Global Stocks Drift as Coronavirus, Huawei Concerns Dominate
By Avantika Chilkoti
Global stocks wavered Friday as investors weighed the potential
impact of the fast-spreading coronavirus and the fresh tensions
stemming from the U.S.'s battle against China's Huawei Technologies
on economic growth.
Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 0.1%,
while the Stoxx Europe 600 index swung between gains and losses.
Over in Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index closed 0.4% higher.
Investors and public health officials have grown concerned this
week about when the coronavirus outbreak might peak after Chinese
authorities changed the criteria for diagnosis, leading to a
dramatic increase in the new cases. While the surge in reported
figures in Hubei province, the epicenter of the infections, may be
a one-off event, the broader classification rules could mean that
more undiagnosed cases might come to light.
Adding to investor jitters is the prospect of fresh tensions
between Washington and Beijing. Chinese telecommunications giant
Huawei and two of its U.S. subsidiaries were charged with
racketeering conspiracy and conspiracy to steal trade secrets in a
federal indictment unsealed late Thursday. The new charges, which
Huawei called unfair and unfounded, represent fresh measures by
Washington in a campaign to lock Huawei out of next-generation
mobile networks on national security grounds.
Among European equities, Royal Bank of Scotland Group was among
the biggest losers. The stock declined 5.8% after the U.K. bank
reduced the size of its investment banking business and projected
as much as GBP1 billion ($1.3 billion) in costs this year, stemming
from strategic changes it plans to make.
Later in the day, investors will be watching for the latest
retail sales data from the U.S. Commerce Department, which will
provide fresh signs on whether holiday-season spending continued
into the new year. Economists expect to see a 0.3% rise in sales
during January compared with the prior month.
Write to Avantika Chilkoti at Avantika.Chilkoti@wsj.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
February 14, 2020 05:41 ET (10:41 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.