US stocks bounce back after virus-fueled rout

NEW YORK  – Wall Street stocks rebounded on Tuesday (Jan 28) following solid US economic data and mixed earnings as markets kept a watchful eye on developments in the virus outbreak.

Authorities remained fixated on the virus, which has already killed 106 people in and spread to around 15 countries, but investors pivoted from Monday’s rout, apparently concluding the pullback was a buying opportunity.

There “some optimism that’s crept into the market that maybe this coronavirus won’t spread enough out of control to really create a major epidemic crisis,” said LBBW’s Karl Haeling.

One sign of the optimism was strong gains for several travel-oriented stocks, including Marriott International and Wynn Resorts. The latter operates resorts in gambling centre Macau, where there have been confirmed virus cases.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 0.7 per cent at 28,722.85.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 1.0 per cent to 3,276.24, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 1.4 per cent to 9,269.70.

US consumer confidence jumped more than expected in January, according to the Conference Board.

Meanwhile, orders of durable goods in December topped expectations, though some analysts pointed to weakness in the underlying data suggesting vulnerabilities in business investing.

Pfizer slumped 5.1 per cent as it reported a US$337 million (S$457 million) loss in the fourth quarter on lower sales.

Fellow Dow member 3M sank 5.7 per cent as it announced it was cutting 1,500 jobs and took a charge of US$134 million in restructuring expenses. Net income in the fourth quarter fell 28.1 per cent to US$969 million.

Among others reporting results, United Technologies gained 1.2 per cent, Lockheed Martin won 1.1 percent and Harley-Davidson dropped 2.6 per cent.

Apple jumped 2.8 per cent ahead of its earnings report after the market closed Tuesday. A report from Nikkei said Apple had ordered higher iPhone production from suppliers, but said the push could be complicated by the coronavirus.

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