U.S. Equity Futures Edge Up Amid Virus Scrutiny: Markets Wrap

(Bloomberg) — U.S. equity futures nudged higher on Friday while European stocks rose and shares in Asia were mixed as traders sorted through contrasting data from China on how quickly the coronavirus is spreading. Treasuries advanced.

Contracts for all three main American gauges gradually drifted up, with chipmaker Nvidia Corp. rising in the premarket after making a strong revenue forecast. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index turned higher on gains by real estate and utility shares. Major Asian equity markets climbed except for those in Tokyo and Mumbai. Oil continued its rebound, pushing above $52 a barrel in New York. The euro steadied near a two-and-a-half-year low after data showed the region’s economy grew a scant 0.1% in the fourth quarter, matching forecasts. The dollar was steady.

While Beijing reported a smaller increase in cases in the virus’s epicenter of Hubei than for the previous day, they were still bigger than before the counting methodology was changed. That clouded the picture of curbing the pandemic in a week that’s been marred by Chinese airlines putting workers on leave and firms such as drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc warning of a tougher outlook because of the novel disease.

Nonetheless, stocks globally are headed for a second successive week of gains as investors anticipate a possible V-shaped economic recovery from the virus, even as the effects continue to be felt. E-commerce giant Alibaba Group warned that the disease is having a fundamental impact on China’s economy, and nearly 86,000 domestic and international flights in and out of China were canceled Jan. 23-Feb. 11, or 34% of scheduled services.

“The difficulty with trading these things is timing — and right here, right now, we are not through the woods yet with the coronavirus,” said Kyle Rodda, market analyst at IG Markets Ltd. “You look for those signals to suggest that effectively we are looking at that kind of V-shaped recovery that is still potentially on the cards.”

Hubei reported almost 5,000 new cases, a day after confirming nearly 15,000. The death toll in China was at 1,380, lowered by more than 100 to account for some double-counting. Earlier, the World Health Organization said a surge in diagnoses didn’t necessarily indicate a spike in infections, which had helped to lift risk appetite.

Elsewhere, havens including gold and the yen were steady.

These are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

Futures on the S&P 500 Index gained 0.1% as of 11:32 a.m. London time.Nasdaq 100 Index futures rose 0.2%.The Stoxx Europe 600 Index jumped 0.3%.The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dipped 0.1%.The MSCI World Index was little changed.

Currencies

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed.The euro was little changed at $1.0842.The Japanese yen was little changed at 109.81 per dollar.South Africa’s rand strengthened 0.7% to 14.8509 per dollar.

Bonds

The yield on 10-year Treasuries declined two basis points to 1.60%.Germany’s 10-year yield dipped one basis point to -0.40%.Britain’s 10-year yield fell three basis points to 0.625%.Japan’s 10-year yield climbed one basis point to -0.027%.

Commodities

West Texas Intermediate crude rose 1.6% to $52.22 a barrel.Gold was little changed at $1,576.20 an ounce.LME aluminum declined 0.9% to $1,733 per metric ton.Iron ore dipped 0.3% to $85.80 per metric ton.

–With assistance from Adam Haigh.

To contact the reporter on this story: Todd White in Madrid at twhite2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sam Potter at spotter33@bloomberg.net

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