Feb 13, 2020: The global stock market rally continued Wednesday and Wall Street hit new records thanks to ebbing fears of widespread economic impact from the viral outbreak in China.
Even as the death toll from the new coronavirus epidemic in China climbed past 1,100, investors' were buoyed as the number of new cases fell for a second straight day, raising hopes the outbreak could peak later this month.
Markets also got a boost from comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell who repeated his generally upbeat outlook for the US economy in two days of testimony, confirming there is little interest in raising interest rates.
All three major US stock indexes closed at records while the broad-based S&P 500 and the tech-rich Nasdaq also closed at highs for the third straight day.
US politics also is starting to get the attention of markets, after leftist Senator Bernie Sanders came away with a victory in the New Hampshire Democratic primary on Tuesday.
“We're breaking all records. The glass is absolutely full of everything the markets could possibly want,” Gregori Volokhine of Meeschaert Financial Services said.
Markets in Europe were similarly buoyant, with the DAX 30 in Frankfurt rising to a record close and Paris finishing at its highest level this year.
The virus known as COVID-19 emerged in central China late last year and has spooked equity and oil markets for weeks as it spread to more than two dozen countries.
There are expectations that Beijing will introduce major stimulus policies to offset economic hits, however, Karl Haeling of LBBW said “getting consumers and businesses back to full operating mode will take time.”
International Monetary Fund chief Kristalina Georgieva said she expects to see a “V-shaped” impact from the virus, with a “dramatic decline” in activity in China and a sharp recovery, meaning there likely will only be a “mild impact on the rest of the world.”
US planemaker Boeing, however, issued a stark warning, saying there was “no question” the would hammer the aviation industry and the broader economy.
Major airlines have halted flights in and out of the country, and several countries have banned arrivals from China.
With economic concerns easing, Brent crude oil rallied by more than four percent on Wednesday while safe-haven investment gold retreated.
The OPEC oil cartel lowered its forecast for growth in global oil demand this year by nearly a fifth due to the outbreak in China.