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Jan. 22, 2020, 4:19 p.m. EST

Stocks close steady but off highs with China taking steps to contain possible pandemic

IBM jumps on outlook surprise, Boeing a drag on the Dow

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By Andrea Riquier and Clive McKeef


Getty Images
A number of Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are parked at Southern California Logistics Airport on March 27, 2019 in Victorville, California.

U.S. stocks ended steady Wednesday helped by good earnings reports from technology stocks and news that Chinese authorities were taking steps to contain a possible coronavirus pandemic, relieving investor fears about a threat to global economic growth.

What are major indexes doing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -3.25%  slipped 9.77 points, or 0.03%, to 29,186.27 while the S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -3.08%  closed up 0.96 points or 0.03% at 3,321.75. The Nasdaq Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP -3.42%   was up 12.96 points or 0.14% at 9,383.77.

On Tuesday, the Dow /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -3.25% shed 152.06 points, or 0.5%, to 29,196.04, ending its five-day streak of gains. The S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -3.08% fell 8.83 points, or 0.3%, to 3,320.79 and the Nasdaq Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP -3.42% closed down 18.14 points, or 0.2%, at 9,370.81.

What’s driving the market?

China’s National Health Commission confirmed more than 500 cases of the deadly coronavirus, which causes pneumonia, and 17 fatalities. However, prompt actions by China to contain the respiratory virus, including cutting off travel into and out of the city of Wuhan , where coronavirus originated, provided some comfort that the outbreak will be contained and not result in a pandemic that may affect global economic growth. Officials at the World Health Organization said the emergency committee is split on whether to declare the new coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern.

“It seems that risk sentiment is considering much of the widespread news and talk of a potential SARS 2003 outbreak as predominantly fear mongering, and that the situation will eventually return to normal, as it has historically,” said Bethel Loh, macro strategist at ThinkMarkets, in a note.

See : What the 2003 SARS epidemic tells us about the potential impact of China’s coronavirus on oil and metals

/zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -3.25% In U.S. economic news, sales of previously-owned homes surged nearly 4% in December, confirming the rebound in the sector that many analysts believe will bolster economic growth in 2020.

The Dow has risen for five of the past six weeks, with a year-to-date return in 2020 of 2.27%. The S&P 500 has gained for two consecutive weeks, with a year-to-date return of 2.82% and the Nasdaq has risen for six straight weeks, with a year-to-date return of 4.58%.

“With 2020 off to a strong start and markets looking very overbought, many are asking when we might get a correctio,” Morgan Stanley equities analyst wrote. “We conclude that a correction is overdue, but will likely be contained to 5%.”

Which companies are in focus?

IBM /zigman2/quotes/203856914/composite IBM -2.08%   shares closed up 3.39% after reporting earnings and an outlook that came as a positive surprise for analysts.

Netflix Inc . /zigman2/quotes/202353025/composite NFLX -3.03%  late Tuesday reported a boost to revenue and global net subscriber growth at the end of 2019, but offered a weak outlook for the start of 2020 and the stock lost 3.58%.

Boeing Company  fell 1.39% and was a drag on the Dow, a day after the airplane manufacturer confirmed its 737 Max wouldn’t be up and running until mid-2020, but the company said it would not cut its dividend.

/zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime
US : Dow Jones Global
28,049.77
-942.64 -3.25%
Volume: 350.95M
Feb. 24, 2020 3:43p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime
US : S&P US
3,234.83
-102.92 -3.08%
Volume: 2.06B
Feb. 24, 2020 3:43p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
9,248.64
-327.95 -3.42%
Volume: 2.28M
Feb. 24, 2020 3:43p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime
US : Dow Jones Global
28,049.77
-942.64 -3.25%
Volume: 350.95M
Feb. 24, 2020 3:43p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime
US : S&P US
3,234.83
-102.92 -3.08%
Volume: 2.06B
Feb. 24, 2020 3:43p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
9,248.64
-327.95 -3.42%
Volume: 2.28M
Feb. 24, 2020 3:43p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime
US : Dow Jones Global
28,049.77
-942.64 -3.25%
Volume: 350.95M
Feb. 24, 2020 3:43p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/203856914/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 146.72
-3.12 -2.08%
Volume: 4.12M
Feb. 24, 2020 3:43p
P/E Ratio
13.92
Dividend Yield
4.41%
Market Cap
$132.70 billion
Rev. per Employee
$208,845
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202353025/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 368.54
-11.54 -3.03%
Volume: 5.22M
Feb. 24, 2020 3:43p
P/E Ratio
89.78
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$166.78 billion
Rev. per Employee
$2.22M
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