Wall Street steady as virus fears build; E*Trade surges on buyout deal

22 Février, 2020, 03:22 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Stocks off to rough start as coronavirus cases climb

As a matter of fact, United States stocks kept rising following the last FOMC minutes when the Fed Chair Jerome Powell had been expressing a cautious optimism on holding the benchmark interest rate steady throughout this year, while fewer number of newer coronavirus cases had added to investors' optimisms further.

The Dow Jones Transportation Average rallied 44 points, or 0.4%, in afternoon trading Thursday, with 13 of 20 components gaining ground, to defy the selloff suffered by the broader market indexes.

Seven of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors ended lower, with technology down 1.01 percent, leading the laggards. The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 84.44 points, or 0.87 percent, to 9,817.18.

China reported a jump in new cases on Friday, while South Korea became the latest hot spot with 100 new cases and more than 80 people tested positive for the virus in Japan.

"The overlying question is the uncertainty over the coronavirus and whether it's going to spread further and impact global economic activity before things stabilize and ultimately get better", said Michael Sheldon, executive director and CIO at RDM Financial Group at Hightower in Westport, Connecticut.

NASDAQ measures a number of indices reflecting the reaction of USA's high tech markets and business environments on the country's political and economic developments which have an impact on high tech markets. "Thus, a near-term hit to corporate earnings now looks unavoidable". Data from the China Passenger Car Association showed auto sales plummeted by 92% in the first two weeks of February.

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US stocks fell further on Friday after data showed USA business activity in the manufacturing and services sectors stalled in February, as companies grew increasingly concerned about the coronavirus. Some U.S. companies, including Apple, have also warned this week about possible revenue headwinds due to the virus.

The risk-off sentiment drove up gold and bond prices, while falling Treasury yields hit shares of lenders, with the S&P banks index down 1.2%.

"This seems like a textbook defensive rotation", said Frank Rybinski, a macro strategist at Aegon Asset Management.

In economic data, USA initial jobless claims were unchanged at 210,000 for the week ended February 15, the Labor Department said.

"Markets had their first real "shot across the bow" in a few weeks time, with a sudden swift pullback to multi-day lows, which was severe enough to cause some rapid buying of volatility", said Mark Newton, a managing member at Newton Advisors. Dropbox soared more than 22% after posted a profit that topped estimates.

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