Market trends

3 ways to approach major market impacting events

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Craig Farrell

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April 30, 2021


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At AlphaSense, we have the unique opportunity and privilege to work with clients ranging from the largest institutional investors to the smartest management consulting firms to the world’s most innovative corporations. By helping these clients get the most out of AlphaSense during one of the most uncertain times in modern history, we’ve gained a unique perspective on how different clients identify, monitor, and respond to new information making a major market impacting that affects their businesses, and their lives. 

This perspective, as well as the lessons learned from working with our clients during this time, can serve a company during any major market event, even if it’s not a crisis as impactful as the pandemic. By holistically understanding how our clients approached their research during such an important time, you can leverage a similar strategy to find the insights you’re looking for.

As we consider the evolution of our collective understanding of COVID-19, much has changed in terms of the amount of information available on the virus, how clients are interpreting that information, and how they are shifting their business priorities and strategies in light of the pandemic and what’s been discovered. The chart below shows how the mention of Covid-19 (including all of its variations referenced in documents) has exploded over the prior 2 years across all content sets. 

Chart showing how many documents AlphaSense contained on the subject of COVID-19

Thematic landscape analysis

With such a dramatic and world-altering event such as the pandemic, the first step required simply trying to understand COVID-19. What was it? How was it impacting local, national, and global governments? And how were companies and industries being affected? From a document perspective, we saw a rapid increase of pandemic, coronavirus, and COVID-19-related coverage in the News and Broker Research analyst reports.

Clients were grappling with identifying the risk, monitoring the spread of the virus, and beginning to project the potential impact of the outbreak.  By the end of Q1 and into Q2 of 2020, we saw COVID-19 enter the corporate discourse, commanding significant attention in earnings calls and being discussed heavily by management teams at conferences. As the world went into lockdown, COVID-19 was the dominant news story and continued to be throughout the next year. Even at the time of this writing, the pandemic continues to fuel endless discussions, conversations, and analysis as we begin to ponder what the world, markets, and industries may look like post-pandemic.

Evaluating the market impact 

As the impact of Covid-19 was being measured and quantified across all industry segments and businesses by Wall Street, new broker research reports were coming out daily in an attempt to measure the overall impact of the pandemic, identify the industries that would be hurt most, and find which companies and sectors were most poised for growth. That growth segment included those who were PPE and ventilator suppliers (MMM, LDL, RMD, MDT), facilitators of life in our new normal (NFLX, ZM, DIS), the housing industry (LEN, DHI, HD, LOW), and big retail (AMZN, WMT, TGT, COST).

However, these headlines only told part of the story, and in order to truly understand the implications of the pandemic, more comprehensive research was required to find new insights and opportunities that weren’t immediately obvious. This included: 

Understanding the market impact of a remote workforce and what a “return to the office” looks like

Finding insights and trends among the 150+ companies who filed for bankruptcy during the crisis

How impacts from the oil industry may shake up Russia-Saudi Arabia relations

Monitoring new developments

As governments, citizens, and companies rallied against the constraints brought on by the pandemic, it was clear that living in a lockdown was not the permanent goal. Different countries had various strategies and reactions to the change in cases, deaths, and hospitalizations but they all considered that a vaccine was the world’s best bet against the virus.

Enter the US government’s funding of Operation Warp Speed and relying on the promise of science to develop a new vaccine to counteract the disease and to slow the outbreak. Markets and investors turned eyes to the pharma and biotech sectors and their R&D machines. These companies quickly became the new focus, as intense scrutiny was placed on the various clinical assets companies were moving through the clinical trial process.  As the chart below displays, the number of new industry-sponsored clinical trials rapidly expanded, led by the names that are dominating the vaccine dialogue even to this day. 

Product screenshot showing the number of COVID-19 related documents released within the Healthcare & Life Sciences industries

Fast forward to today, we are now assisting our clients and helping them track vaccination progress in their markets of interest and ongoing business recovery efforts across their sectors.  By leveraging sentiment analysis and looking at QoQ changes, clients are able to identify those competitors who are successfully coming out the other side of this dark era, and the unfortunate ones who are not.  

AlphaSense product screenshot showing COVID-19 related documents that covered revenue impact

As our clients return to some semblance of normalcy, they are continuing to closely monitor for the penetration of Covid-19 vaccinations across all markets, as well as to track reports of new variants of the disease. The success of each nation’s efforts to vaccinate their citizens and workforce will have repercussions across all markets and industries. It will inform the pace of recovery, including how travel and tourism will return, which impacts air travel, which impacts fuel prices, which impacts economic activity and output, and so on.

This is why we created a Covid Intelligence Tracker that gives you direct access to how companies are discussing the pandemic, in real-time.

For the pandemic and beyond, AlphaSense continues to be a critical information source for managing these unique and challenging times.

To learn more about the AlphaSense platform and its recent upgrades, check out our AlphaSense X webcast. This on-demand video will show you how we’re leveraging AI across the search experience to help you find the relevant information you need, faster.

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Craig Farrell

Craig Farrell is the Director of Go-To-Market Strategy at AlphaSense where he works with clients to inform how the product can best address client workflows and information needs. He is charged with driving the overall sales and strategy efforts within the Life Science segment, helping clients derive the highest value from AlphaSense. He began his career in a Molecular Cytology research lab at Memorial Sloan Kettering before spending 8+ years at Gerson Lehrman Group in the Healthcare practice. His clients have cut across hedge funds, mutual funds, private equity, management consulting, and corporate clients. Craig has also served as a Client Partner a-Connect, as well as Director of Research and Head of Product at Coleman Research Group, serving as a member of the management team.


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