Stocks edge up with positive chipmaker forecast, oil gains for the week

Investors were still trying to gauge the economic fallout of China’s coronavirus outbreak, with Chinese health authorities reporting more than 5,000 new cases yesterday. — Reuters pic
Investors were still trying to gauge the economic fallout of China’s coronavirus outbreak, with Chinese health authorities reporting more than 5,000 new cases yesterday. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, Feb 15 — Global stock markets rose slightly yesterday as investors bet on a lull in proliferation of the coronavirus, while oil prices registered their first weekly gain since early January.

Wall Street climbed late in the session following a CNBC report, citing sources, that the White House was considering a tax incentive for Americans to buy stocks.

Investors were still trying to gauge the economic fallout of China’s coronavirus outbreak, with Chinese health authorities reporting more than 5,000 new cases yesterday.

“You saw some late programme trading,” said Rick Meckler, partner at Cherry Lane Investments in New Vernon, New Jersey. The stock market “has met every attempt to sell it off with more (buying), and the hope of some of the people buying late is that the news on the virus would be muted for the three days, and that with three days’ time, there will be just a little less anxiousness about it.”

The US market will be closed on Monday for Presidents Day.

A recent Reuters poll showed the world’s second-biggest economy will grow at its slowest pace in the current quarter since the financial crisis, but the downturn will be short-lived if the outbreak is contained.

Some investors said they thought the economic impact of the outbreak would not be as deep as feared, with some also noting the spread beyond China has not been as rapid as feared.

“Investors are definitely keeping an eye on how much the coronavirus is spreading and where it spreads to. It still remains the biggest risk going forward,” said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist and senior portfolio manager at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.06 per cent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 25.23 points, or 0.09 per cent, to 29,398.08, the S&P 500 gained 6.22 points, or 0.18 per cent, to 3,380.16 and the Nasdaq Composite added 19.21 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 9,731.18.

Chipmaker Nvidia late Thursday forecast first-quarter revenue that topped Wall Street expectations.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.13 per cent.

Oil prices rose more than1 per cent on the day and posted their first weekly gain since early January amid hopes demand will rebound.

Brent crude rose 98 cents, or 1.74 per cent, to settle at US$57.32 (RM 237.39) a barrel. It rose 5.23 per cent since last Friday, its first weekly increase in six weeks. US crude futures gained 63 cents, or 1.23 per cent, to settle at US$52.05. The weekly rise was 3.44 per cent.

In currency markets, the dollar index rose 0.09 per cent, with the euro down 0.09 per cent to US$1.083.

But concerns about growth in the eurozone are expected to keep weighing on the single currency.

US Treasury yields declined as investors bought safe-haven government debt ahead of the long holiday weekend after soft retail sales data.

US Commerce Department data showed US consumer spending appeared to have slowed further in January, with sales at clothing stores declining by the most since 2009, which could raise concerns about the economy’s ability to continue its moderate expansion.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 9/32 in price to yield 1.5883 per cent, from 1.617 per cent late on Thursday.

In the precious metals market, US gold futures settled up 0.5 per cent at US$1,586.40. — Reuters

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