New York ( Jan 31, 2020):Stocks fell Thursday on fears that an increasingly severe outbreak of coronavirus originating in central China may damp prospects for global economic growth.
Futures tied to the S&P 500 index fell 0.7%. Europe also saw a selloff, with the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 gauge dropping 0.9%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 2.6%, retreating for a second day after reopening following the Lunar New Year holidays, while benchmark equity indexes in both South Korea and Japan dropped 1.7% by the end of trading.
So far, more than 7,700 people, mostly in China, have been infected and 170 individuals have died from the new coronavirus since it was identified in December. The quickly spreading virus is weighing on the economic outlook of China, Hong Kong and other countries, as global and domestic travel is curtailed and companies close factories, cancel flights and take other steps to contain the virus’s spread.
The World Health Organization, which earlier decided not to classify the coronavirus spread as a global emergency, has called for a meeting later in the day as it reassess its view of the situation. If the WHO sounds an alarm, that could trigger more market declines.
“We have yet to see the bottom,” said Alex Au, managing director at Alphalex Capital Management, a Hong Kong-based hedge fund. He said the “climax of the contagion” could occur when the holiday period ends next week and many people in China return to work. Markets on the mainland are scheduled to remain closed until Feb. 3.
( forwarded by Vũ Quốc Duy M.D.)