Stocks gain as data shows lower new coronavirus cases

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Stock markets around the world scaled fresh records after China reported the lowest number of new coronavirus cases since late January, boosting investor hopes the epidemic will be contained and driving up the price of crude oil and other commodities.

China confirmed 2,015 new cases of the deadly virus, the lowest daily increase since Jan. 30 as the total rose to 44,653. The report eased financial market concerns about the potential impact to both the Chinese and global economies.

The dollar hit a fresh four-month high even as Dale Fisher, a global expert associated with the World Health Organization, warned the toll was just beginning elsewhere.

Copper climbed on the belief that China, the world’s biggest metals consumer, faces a short but sharper economic shock than originally thought. But how harsh the impact will be varies widely.

Markets are clearly encouraged by the moderating trajectory of new and suspected cases of the virus, as well as the continued support of Federal Reserve monetary policy, said David Joy, chief market strategist at Ameriprise Financial.

Renewed enthusiasm among investors also is being driven by the resumption of earnings growth and a global economic recovery that was becoming evident before the coronavirus outbreak, Joy said.

However, investor enthusiasm may be tested once economic data from late January and February begins to roll in, he said.

“By a number of measures, valuations are quite extended, making this rally something of a leap of faith,” Joy said. I would not argue with anyone wishing to bank some of their profits.”

Stock indexes around the world again hit new highs, including the three major Wall Street gauges, MSCI’s world index, the pan-European STOXX 600, Germany’s DAX, the S&P/TSX in Canada and the S&P/NZX 50 in New Zealand.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe .MIWD00000PUS gained 0.54% and emerging market stocks rose 0.92%.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.56% and the DAX .GDAXI rose 0.77%.

On Wall Street, The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 206.07 points, or 0.7%, to 29,482.41. The S&P 500 .SPX gained 18.05 points, or 0.54%, to 3,375.8 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 61.89 points, or 0.64%, to 9,700.83.

North Sea Brent crude, the global benchmark, rose more than 3% on hopes that fuel demand in China, the world’s second-largest oil consumer, may begin to recover.

Brent crude LCOc1 gained $1.72 to $55.73 a barrel while West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, CLc1 rose $1.29 to $51.23 a barrel.

Spot gold XAU= added 0.1% to $1,568.75 an ounce.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York, U.S., February 6, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Overnight in Asia, mainland Chinese and Hong Kong shares rose almost 1% .CSI300. The offshore-traded yuan reached two-week highs CNH=D3. The Thai baht, Korean won and Taiwanese dollar, reliant on Chinese tourism and trade, gained 0.3% to 0.5% THB= KRW= TWD=.

The dollar index .DXY rose 0.13%, with the euro EUR= down 0.17% to $1.0895. The Japanese yen .JPY= weakened 0.24% versus the greenback at 110.07 per dollar.

Benchmark 10-year notes US10YT=RR fell 13/32 in price to yield 1.6333%.

Additional reporting by Stanley White in Tokyo, editing by Larry King and Chris Reese

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