Fundamental Comment

Asian stocks fall as Corona's global reach expands

Asian stocks fall as Corona's global reach expands

Asian stock indexes fell at the close of trading on Friday, with Japanese stock index recording their worst weekly performance in four years, amid growing concerns about the rapid spread of Coronavirus outside China.

Nikkei 225 index slumped 3.7 percent to 21,142.96, the lowest close since September 5, also posted weekly losses of 9.6 percent or 2,243 points, which is the biggest weekly decline in nearly four years.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index decreased 2.42 percent to 26,129.93, while the Shanghai Composite Index closed 3.71 percent down at 2,880.30.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 finished 3.25 percent down at 6,441.20, while South Korea’s Kospi index descended 3.30 percent to 1,987.01.

The rise in the number of MERS-CoV infections outside China has led to a sharp sell off in global equities this week, as investors weighed the economic impact of the deadly virus.  

China's National Health Commission reported 327 new confirmed cases and 44 new deaths yesterday, bringing the total number in China to 78,824,000 and 2,788 deaths.

South Korea has confirmed 256 new cases of MERS-CoV, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 2,022, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Yesterday, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned all countries, stressing that everyone needs to be prepared to fight the rapidly spreading corona globally.

On the economic front, everyone agreed that there would be damage to global growth this year, with the negative repercussions concentrating in the first half of 2020.

Meanwhile, the dollar index, which measures the performance of six major currencies against the US dollar, retreated 0.30 percent at 97.99, the lowest since February 5.

US stocks closing

U.S. stock indexes continued to fall at the close of the day as the Dow jones lost nearly 1200 points to endure its worst points fall ever, where it plunged 4.4 percent to 25,766.

The S&P 500 tumbled 4.4 percent to 2,978.7 points and the Nasdaq Composite slipped 4.64 percent to 8,566.4.

On the other hand, safe haven gold retreated today to $1635 an ounce amid profit taking by investors, but the yellow metal is poised to its third straight monthly gain.

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