Wall Street hesitates, wondering about the coronavirus and economic data

Wall Street ended in scattered order on Friday, continuing to remain vigilant against the coronavirus and digesting contrasting statistics on the American economy.

Its flagship index, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, lost 0.09% to 29,398.08 points.

The highly technological Nasdaq took 0.20% to 9,731.18 points, and the S&P 500, which represents the 500 largest companies on Wall Street, rose 0.18% to 3,380.16 points.

According to Peter Cardillo of Spartan Capital, this half-hearted session is notably due to the three-day weekend in the United States. The main American financial markets will be closed until Tuesday morning, Monday February 17 being a public holiday in the United States.

“Nobody wants to put money on the line before the long weekend,” says Cardillo.

“Since nobody knows what can happen with the coronavirus, investors are being restrained,” he added.

The assessment of the epidemic of the new coronavirus approached the 1,400 deaths in China on Friday, where nearly 64,000 cases of contamination have now been recorded.

However, the main New York indexes made substantial gains for the whole week, the Dow Jones appreciating by 1.0%, the Nasdaq by 2.2% and the S&P 500 by 1.6%.

The risks linked to the economic impact of the virus have not particularly hampered the rise of the New York coast in recent weeks.

“This could change dramatically if macroeconomic news deteriorates sharply in China and the United States,” said Cardillo, however.

– Contrasting indicators –

Brokers also digested a burst of indicators on the American economy on Friday.

Retail sales in the United States rose 0.3% in January from December, according to data from the Commerce Department. This increase is in line with analysts’ expectations.

However, these same sales were revised down for November and December, notes Chris Low of FHN Financial.

“This is not a good omen for the first quarter of 2020,” said the expert.

Industrial production in the United States, for its part, fell again in January (-0.3%), weighed down by the cessation of production of the Boeing 737 MAX, flagship model of the American aircraft manufacturer, according to data. published by the Federal Reserve (Fed).

As for consumer confidence for February, it improved in February, according to the preliminary survey by the University of Michigan, while analysts had predicted a decline.

Friday’s Wall Street session was also fueled by CNBC reports that the White House is considering implementing a series of tax incentives to encourage Americans to invest more in the equity market.

On the bond market, the 10-year rate on the US debt fell around 9:30 p.m. GMT, standing at 1.586% against 1.617% the day before at the close.

Among the values ​​of the day, the chip maker Nvidia climbed 7.0% after releasing on Thursday after the close, its results for the fourth quarter of 2019 and its outlook for the first quarter of 2020, far exceeding analysts’ expectations.

These good results could “benefit the entire technology sector”, judge Josh Selway of Schaeffer.

Roku, which makes multimedia boxes for watching content on the Internet, fell 6.3%. The group posted lower than expected profits.

Expedia, the tour operator, jumped 11.0% after reporting higher-than-expected profits.

Mattel lost 3.1%. The toy maker announced larger-than-expected savings when it released its quarterly and annual results, but its fourth-quarter revenue declined more than market expectations.

According to Factset, nearly 80% of S&P 500 companies have reported their quarterly results. Taking into account their figures and estimates of the companies still to publish, their earnings per share should increase on average by 0.93% in the fourth quarter. At the start of the results season, they were expected to decline 2%.

-dho / jum / evs