U.S. Equity Markets started the week strong as investors looked past the potential economic hit from the spreading Coronavirus to prepare for more corporate earnings. The S&P 500 Index rose to a new high Monday, with most sectors advancing. Energy company shares proved the exception, declining as West Texas crude fell below $50 a barrel. Treasuries and European Bonds edged higher, and the US Dollar held steady versus a basket of its major peers. Asia’s main equity gauges fell everywhere apart from Shanghai. Traders monitored the restart of Chinese factories and the possible chaos that may ensue as several hundred thousand people begin returning to work at companies like Apple Inc. supplier Foxconn. General Motors Co. will restart production in China beginning Feb. 15. With cases of the Coronavirus outside of China on the rise and various companies pulling back from international meetings, investors are trying to figure out whether the rate of contagion is stabilizing. In the meantime, monetary authorities across Emerging Markets have stepped in to help shore up the financial system. The People’s Bank of China moved to keep liquidity ample Monday through reverse-repurchase agreements. The Euro declined after the region was buffeted by political headlines. German Chancellor Angel Merkel’s succession plan collapsed, and polls put Sinn Fein in place for a possible role in Ireland’s government, depressing the Country’s banking stocks. European Equities closed higher.
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