NEW YORK, N.Y. – The coronavirus continues to wreak havoc in the world’s stock markets. Despite the ongoing fears, investors chose to focus on the earnings reports scheduled to be released this week, particularly that of Apple, eBay, and Starbucks.
US futures inched up while European stocks dipped as investors took stock of the recent global efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
The three main benchmarks of the United States trimmed their gains after it was reported that Hong Kong is closing some border checkpoints and limiting train services and flights to and from the mainland.
Europe started the week with a bloodbath as 97% of stocks listed in the Stoxx 600 were in the red. Many of these companies fell from record highs and effectively erased 180 billion euros in capital from the region’s index. But European shares recovered slightly today, with the Stoxx 600 trading 0.3% higher.
Asian stock markets are still being hammered by the Wuhan virus. Shares in Japan dropped for the second day, with the Nikkei 225 slipping 0.85%. The South Korean market remained sluggish after the Lunar New Year holiday while the S&P/ASX of Australia went down 1.26%.
Hong Kong trading operations is set to be back on Wednesday. However, China’s markets might resume operations next week.
Shares in airlines, tourism, and luxury goods have all plummeted. Meanwhile, traders have again turned to safe-haven assets like government bonds and gold.
While investors remain vigilant on the virus outbreak, they’ve also turned their focus on several earnings report due to be released this week. Apple, Lockheed Martin, and United Technologies reports are scheduled to be released today.
Apple’s first fiscal quarter is typically the company’s biggest quarter when it comes to revenue. The quarter covers the holiday season and is also the first whole quarter with sales from the iPhone 11.
Investors and analysts will be monitoring the report to gauge how well Apple’s latest products are performing in the market.
Boeing, Facebook, and GE will reveal their earnings on Wednesday while it will be International Paper, Samsung Electronics, Shell, and Unilever’s turn on Thursday. Reports from Caterpillar, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, and South Korea’s SK Hynix will wrap up the week.
Despite the enthusiasm for Apple’s earnings figures, there remains the sense that the virus will disrupt international businesses and the global economy.
Two strategists from DBS Group Holdings Ltd., Eugene Leow and Philip Wee, explained in a note that it’s unlikely that risk appetite will improve until there’s definitive news that the outbreak is under control. They added that the dearth of positive new is keeping investors and traders on the defensive.