US stocks end higher as markets monitor virus

US stocks end higher as markets monitor virus

Wall Street Jan30
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks finished higher on Thursday (Jan 30), advancing after the World Health Organisation declared the coronavirus an international emergency but did not recommend restrictions on the movement of people.

Stocks had spent much of the session in the red, but pushed higher on the WHO announcement, a sign "the worst-case scenario was off the table" as far as what the international body might recommend, said Patrick O'Hare of

The market's reaction "might seem counter-intuitive," O'Hare added, but by not recommending restrictions on people and goods, the emergency announcement "seemingly helped reduce concerns that other countries, particularly large developed economies, might follow China's lead in also restricting the movement of people and goods."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 124.99 points (0.43 per cent) to finish the day at 28,859.44.

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 10.26 points (0.31 per cent) to close at 3,283.66, and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 23.77 points (0.26 per cent) to 9,298.93.

The gains came on a heavy day for earnings and as the Commerce Department reported that US growth for 2019 came in at 2.3 per cent, a solid level, but the slowest since 2016.

Among individual companies, Tesla rocketed up 10.3 per cent as fourth-quarter earnings topped expectations and the company characterised 2019 as a "turning point" after years of losses.

The electric car manufacturer plans to deliver more than a half million vehicles in 2020, 36 per cent more than 2019.

But Facebook plunged 6.1 per cent despite reporting higher quarterly profits. Analysts cited slowing growth and disappointment with elements of the company's forecast.

Cigarette maker Altria slumped 4.3 per cent after announcing a US$4.1 billion write-down of its Juul investment, further slashing the value of the once high-flying e-cigarette company, which faces lawsuits and a regulatory crackdown.

Among other companies reporting results, Microsoft gained 2.8 per cent, Coca-Cola jumped 3.3 per cent, Mondelez surged 7.8 per cent and UPS fell 6.8 per cent.

Source: AFP/de