Asian stocks mix as the economic toll of the virus worsens


BEIJING (AP) – Asian stocks were winding Thursday after a White House warning that 240,000 Americans could die from the coronavirus, Wall Street has plummeted and signs of the global economic cost of the epidemic have increased.

Benchmarks in Tokyo and Hong Kong opened lower but traded higher at noon, and losses at the start of trading were less than the 4.4% decline in Wall Street overnight. Shanghai opened but gained 0.3% in the middle of the morning while Seoul gained 1.9%.

Futures in the United States were higher.

The US warning has added to the anxiety of investors trying to determine the duration and depth of this historic global economic slowdown.

“Fear, fear and more fear have come to the market,” said Jingyi Pan of IG in a report.

Traders say markets will be turbulent until the number of new cases decreases, but Pan said “still seems to be far away.”

The White House rocked the financial markets by announcing on Wednesday that 100,000 to 240,000 Americans could die from the virus even if the country avoided shopping, dining out and other public activities until April.

The Governor of Florida has become the last to issue a statewide home stay order.

The Tokyo Nikkei 225 lost 0.3% to 18,007.46, adding to the 4.5% loss the previous session. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong climbed 0.2% to 23,135.25.

The Shanghai composite index gained 2,743.64. The Kospi in Seoul rose to 1,716.60 while the S & P-ASX 200 in Sydney fell 1.8% to 5,162.20.

The benchmarks in New Zealand and Southeast Asia also declined.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 benchmark lost 114.09 points Wednesday to 2,470.50.

The index comes out of its worst quarter since 2008 with a loss of 20%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 4.4% to 20,943.51. The Nasdaq composite fell 4.4% to 7,360.58.

The hardest hit sectors of the market were banks, utilities and other dividend payers.

Department store icon Macy’s has lost 74% so far in 2020. Much of its market value has disappeared to the point that it was removed from the S&P 500 Index of large American companies, effective Monday . It is moved to the small actions index.

Investors in the United States have been shocked by growing evidence of the impact of the virus on big business.

On Wednesday, Whiting Petroleum, one of the largest oil shale drillers in the Bakken Formation in North Dakota, filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code.

Auto makers also reported a sharp drop in sales in March, including a 43% drop for Hyundai.

Mortgage applications fell 24% from the previous year after the doors closed.

A report released Wednesday said that private employers in the United States had cut 27,000 jobs last month, although this is milder than expected. The survey used data from March before the number of people claiming unemployment benefits had skyrocketed.

Economists expect the next batch of jobless claims in the United States, to be reported on Thursday, will exceed the total of nearly 3.3 million initial claims last week. It was five times the previous record.

“The number of unemployed is expected to increase and growth over 1 hour will be strongly affected,” said Mizuho Bank in a report.

The number of infections is on the rise despite disease controls that have shut down much of the global economy.

There are more than 911,000 confirmed cases worldwide, led by the United States with more than 206,000, according to a count from Johns Hopkins University.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, which go away within two to three weeks. For some, especially the elderly and people with existing health conditions, this can cause more serious illnesses, including pneumonia and death.

Last week, the United States Congress agreed to a $ 2.2 trillion economic assistance package and the Federal Reserve promised to buy as many treasury bills as needed to keep credit markets running smoothly.

Legislators are gathering ideas for a possible new aid cycle. President Donald Trump tweeted his support for a $ 2 trillion infrastructure package. But the best Republicans in Congress say they want to see how well their newly approved programs work.

In the energy markets, benchmark US crude gained 96 cents to $ 21.28 per barrel in electronic commerce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude oil, used to determine the price of international oils, rose $ 1.51 to $ 26.25 a barrel in London.

The dollar gained 107.45 yen against 107.15 yen on Wednesday. The euro fell to $ 1.0936 from $ 1.0965.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here