Global stocks, oil fall as coronavirus fears grip markets

Oil prices fell after hundreds of new coronavirus cases were reported in Europe and the Middle East, while the New York state report added to the concern that energy demand would decline. — Reuters pic
Oil prices fell after hundreds of new coronavirus cases were reported in Europe and the Middle East, while the New York state report added to the concern that energy demand would decline. — Reuters pic

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NEW YORK, Feb 27 ― Stocks and oil prices resumed their fall yesterday after a local authority said over 80 people were being monitored for the novel coronavirus in New York State's Long Island, adding to concern over spread in Europe and the Middle East.

Financial markets have been reacting to news of the virus' spread because of the potential impact of the disease's outbreak on the global economy.

US and German bond yields resumed their fall while gold prices rose.

Health officials in Nassau County, New York, said yesterday that they were monitoring 83 people who visited China and may have come in contact with the coronavirus, but Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state has had no confirmed cases so far.

“We need to more information before markets have a further correction or get comfortable things won't escalate further,” said Jason Draho, head of Americas asset allocation at UBS Global Wealth Management, New York.

“Markets will be very jumpy until there's increasing confidence the virus is abating and that it won't be a global pandemic,” he said.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 80.13 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 27,001.23, the S&P 500 lost 5.18 points, or 0.17 per cent, to 3,123.03 and the Nasdaq Composite added 29.90 points, or 0.33 per cent, to 8,995.52.

Emerging market stocks lost 1.31 per cent. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 1.23 per cent lower, while Nikkei futures rose 0.82 per cent.

Oil prices fell after hundreds of new coronavirus cases were reported in Europe and the Middle East, while the New York state report added to the concern that energy demand would decline.

“It's still all about the virus here,” said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho in New York. “It's going to be hard for risk assets to gather momentum.”

US crude fell 2.2 per cent to US$48.80 (RM206.22) per barrel and Brent was last at US$53.53, down 2.58 per cent on the day.

The benchmark yield on 10-year US notes touched a fresh record low of 1.301 per cent and last rose 1/32 in price to yield 1.3287 per cent, from 1.33 per cent late on Tuesday. The 30-year bond matched its Tuesday record low and last fell 9/32 in price to yield 1.8148 per cent, from 1.803 per cent.

The dollar ticked up from a two-week low hit the previous session, though moves in major currencies were muted for the most part as investors remained cautious. Sterling gave up Tuesday's sharp gains.

The dollar index rose 0.073 per cent, with the euro up 0.08 per cent to US$1.0888.

The Japanese yen weakened 0.14 per cent versus the greenback at 110.38 per dollar, while Sterling was last trading at US$1.2908, down 0.74 per cent on the day.

Spot gold added 0.5 per cent to US$1,643.59 an ounce. Copper lost 0.43 per cent to US$5,660.50 a tonne. ― Reuters

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