Global Shares Trade Through Coronavirus Uncertainty

By Glenn Dyer | More Articles by Glenn Dyer

A quiet start to the week for global markets with the Presidents Day Holiday in the US holding back activity after markets generally rose, but gains were constrained by ongoing concerns about the coronavirus outbreak after China announced a large increase in new cases.

US shares rose 1.6%, Eurozone shares rose 1.4% and Chinese shares gained 2.3%, but Japanese shares fell 0.6%.

Reflecting the generally positive global lead Australian shares rose 1.5%, ending just under the January record high with strong gains in financials, utilities, health and consumer discretionary stocks offsetting coronavirus related weakness in resources stocks.

Bond yields were little changed but oil, metal and iron ore prices rose.

The Nasdaq and S&P 500 finished at records Friday, after bouncing between small gains and losses, as investors parsed mixed data on the strength of the U.S. consumer and monitored the spread of COVID-19 in China.

The US bond and stock markets are closed tonight for the Presidents Day holiday.

The Dow shed 25.23 points, or nearly 0.1%, to end at 29,398.08, while the S&P 500 gained 6.22 points, or 0.2%, to finish at an all-time high close at 3,380.16.

The Nasdaq rose 19.21 points, or 0.2%, to also close at a record 9,731.18.

For the week, the Dow advanced 1%, the S&P 500 1.6%, and the Nasdaq 2.2%.

The US retail sales figures for January were weak, rising just 0.3%, but analysts said core retail sales were flat, a reading that drew consternation among investors who said it could point to emerging weaknesses in consumer spending.

The lowlight from the sales data was the 3.1% slide in sales at clothing stores, which isn’t good news for this embattled sector.

The core retail sales measure is used in the government’s calculation of gross domestic product.

And in a further worry industrial production fell for the 4th time in five months. The Federal Reserve said output fell 0.3%.

Glenn Dyer

About Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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