U.S. stocks are up today with the Standard & Poor’s 500 climbing 1.19% as of noon New York time and the Dow Jones Industrial Average ahead 0.90%. The NASDAQ was higher by 1.49% but the small cap Russell 2000 slipped 0.20%. The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) gained 0.91%. (The Shanghai Stock Exchange is closed for the New Year holiday and will reopen on Friday, January 31. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange is closed today and will reopen tomorrow, Wednesday, January 29.)
Many of the stocks that got pounded yesterday on coronavirus fears rallied today with JD.Com (COM) up 3.03% as of noon in New York; SolarEdge Technologies (SEDG) gaining 5.07%; China Southern Airlines (ZNH) higher by 1.64%; Nvidia (NVDA) climbing 2.84%; MGM Resorts International (MGM) rising 2.26%; and First Quantum Minerals (FQVLF) moving up 4.89%.
If I’m right that this is a trading bounce, the markets should see gains fade into the close as traders take profits. Wait and see.
One reason that I believe this is a bounce and not a sustained recovery is that the global news on the coronavirus that began in Wuhan, China, continues in a negative vein. High-speed speed rail service between Hong Kong and mainland China will be suspended from Thursday, the Hong Kong leader, Carrie Lam, said today. All cross-border ferry service will also be suspended. That doesn’t sound like the virus is under control or that China is returning to normal. The news out of Germany, Vietnam, and Japan is, however, even more significant to my mind. Each of those countries has reported what seems to be the first case of human to human transmission in that country that does not involve a patient who has personally visited Wuhan but only contact with someone who had been in China. The Japanese case involves a tour bus driver who had driven around two groups of Chinese tourists. The German patient had attended a work-based training event also attended by a woman who only became ill two days later during her return to China. (This would be worrying because it would confirm Chinese findings that people who are showing no symptoms can pass on the disease.) In Vietnam the patient had been in contact with his sick father who had returned from China.