Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Professor Richard Burdekin

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This paper aims to conduct a comparative study on the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on stock markets in the US, China, and Australia. Since the first case of coronavirus was discovered in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, the pandemic spread rapidly across the continents and resulted in tremendous losses in global public health and economies. The first confirmed cases in US and Australia were both identified in late January 2020. There exist significant discrepancies between the two western countries’ policy guidelines regarding the pandemic. After two waves of domestic COVID-19 surge in March and July-August 2020, Australia’s governmental measurements controlled the outbreak and minimized its impact. However, the United States' handling has been much less effective. Therefore, this paper attempts to investigate the three nations’ stock market returns from February 2020 to January 2021, given the variations in their domestic pandemic spread.

COVID-19 is measured by daily new cases and daily new deaths in this paper. Aggregate stock market returns are indicated by SSE Shanghai Composite, S&P 500 Index, and S&P/ASX 200 Index returns throughout the research period. Empirical analyses are applied on the three aggregate indices and several selected sectoral indices for each country to discern COVID-19’s impact on international stock markets. Results show that there is not enough evidence to conclude a significant effect of COVID-19 development on the stock market fluctuations. However, evidence proves that Australia’s COVID-19 governmental responses might have impacted the S&P/ASX 200 daily returns. A vector autoregression model is also applied on the three aggregate indices to test for any market co-movements. The VAR analysis results indicate that there exists ample evidence for market correlations during this period.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.