 years (95% bootstrap CI [0.72,1.72]). Growth rates are on average 25% lower in the interim. Levered and face-to-face industries would benefit the most from a vaccine arrival. Analysts' expectations imply that the vaccine expected for the middle of 2021 is a silver bullet for corporate earnings.
The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.