Asian markets followed Wall Street on Friday after an increase in new coronavirus cases outside mainland China, refueling investors’ anxiety about the outbreak.
The virus has claimed more than 2,200 lives and has infected over 75,000 people, mostly in China, and spread panic around the world.
While Beijing claims it’s epidemic control efforts are working, the rising death toll and new cases registered outside Asia’s largest economy have rattled the investors.
A batch of warnings from companies over the impact of the virus on bottom lines including Danish ship operator Maersk and Air France-KLM also fanned anxiety and dented hopes it would have only a short-term impact on earnings and economic growth.
“It took Apple to do what the coronavirus couldn’t make stocks feel a little queasy,” said Stephen Innes of AxiCorp, referring to the tech giant’s warning Monday that it would miss its quarterly revenue forecast because of the illness.
“The market seemed to absorb the initial Apple shock in its typically pleasant manner, but it’s the aftershocks when corporate America starts waving the warning flags in tandem that could prove to be the biggest gut check.”
On the other hand, markets in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney retreated and traders moved their investments to bonds and gold, much safer and traditional way of investment.
A MarketWatch’s report the stats of the Asian and other markets, “Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 NIK, -0.39% gave up meager early gains, falling 0.1%. The Kospi 180721, -1.49% in Seoul fell 1%. New Zealand NZ50GR, +0.07% , Taiwan Y9999, -0.33% and Southeast Asian markets JAKIDX, -1.01% FBMKLCI, -0.25% also retreated.”
Mainland China’s key Shanghai Composite Index was flat following central bank efforts to cushion the impact of the virus on the world’s second-largest economy where manufacturing activity has been hit hard.
On Thursday, China again changed its method of counting patients with the virus. As a result, it reported a big drop in the number of new infections.
It was the second revision of criteria in just eight days and the flip-flopping “did not help the mood” of investors, noted Rodrigo Catril of National Australia Bank.
The National Health Commission reported 889 new cases on Friday, up from the previous day.
(With input from agencies)