Virus fears drive sell-off in stocks, oil, yuan


  • Markets
  • Monday, 27 Jan 2020

"Any economic shock to China’s colossal industrial and consumption engines will spread rapidly to other countries through the increased trade and financial linkages associated with globalization, ” Stephen Innes, chief Asia market strategist at Axitrader, wrote in a note Monday. "I’m starting to think cash is the right place to be for the next few weeks.”

TOKYO: Deepening fears about the economic and human impact of the deadly coronavirus sent stocks, crude oil and China’s yuan tumbling Monday, and spurred haven assets higher.

Futures on Chinese shares fell more than 5% and the yuan erased this month’s trade-deal driven gains in wake of news that the virus continues to spread, with no peak in sight. Contracts on the S&P 500 Index fell more than 1% before paring losses, while Japanese equities and European futures retreated over 1%. Ten-year Treasury yields and West Texas crude both hit their lowest levels since October. The yen climbed.

"Any economic shock to China’s colossal industrial and consumption engines will spread rapidly to other countries through the increased trade and financial linkages associated with globalization, ” Stephen Innes, chief Asia market strategist at Axitrader, wrote in a note Monday. "I’m starting to think cash is the right place to be for the next few weeks.”

China announced an extension of its Lunar New Year holiday through Feb. 2 to help battle the spread of the disease. The death toll from the virus has risen to at least 80, and confirmed cases in the U.S. rose to five on Sunday.

Beijing also suspended the sales of package tours, hitting firms around the world that rely on Chinese travelers’ spending. Air transport providers were the worst performers in Japan’s session, while stocks in Thailand slid as much as 3%. The moves come on a day with limited trading options in Asia, as holidays closed markets in locations including China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Australia.

The virus news is coinciding with an earnings season in full swing. Apple, Facebook and Samsung are among those due to report this week. Investors will also have a Federal Reserve policy meeting and Mark Carney’s last monetary policy decision as the Bank of England‘s governor to monitor.

Here are some events to watch out for this week:

Tech giants Apple, Facebook, SAP, Samsung and South Korean chip maker SK Hynix announce earnings, as do industrial and energy behemoths International Paper, Boeing, Caterpillar, Lockheed Martin, GE, Unilever, United Technologies, Exxon Mobil, Shell and Chevron.

The Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump continues in Washington Monday.

Fed policy makers are expected to open 2020 the same way they closed 2019: by holding interest rates steady Wednesday.

The BOE meeting is highly anticipated Thursday after a series of dovish comments raised speculation it could lower interest rates.

The U.S. reports fourth-quarter economic growth Thursday.The U.K. is scheduled to leave the European Union Friday.These are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

S&P 500 futures fell 1% as of 2:49 p.m. in Tokyo. The S&P 500 Index fell 0.9% Friday.Euro Stoxx 50 futures dropped 1.3%.Japan’s Topix sank 1.6%.FTSE China A50 futures slid 5.6%.Currencies

The offshore yuan fell 0.5% to 6.9672 per dollar.The Japanese yen rose 0.2% to 109.08 per dollar.The euro was little changed at $1.1028.Bonds

The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell four basis points to 1.64%, on top of a five basis-point drop Friday.Japan’s 10-year yields fell about two basis points, to about -0.044%.Commodities

West Texas Intermediate crude declined 2.3% to $52.93 a barrel.Gold rose 0.5% to $1,579.58 an ounce. - Bloomberg

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