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.
/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?
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.