Markets are reeling again on Thursday, after the U.S. reported its first coronavirus case involving a person who didn’t travel to an infected country, and didn’t knowingly interact with someone who did. Experts are becoming increasingly resigned to a worldwide spread of the disease, even as China’s new infections slow.
7:55 a.m. ET: ‘The battle has been lost’: Here’s why China, HK rallied
After weeks of relative complacency, investors are now aggressively pricing in the possibility of a worldwide spread of the coronavirus. Ah, some might ask, but why did China and Hong Kong markets rise (Tokyo, South Korea and Taiwan all shed at least 1% in offshore trading)?
In a note to clients, Bannockburn Global Forex’s Marc Chandler hits the nail on the head:
A new phase of the Covid-19 is at hand. Yesterday was the first time that the number of new cases in the world surpassed the number of new cases China acknowledged. This confirms what we have known, namely that the battle for containing it in China has been lost.
Peter Boockvar at Bleakley Advisory Group was of the same mind:
While the S&P 500 is approaching its 200 day moving average of 3045 and the Euro STOXX 600 is basically sitting on its, interestingly the China H share index and the Hang Seng index both closed higher overnight. Maybe reflecting the belief that the rest of the world has to deal with this virus while the worst has passed in the region it first came from. Both are still down 5% year to date and lower on the week but I just wanted to point that out.
The coronavirus has been forcing multinational companies to assess the potential negative impact on their businesses. Wednesday evening, tech giant Microsoft (MSFT) warned that it would likely miss its revenue forecast for its personal computing business due to the illness, pushing its shares 3% lower in pre-market trading Thursday.
7:25 a.m. ET: Stock futures sink; Dow futures fall 250 points
Here were the main pre-market moves, as of 7:25 a.m. ET:
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,082, down 28.25 points or 0.91%
Dow futures (YM=F): 26,659, down 255 points or 0.95%
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 8,770.25, down 80 points or 0.90%
Crude oil (CL=F): $47.55 per barrel, down $1.18 or 2.42%
Gold (GC=F): $1,651 per ounce, up $7.90 or 0.48%
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the first U.S. case of coronavirus from unknown origin in Northern California. The agency said that it is unclear how the patient contracted the virus, because there is no travel history or exposure to an infected individual.
The new case in the U.S. comes after President Donald Trump held a news conference Wednesday evening addressing the coronavirus. Trump noted that the risk to the U.S. was “very low” and announced that Vice President Mike Pence would lead the U.S. response to the outbreak. The president also mentioned the stock market and said that markets should comeback from their recent rout.
There are over 82,500 cases of coronavirus worldwide and more than 2,800 deaths, as of Thursday morning. At least 47 countries are affected by the virus globally, and while South Korea is still the most heavily affected outside of China, other countries are beginning to take serious measures. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered that all school remain closed through March.
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