People stand in front of an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Shares are mostly higher in quiet trading as China closes down for its week-long Lunar New Year festival. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

World markets gain as China closes down for Lunar New Year

January 24, 2020 - 5:08 am

BANGKOK (AP) — Global share prices were mostly higher on Friday as China began a week-long Lunar New Year festival that is being overshadowed by the outbreak of a new virus that has killed 25 people and sickened more than 800.

Germany's DAX jumped 1.3% to 13,562.46 while the CAC 40 in Paris surged 1.4% to 6,055.08 following reports of improvements in manufacturing data. In Britain, the FTSE 100 also gained 1.4%, to 7,615.12. Wall Street likewise looked set for an upbeat open, with the future contracts for the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.3%.

Manufacturing data for the Eurozone reported Friday suggested demand is stabilizing despite weakness in some regions.

As authorities confirmed more cases of the new virus first reported in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, investors continued to monitor developments in the international effort to keep it from spreading further and potentially harming the global economy.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.1% to 23,827.18 and in Hong Kong the Hang Seng gained 0.2% to 27,949.64 in a shortened session. Australia's S&P ASX/200 picked up 2.5 points to 7,090.50, while the Sensex in India rose 0.6%, to 41,622.97.

Markets were closed in Shanghai and the rest of mainland China, South Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan.

The World Health Organization decided Thursday against declaring the viral outbreak in China a global emergency for now. Such a declaration could result in trade and travel restrictions and other economic damage.

Fears of such a possibility have weighed on global markets this week, driving up demand for U.S. government bonds and safe-play stocks.

Market “traders are weighing the anticipated China growth fallout against the backdrop of the current global growth recovery. While the calculus is not coming up roses, it's far from a state of global market panic," Stephen Innes of AxiCorp said in a commentary.

“Still, if risk aversion starts to spread beyond China's borders and starts to affect more than the usual suspect's luxury, travel, and tourism, then we will likely see a more significant dive in the broader global indices," he said.

Major U.S. stock indexes closed mostly higher Thursday, as gains in technology and industrial companies offset declines elsewhere in the market.

Bond prices rose, pulling the yield on the 10-year Treasury lower to 1.73% from 1.77% late Wednesday.

Benchmark crude oil gained 1 cent to $55.60 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell $1.15 to settle at $55.59 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude oil, the international standard, lost 3 cents to $62.01 per barrel. It dropped $1.17 to close at $62.04 a barrel overnight.

Gold fell back, losing $5.10 to $1,560.30. Silver was unchanged at $17.83 per ounce and copper fell 4 cents to $2.73 per pound.

The dollar rose to 109.57 Japanese yen from 109.49 yen on Thursday. The euro weakened to $1.1038 from $1.1056.

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