Wuhan virus alarm bells rattle regional markets

Business | 10 Feb 2020 10:14 am

Stocks and oil fell while safe-haven gold gained today as the death toll from China's coronavirus outbreak surpassed the SARS epidemic, raising alarm bells about its severity.
As many as 908 people have so far died in China's central Hubei province as of Sunday with most of the new deaths in the provincial capital of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan stumbled by 0.7 percent to be on track for its second straight day of loss. Japan's Nikkei 225 average fell by 0.8 percent while South Korea's KOSPI was off 1.4 percent and Australian shares
eased by 0.5 percent.
The losses extended from Wall Street on Friday where the Dow fell by 0.9 percent, the S&P 500 declined by 0.5 percent while the Nasdaq dropped 0.5 percent. E-mini futures for S&P 500 were down by 0.3 percent on Monday.
"Expect markets to be sensitive to virus headlines. In this environment, we favor defensive positioning," ANZ economists wrote in a note. "Markets will be sensitive to coronavirus news, as factories
and ports in China reopen. The extent to which that is achievable will indicate the level of ongoing disruption," they added.-Photo: Chinatopix via AP.


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