The impact and role of COVID-19 uncertainty: A global industry analysis

Jan Jakub Szczygielski, Ailie Charteris, Princess Rutendo Bwanya, Janusz Brzeszczyński*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


The novel 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19) has resulted in uncertainty that permeates every aspect of life and business. In this study we undertake a comprehensive analysis of the impact of COVID-19 related uncertainty on global industry returns and volatility using a sample of 68 global industries and Google Trends search data to measure COVID-19 related uncertainty. The results indicate that COVID-19 related uncertainty negatively impacts returns on all industries and generally leads to higher volatility. We interpret these findings as uncertainty related to the future financial performance of firms and emerging opportunities for some industries. Certain industries are more resilient than others and increased uncertainty is not only necessarily associated with industries that experienced the largest negative returns. We also find that new factors emerged in the return generating process during the COVID-19 period. We show that despite an uncertain climate, some industries performed well, yielding positive cumulative abnormal returns that at times are greater than during the pre-COVID-19 period. The implications of our findings for investors are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101837
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Review of Financial Analysis
Early online date2 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022


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