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US open: Stocks record small gains as earnings overshadow coronavirus fears

Fri 24 January 2020 15:25 | A A A

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(Sharecast News) - Wall Street stocks recorded some small gains at the bell on Friday despite the World Health Organization branding the Wuhan coronavirus an "emergency in China" the day before.

As of 1530 GMT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite were both up 0.10% at 29,188.26 and 9,412.34, respectively, while the S&P 500 started out the session 0.02% firmer at 3,326.12.

The Dow opened 28.17 points higher on Friday after closing out the previous session with a mixed performance as the spread of the Chinese coronavirus continued to dampen the mood in global capital markets.

While the World Health Organization labelled the outbreak an emergency in China, the specialised agency stopped short of calling it a global public health emergency.

Markets had been somewhat subdued since the outbreak, with the death toll now reaching 25 and the number of confirmed cases exceeding 830.

CMC Markets' David Madden said: "The situation is getting worse in China as the number of confirmed infections and deaths has increased, but the fact the international health body said it is not yet a worldwide emergency, has lifted market confidence.

"Stocks declined recently for fear the situation would turn into a global crisis, but the update from the WHO has acted as a green light to the bulls."

In corporate news, American Express shares were up 3.50% in early trade after reporting fourth-quarter results that came in ahead of expectations on the street as card fee revenues topped estimates, while Intel shares climbed more than 8% after its fourth-quarter numbers topped estimates and gave an optimistic outlook for the first quarter of 2020.

On the data calendar, IHS Markit's manufacturing purchasing managers index dropped to a three-month low in January, while the services PMI improved to its highest level since March 2019.

The flash manufacturing PMI fell to 51.7 in January from the 52.4 recorded a month earlier, while the services PMI increased to 53.2 from 52.8 in December.

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