OPENING CALL: The Australian share market is expected to open higher. The SPI200 futures contract expected to open down 119 points.
Brexit Is Finally Happening – The U.K. is set to formally quit the EU late Friday, closing the chapter on nearly half a century of integration with its European neighbors.
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary declared a public health emergency over the coronavirus outbreak and said certain American citizens returning from China would be quarantined for two weeks. Foreign nationals deemed a risk would be barred from entering the country
Each Market in Focus
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 benchmark gave up early gains to close just 0.1% higher at 7017.2 amid persistent coronavirus fears.
The index initially built on late momentum from U.S. markets to climb as much as 0.5% higher midway through the session, led by health and tech stocks. The turnaround coincided with data showing Chinese manufacturing cooled in January, in line with expectations.
At the same time, the Australian dollar dipped 0.2% against its U.S. counterpart before clawing back those losses.
Tech remained the best performer with a 1.7% gain, while the four major banks–CBA, Westpac, NAB and ANZ–helped drag the heavyweight financials 0.2% lower.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down more than 600 points as a spreading viral outbreak fanned fears about global economic growth, igniting volatility across markets.
Investors have quickly soured on the market in recent days, fearful that the outbreak would have far-reaching implications on the global economy. Unlike corporate earnings or economic data, the long-run impact of the virus is trickier to measure for many investors and analysts, injecting even greater uncertainty into markets.
The blue-chip index dropped 606 points, or 2.1% on Friday. The S&P 500 lost 1.8%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 1.6%.
The week was punctuated by flare-ups in market volatility, a sharp shift from the relatively serene ascent for stocks as they jumped to record after record with astonishing speed in recent months.
The S&P 500 had been on one of its longest stretches without a move of more than 1% since 1969, before the calm shattered to start the week. In a dramatic reversal, the broad stock market gauge is on track to record three moves of at least 1% over the past five days.
Comex lost $1.30, or 0.1%, to settle at $1,587.90 an ounce. Prices for the most-active April contract saw weekly climb of 0.6%, and a rise of about 3.8% for the month, according to FactSet.
In other metals trade, April platinum lost 1.9% at $961.90 an ounce, with most-active contract prices down about 1.6% since the end of December, while March palladium rose 0.4% to $2,224.70 an ounce, for a monthly rise of 16.5%. March copper edged down 0.3% to $2.517 a pound, for a monthly decline of about 10%.
Oil futures ended lower, suffering hefty monthly and weekly declines, as traders assessed the spread of China’s coronavirus and its potential impact on global economic growth and demand for crude.
WTI, the U.S. benchmark, logged a 4.9% weekly fall, which led to a 15.6% January decline, according to Dow Jones Market Data.
The yen strengthened 0.6% against the U.S. dollar as investors sought safety as the coronavirus spread. The S&P fell 1.8% and consumer spending and wage gain growth slowed for December.
European stocks suffered heavy losses as fears about the spread of the coronavirus outbreak unsettled investors. The Stoxx Europe 600 was down 1.1%, the FTSE 100 fell 1.3%, the CAC-40 dropped 1.1% and the DAX was 1.3% adrift.
The Hang Seng Index closed 0.5% lower, as some sectors rebounded slightly, and exchanges in China remained shut. Energy companies led the losses, with Sinopec droppng 2.4%, China Shenhua Energy falling 1.9% and PetroChina shedding 1.7%. Insurers also suffered setbacks as investors expect higher payout spending due to the viral outbreak.
The Nikkei Stock Average ended 1.0% higher at 23205.18 after government data showed Japan’s factory output rose by a better-than-expected 1.3% on month in December.
Indian stocks ended the session lower ahead of the government’s budget announcement Saturday. Energy companies extended the previous day’s declines, once again leading losses. Among the top losers were Oil & Natural Gas Corp., declining 5.8%, Reliance Industries, which fell 2.1%, and Indian Oil Corp., down 3.2%.
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