As a newly-minted Ph.D. stuck at home during the pandemic, Dr. Hassan Butt found that it was the perfect opportunity for research relevant to his field.

An assistant professor of financial economics who joined the Missouri Southern faculty this fall, he was among the four co-authors of “Deaths, Panic, Lockdowns and U.S. Equity Markets: The Case of COVID-19 Pandemic.” The short paper was recently published by the “Financial Research Letters” journal and subsequently linked to by the World Health Organization.

“You’ve seen how COVID has impacted every aspect of our lives,” he said. “We looked at how the COVID effects translated to the stock market. When you get into stock market research, it can become really complex. We tried to keep it simple.”

Using mobility trends collected from Apple, global news sentiment data from RavenPack (an analytics platform for financial professionals), and COVID information collected by Johns Hopkins, they were able to study the impacts of the coronavirus on stock prices. The data collected for the paper demonstrated the significant increase those factors had in terms of market illiquidity and volatility.

Butt’s role in putting the paper together ranged from conceptualization and formal analysis to the writing, review and editing process. It was compiled in a matter of days, though the review process for the journal took significantly longer.

“What happened was the World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health started collecting some of the papers that were published and adding them to their libraries,” he said. “That’s how my paper got linked. “Being a very young Ph.D. at the early stage of my career, having that paper published and recognized by the WHO was a very big deal. And I’m glad that since I just joined the faculty here, credit went to Missouri Southern State University.”