US close: Stocks attempt bounce despite lingering coronavirus fears

Andrew Cummings
February 3, 2020

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted Friday, closing down 603 points amid fears over the growing coronavirus outbreak in China. Amazon reached $1 trillion market capitalization for its second time in history after announcing blockbuster earnings Thursday.

The death toll in China in the coronavirus attained 361 on Sunday, exceeding that of the SARS virus which lasted from 2002 into 2003, though a first departure beyond China was reported from the Philippines.

The fears have also struck just as investors believed economic growth would re-accelerate around the world, thanks in large part to interest-rate cuts and other bold actions by the Federal Reserve and other central banks around the world.

Chinese stock markets will reopen Monday for the first time since January 23, resuming trading after the Lunar New Year holiday break.

A trader works at New York Stock Exchange in New York, the United States, Jan. 31, 2020.

Still, the major U.S. indexes remain on track to end January with gains.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 gained 0.2%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 275 points, or 0.9%.

The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing sector index hit a reading of 50.9 for January following December's print of 47.8. Manufacturing has been a weak spot for the US economy, which has continued growing over the past year largely on the strength of consumer spending.

The pound slid after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out tough terms for European Union talks, rekindling fears Britain would reach the end of an 11-month transition period without reaching a trade deal. Monday was the first day of trading in more than a week for the center of the viral outbreak, and the losses would likely have been bigger if not for moves by Chinese authorities, including the pumping of $173 billion into the financial system.

The dollar was flat around 108.95 Japanese yen.

Gold, which posted its best month in five in January, slid 0.81% to $1,576.80 an ounce.

In the USA, an early look at the S&P 500 sectors shows communication services (+1.2%) and consumer discretionary (+1.2%) with strong early gains, while energy (-0.9%) is the lone group trading lower as crude oil continues to decline; WTI March crude -1.1% to $50.97/bbl.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury was unchanged at 1.52% while yield on the 30-year Treasury fell 0.89% to 1.997%.

Oil prices fell. Brent crude fell $2.17 to settle at $54.45 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell $1.45 to settle at $50.11 a barrel.

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