Daily market review

United States

US stocks fell back in seesaw trading on news New York State would shut down non-essential business as coronavirus cases continued to spread and economic disruptions widened. The Dow industrials dropped 4.6 percent, the S&P 500 fell 4.3 percent, and the NASDAQ lost 3.8 percent.

Markets reacted badly when New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he would order all non-essential workers to stay home, and all non-essential businesses to close. California issued a similar order, while other states, including New Jersey, were reportedly considering similar shutdowns. US officials continued negotiations over the size and contours of the US bailout package.

Outperforming were travel & leisure, semiconductors, software, homebuilders, pharma, and insurance, while home & personal care, retail, tobacco, chemicals, and asset managers lagged. Energy stocks also suffered as oil prices resumed their selloff after Thursday's bounce.

Among companies in focus, Boeing fell 2.7 percent on reports it may cut its dividend and announce big layoffs. Coca-Cola fell 8.4 percent after saying it would not meet its guidance. AT&T fell 9 percent after cancelling share buybacks.

In US economic data, existing home sales peaked just before the coronavirus emergency hit, up 6.5 percent in February to a much stronger-than-expected 5.770 million annual rate.

These data reflect observations at 4:00 PM US ET: Dated Brent spot crude oil fell 77 cents to US$27.51, while gold rose US$5.30 to US$1,486.70. The US dollar rose against major currencies. The US Treasury 30-year bond yield fell 32 basis points to 1.47 percent while the 10-year note yield fell 27 basis points to 0.89 percent.


Equities rebounded Friday as beaten-up shares found buyers and markets focused on more government stimulus measures, including a huge UK relief package. The Europe-wide STOXX 600 rose 1.8 percent, the German DAX rallied 3.7 percent, the French CAC jumped 5 percent, and the UK FTSE-100 rose 0.8 percent.

Travel & leisure and energy shares led the gains, as sectors that have suffered the most on coronavirus disruptions bounced back. Other outperforming sectors included real estate, construction, autos, and industrials. Laggards included media, health care, telecom, utilities, and consumer staples.

Among companies in focus, Hapag-Lloyd, a German shipping company, rose 4.6 percent on upbeat earnings, Interroll, the Swiss conveyor-belt maker, surged 24 percent, also on an earnings beat. On the downside, Rightmove, a UK property broker, fell 11.3 percent after warning about the impact of the coronavirus.

Asia Pacific

Major Asian markets closed higher Friday, in some cases outpacing gains made on Wall Street Thursday, but still only partly recovering from heavy losses earlier in the week. The regional data calendar was light Friday and major developments relating to the global coronavirus outbreak also relatively limited during the trading session.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index advanced 4.9 percent on the day but closed the week down 5.2 percent while the Shanghai Composite index advanced 1.6 percent on the day to finish down 4.9 percent on the week. Australia's All Ordinaries index closed slightly higher on the day Friday, up 0.9 percent, but was among the weakest performers in the region over the week, falling 13.2 percent. Japanese markets were closed Friday for a national holiday, with the Nikkei and Topix indices closing the week down 5.0 percent, and up 1.7 percent, respectively.

The People's Bank of China left the one-year loan prime rate unchanged at 4.05 percent at its monthly review Friday, with the equivalent five-year rate also unchanged at 4.75 percent. Officials lowered these rates by 10 basis points and 5 basis points respectively last month and also reduced banks' reserve requirements earlier this month as part of efforts to support liquidity and lower financing costs. State media, reporting on today's decision to leave the loan prime rate on hold, argued that "flexible and prudent monetary policy" is currently allowing lenders to support the Chinese economy as it deals with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

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