Tuesday February 18th


European stocks advance as traders monitor coronavirus; Stoxx 600 touches record high

The U.S. markets are closed today due to Presidents Day. European stocks advanced Monday morning, remaining just below record highs, after China’s central bank cut interest rates in a bid to aid its economy amid the coronavirus outbreak. The pan-European Stoxx 600 added 0.5% to eke out a new record high in early trade, autos climbing 2.1% to lead gains as all sectors and major bourses entered positive territory. Asia Pacific markets traded mixed on Monday as investors continued to assess the potential economic fallout from the pneumonia-like coronavirus that’s infected more than 70,000 people and killed over 1,700. Chinese shares on the mainland rose: The Shanghai composite rose 2.28% to 2,983.62, the Shenzhen composite was up 3.18% to 1,835.96 and the Shenzhen component added 2.98% to 11,241.50. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.58% in late afternoon trade. Elsewhere, Japanese shares fell, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 down 0.69% to 23,523.24 and the Topix index off by 0.89% to 1,687.77. South Korea’s Kospi index declined 0.06% to 2,242.17. Singapore’s Straits Times index was down 0.23%. Oil prices were little changed on Monday as concerns over the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak in China were offset by hopes that potential output cuts from major producers could tighten crude supply. Brent crude was at $57.24 a barrel, down 8 cents, by 1140 GMT after rising 5.2% last week, its biggest weekly gain since September 2019. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude rose 2 cents to $52.07 a barrel, after a 3.4% gain last week. Gold prices on Monday eased from a near two-week high, as a monetary policy intervention by China’s central bank to limit the economic impact from the coronavirus outbreak reassured investors and boosted demand for higher-risk assets. Spot gold fell 0.3% to $1,580.27 per ounce, as of 1051 GMT. U.S. gold futures shed 0.2% at $1,583.30.