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Markets Close Week Mixed

Global markets were mixed on Friday, with the US notching its worst performance in six months as investors in the region become increasingly concerned by the coronavirus outbreak. However, European, UK and Asian markets managed gains as investors in the region were able to look past coronavirus fears and appreciate solid economic data.

US stocks close week in the red

Equities in the US experienced their worst day since October as investors appear to be using the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus outbreak as an opportunity to move away from riskier assets, particularly given the recent market rally. The S&P 500 capped off its worst week in six months by falling -0.9%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed lower by -0.6% and the Nasdaq Composite snapped a six-week winning streak after losing -0.9%.

Intel’s shares surged +8.1% after reporting revenues in its data centre and cloud computing segments jumped higher, helping the company forecast better-than-expected FY20 earnings. Shares of Broadcom added +1.4% after entering an agreement with Apple (-0.3%) for the supply of wireless components used in its products, sending shares of rivals Skyworks Solutions (-4.6%) and Qorvo (-4.5%) deep into the red. Healthcare stocks were the worst performers in the market, led by losses from Bristol-Myers Squibb (-4.1%), Amgen (-4.0%), Illumina (-2.3%), Pfizer (-2.2%), Biogen (-2.1), AbbVie (-2.0%), Mckesson (-1.6%) and Gilead Sciences (-1.2%). Looking ahead, next week provides a plethora of notable earnings released, such as Apple, (-1.2%), Facebook (-0.8%), Tesla (-1.3%), Starbucks (-1.8%), McDonald’s (-1.0%), Boeing (+1.7%) and Caterpillar (-1.7%).

European and UK stocks shake off coronavirus fears

European equities rebounded nicely as investors ignored coronavirus fears to refocus on the current earnings season, which sees a big batch of important results coming through in the next week, both in Europe and the US. The Stoxx Europe 600 closed +0.9% higher, mostly helped by gains from the German market after the DAX surged +1.4%, led by gains in shares of Infineon Technologies (+2.2%).

The UK’s FTSE 100 climbed +1.0% higher on easing coronavirus fears, strong economic data out of both the UK and some of its European peers, and solid corporate earnings. Gains in the UK were broad based, however, it was the industrial and utility sectors that really stood out in the region, led by gains in Pennon (+2.3%) and National Grid (+2.0%).

Asian markets that weren’t closed made modest gains

Asian markets were mostly closed on Friday in celebration of the Lunar New Year, which kicked off on Saturday, however, the markets that remained open made modest gains. The Hang Seng and Nikkei 225 each added +0.1%, while the Singapore Strait Times climbed +0.2%.

The ASX 200 closed flat.

Crude and iron ore down, gold up

WTI crude fell -2.5% to US$54.12 and iron ore lost -US$0.40 to US$96.80/MT, while gold rose +0.6% to US$1,571.53.

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