Saturday, 15 February 2020

Markets mixed as coronavirus death toll rises again

Markets were mixed on Friday.

The S&P 500 rose 0.2 percent to another all-time high but the STOXX Europe 600 fell 0.1 percent.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite rose 0.4 percent but the Nikkei 225 fell 0.6 percent.

US economic data on Friday were mixed. The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index rose to 100.9 in February from 99.8 last month but industrial production fell 0.3 percent in January, the fourth decline in the past five months.

Meanwhile, the China coronavirus, now officially known as COVID-19, claimed another 121 lives and 5,090 new cases, according to the latest report from China.

Rob Subbaraman, head of global macro research at Nomura, sees a possibly deep downturn in the economy. “The economic data we start getting for February could be a lot worse than people think,” he said.

Indeed, Singapore, with one of the highest reported number of confirmed cases outside China, sees a possible recession.

And Japan, which has reported fewer cases, may actually be experiencing a “stealth outbreak”, with new cases being found to have no connection with China, suggesting transmission within Japan's borders.

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