Stock Markets Wobble as Coronavirus Kills More Than 1,300, Infects More Than 60,000

Stock markets around the world rebounded in the last eight days as investors looked forward to the end of the coronavirus epidemic.  But Thursday in Asia brought grim news as China announced 242 new deaths and 14,840 new infections. The news sent equity markets lower as investors reset their expectations of when the health scare will end.

Michael McCarthy, chief strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, said:

“The slowdown was the key driver of the rally in growth-exposed assets that we’ve seen over the past 24 hours…a lot of people leapt to the conclusion that we might have seen a peak.  The reversal of what appeared to be good news is enough to have people scrambling for the exits.”

Chinese January car sales are expected to fall 18%, marking the 19th month of declines, as the virus keeps shoppers off the showroom floors.  As Valentine’s Day approaches, restaurants are preparing for another holiday with few sales.

The total number of deaths stands at 1,350, with more than 60,000 infected, but those numbers still appear at odds.  If the death to infection rate outside of China is accurate at 1%, then total infections are probably closer to 135,000.

Passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship might be disembarking, moving to Japanese government housing to complete their quarantine.  Another 40 passengers were confirmed as ill with the virus.

 

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