Asian stocks were mixed as investors mulled updates on the deadly coronavirus outbreak. Treasuries dipped, while oil steadied after its recent slide.

Early gains in Tokyo fizzled and Hong Kong opened flat, while shares in Sydney ticked higher. U.S. stock futures were steady after the S&P 500 eked out a small advance helped by gains for big tech companies. As officials in China widened their travel ban beyond the epicenter of the outbreak, the World Health Organization stopped short of calling the virus a global health emergency, saying it remains a local crisis. The yuan edged up while the yen held Thursday’s rise.

Markets in mainland China and South Korea are shut, and Hong Kong closes early, for lunar new year holidays.

While investors remain cautious with global stocks trading close to all-time highs, corporate earnings are topping expectations and slew of data this month has validated forecasts for a recovery in the global economy. Still, traders remain cognizant of the chance the virus develops into a more devastating pandemic like the SARS illness that emerged in China 17 years ago.

“The scare should eventually prove to be a buying opportunity, but the market would first need evidence that the situation is stabilizing," wrote Citgroup Inc. emerging market strategists including Dirk Willer in a note Thursday. “ In spite of the Chinese authorities being more open and proactive this time, we are probably closer to the beginning than to the end of the outbreak."

Elsewhere, the euro held losses seen in wake of a suggestion from policy makers that they will need to maintain ultra-loose stimulus settings for the foreseeable future.

These are the main moves in markets:


Futures on the S&P 500 Index added 0.1% as of 10:25 a.m. in Tokyo. The underlying gauge rose 0.1% on Thursday.

Japan’s Topix index dipped 0.1%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.1%.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.3%.


The yen was at 109.52 per dollar, little changed.

The offshore yuan rose 0.1% to 6.9264 per dollar.

The euro bought $1.1054, little changed.


The yield on 10-year Treasuries edged up to 1.74%.

Australia’s 10-year yield dipped one basis point to 1.09%.


  • West Texas Intermediate crude oil added 0.1% to

My Reads Logout