Stock Market News: U.S. Stocks Fall After Second Coronavirus Case Emerges

Stock Market News — The S&P 500 erased early gains and fell 0.6 per cent around lunchtime in New York. The Nasdaq Composite, which had registered an intraday record high in morning trade, was down 0.5 per cent even as upbeat earnings from Intel — which surged to its highest level since September 2000 — lifted chipmakers. The Dow also lost 0.5 per cent.

The declines followed a rise in European stocks as investors appeared to brush off concerns over the market impact of coronavirus, while there were fresh signs of life in the German economy.

The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.9 per cent, down from session highs but snapping four days of losses as major bourses from London to Frankfurt climbed higher. The euro dipped, falling 0.2 per cent against the dollar, after survey data showed business activity in the eurozone remained unexpectedly weak in January.

Still, activity in Germany, the eurozone’s largest economy, beat expectations. That pushed the Dax 1.4 per cent higher for its best day in more than three months.

Investors had few cues from the Asian session, where Chinese markets were closed for the lunar new year holiday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.2 per cent in its half-day of trading, but has still lost nearly 4 per cent this week as concerns over the outbreak of virus have weighed on investor sentiment.

The World Health Organization on Thursday held back from declaring a global emergency over the outbreak, but said its panel was split “almost 50:50”.

Paul Donovan, a strategist at UBS, said structural changes to the nature of the global economy make it hard to draw a clear analysis from events so far.

“There may be a further shift to online retail sales, limiting the damage to the consumer,” he said. But, he added “the rise of fake news on social media may spread fear faster and wider.”

The outbreak has prompted S&P Global Ratings, the credit rating agency, to warn that if the situation worsened considerably the disease could knock 1.2 percentage points off China’s economic growth this year.

Sterling fell 0.4 per cent after upbeat UK PMI data failed to convince investors that the Bank of England will hold off cutting interest rates next week. The meeting is now on a knife-edge, with traders pricing in a 48 per cent chance of a rate cut to 0.5 per cent, prices in swaps markets show.

In the US, a majority of investors are betting the Federal Reserve will maintain its pause on interest rates after three cuts last year.

Stock Market: World Economy Going Through Longest Period of Falling Trade Since 2009

Stock Market — The downturn in global trade dragged on at the end of last year, marking the longest period of contraction since the end of the financial crisis.

The volume of goods trade dropped 0.6 per cent in November compared to the previous month, and was down 1.1 per cent compared to the same month in 2018, according to a closely watched world trade monitor from the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB).

November marked the sixth consecutive month of year-on-year contraction, the longest period of falling trade since 2009 and a sharp reversal from the 3.4 per cent expansion in November 2018.

The rate of contraction slowed in November, however, down from a 2 per cent pace in October, which was the steepest fall in a decade.

The annual contraction in trade- which is the value of exports and imports adjusted for price changes — was geographically broad-based with the eurozone, emerging Asia, the US and Latin America all reporting falling trade volumes.

However, trade was up over the previous month in emerging Asia, while the downturn became more severe in the eurozone where trade volumes dropped 1.7 per cent compared to October.

The data confirm surveys released earlier this month that showed a deterioration in global trade running until the end of the year. The exports order component of the JPMorgan Global purchasing manager index remained in negative territory in November and December, although up from September’s reading.

“International trade remains the main drag on efforts to lift growth further, so any moves that reduce tensions and barriers on this front will be especially beneficial.” Olya Borichevska, from Global Economic Research at JPMorgan.

Economists expect trade data to improve in early 2020, reflecting the signing of the US-China phase one trade deal earlier this month, as well as improving conditions in emerging economies such as Turkey. But a strong recovery is not on the cards yet.

“We think a recovery in world trade will be very modest, despite the pause in US-China hostilities” said Adam Slater, chief economist at Oxford Economics.

“World trade growth at this pace is less than half its long-term average.”

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