SYDNEY, Australia – Most Asian stock markets extend losses on Monday as coronavirus recorded more deaths compared to the SARS epidemic from two decades ago, while Chinese stocks increased as the country returns to work.
Despite the increasing death toll from the virus epidemic, Chinese officials lifted a select few of the previous travel and work restrictions, helping companies to resume their operations, which led to Chinese stock gains for the day.
During the early trading session in the European market, the Euro Stoxx 50 futures slipped by 0.1%, including the FTSE futures and the German DAX futures. Meanwhile, the US stock futures were a bit more optimistic for the day following the S&P 500 index going up by 0.2%.
On the other hand, the death toll due to coronavirus has increased, now reaching more than 900 as of Sunday. Most of the deaths due to the virus were recorded in the central Hubei province in China, particularly at the Wuhan, which is also regarded as the outbreak’s epicenter.
Previously, the Chinese government had canceled flights, ordered lockdowns, and closed schools in several cities in hopes of containing the virus. However, workers started going back to factories and offices on Monday, though most workplaces stayed close.
MSCI’s largest index of Asia-Pacific stocks excluding Japan gained back some of its earlier declines but still ended the session 0.4% lower. The Nikkei index in Japan went down by 0.6%, while the KOSPI index in South Korea dropped by 0.5%. The benchmark index in Australia, on the other hand, edged a shade for the day.
Among the shares in the Asian stock market, only Chinese indexes gained during the session. The blue-chip index increased by 0.5%, while the SSE Composite index in Shanghai added 0.3%.
According to a stockbroker and analyst at Argonaut, James McGlew, the turnout in the Chinese stock market was largely due to the news that businesses in the country were resuming their operations.
McGlew, however, also said that the concerns about the negative effects of the spreading virus hadn’t been entirely quantified. He stated that the recent easing of restrictions is more looking like a symbolic gesture instead of a clear sign that the government is at the top of the virus situation.
The losses in the Asian stock markets on Monday extended from Friday’s decline in Wall Street, with the Dow Jones dropping by 0.9%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also went down by 0.5% last week.
According to ANZ economists, the market will stay largely sensitive to any headlines regarding the virus epidemic moving forward.