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Futures Pointing To Roughly Flat Open On Wall Street

The major U.S. index futures are currently pointing to a roughly flat opening on Monday, with stocks likely to show a lack of direction following the pullback seen last Friday.

Traders may be reluctant to make significant moves amid uncertainty about the impact of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

The Chinese government revealed Sunday night that a total of 40,171 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed, with 908 people dying from the disease.

However, Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged to win the first against the outbreak, saying China will speed up the development of drugs aimed at treating the deadly pneumonia-like virus.

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has voiced concerns about the spread from people with no travel history to China, saying, "We may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg."

A lack of major U.S. economic data may also keep some traders on the sidelines ahead of the release of reports on consumer prices, retail sales and industrial production later this week.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is also due to head up to Capitol Hill in the coming days for his semi-annual testimony to Congress.

Powell is slated to testify before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday and the Senate Banking committee on Wednesday.

After moving sharply higher over the course of several sessions, stocks gave back some ground during trading on Friday. The major averages all moved to the downside after ending last Thursday's trading at record closing highs.

The Dow tumbled 277.48 points or 0.9 percent to 29,102.29, the Nasdaq slid 51.64 points or 0.5 percent to 9,520.51 and the S&P 500 fell 18.08 points or 0.5 percent to 3,327.70.

Profit taking contributed to weakness on Wall Street, as some traders looked to cash in on the strong upward move seen in recent days.

Lingering concerns about the coronavirus also re-emerged after traders shrugged off the worries about the outbreak to drive stocks higher.

However, selling pressure was somewhat subdued following the release of a report from the Labor Department showing stronger than expected job growth in the month of January.

The Labor Department said employment jumped by 225,000 jobs in January following a revised increase of 147,000 jobs in December.

Economists had expected employment to rise by 160,000 jobs compared to the addition of 145,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

Despite the stronger than expected job growth, the unemployment rate inched up to 3.6 percent in January from 3.5 percent in December. Economists had expected the employment rate to remain unchanged.

Commodity, Currency Markets

Crude oil futures are edging down $0.15 to $50.17 a barrel after sliding $0.63 to $50.32 a barrel last Friday. Meanwhile, an ounce of gold is trading at $1,576.90, up $3.50 from the previous session's close of $1,573.40. On Friday, gold rose $3.40.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 109.73 yen compared to the 109.75 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Friday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.0945 compared to last Friday's $1.0946.


Asian stocks fell broadly on Monday as worries about the coronavirus outbreak outweighed the boost from strong U.S. employment data.

With the virus outbreak showing no signs of slowing, the head of the World Health Organization has warned about the potential for more cases beyond China.

Chinese shares advanced as authorities lifted some work and travel restrictions, helping businesses to resume operations after long delays.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose by 14.52 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,890.49, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index shed 0.6 percent to finish at 27,241.34.

Japanese stocks fell notably, with coronavirus concerns and weak corporate earnings weighing on the markets ahead of a holiday on Tuesday. The Nikkei 225 Index fell 142 points, or 0.6 percent, to 23,685.98, while the broader Topix closed 0.7 percent lower at 1,719.64.

E-commerce company Rakuten fell 1.5 percent after reports of a raid by the country's antitrust officials. Toray Industries declined 2.3 percent after the manufacturer of fibres and plastics cut its annual profit outlook. Camera maker Nikon plummeted 5.8 percent on positing weak earnings.

Meanwhile, Leopalace21 soared over 15 percent after the scandal-tainted apartment builder reported a recovery in occupancy.

On the economic front, official data showed that Japan posted a current account surplus of 524.0 billion yen in December, up 12.8 percent from last year. That exceeded expectations for a surplus of 464.7 billion yen following the 1,436.8 billion yen surplus in November.

Australian markets fell slightly, dragged down by miners and energy companies as deaths from the coronavirus outbreak crossed 900.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 10.10 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,012.50, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended down 13.40 points, or 0.2 percent, at 7,108.

Mining heavyweight BHP lost about 1 percent, while rival Rio Tinto ended marginally lower. Energy stocks such as Oil Search, Woodside Petroleum and Origin Energy fell between 0.6 percent and 1.7 percent. The big four banks ended with modest losses.

Boral plunged 10.7 percent after the company said an investigation had found inflated earnings at its North American window-making business.

On the other hand, JB Hi-Fi shares soared 11.5 percent as a strong Christmas helped the electronics retailer lift first-half profit and boost its interim payout to shareholders.

Gold miner Evolution Mining jumped 7.7 percent, Newcrest Mining rallied 2.2 percent and Northern Star Resources rose 1.2 percent as gold climbed for a fourth straight day.

Rail freight operator Aurizon Holdings climbed 2.6 percent as it reported a 19 percent increase in net profit for the first half of the year.

Seoul stocks ended lower as investors continued to fret about the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak in China that has killed more than 900 people. The benchmark Kospi ended down 10.88 points, or 0.5 percent, at 2,201.07.


European stocks have edged lower on Monday amid rising concerns over the severity of the coronavirus outbreak, which has infected more than 40,600 people globally.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus voiced concern over the spread from people with no travel history to China, saying, "We may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg."

Investors also kept an eye on political developments in Ireland, where Prime Minister Leo Varadkar was re-elected by a narrow margin as a member of the lower house of the Irish parliament in the country's general election.

While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index has dipped by 0.2 percent, the German DAX Index is down by 0.3 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.4 percent.

Shares of Air France KLM have moved to the downside on the day after the airline passenger traffic figures for January.

Workspace Group has also dipped. The real estate investment trust has announced the appointment of David Benson as Chief Financial Officer, effective April 1.

On the other hand, NMC Health has soared after saying it has received two preliminary approaches from private equity firms.

Exor, which controls Fiat Chrysler, has also jumped after confirming Sunday that it is in exclusive talks to sell reinsurer PartnerRe to France's Covéa.

Daimler has also moved to the upside. German newspaper Handelsblatt reported that the luxury carmaker plans to cut up to 15,000 jobs to reduce costs.

U.S. Economic Reports

No major U.S. economic data is scheduled to be released today, although reports on consumer prices, retail sales and industrial production are likely to attract attention in the coming days along with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's testimony on Capitol Hill.

Stocks In Focus

Shares of L Brands (LB) are moving significantly higher in pre-market trading after a report from CNBC said the retailer is close to a deal to sell Victoria's Secret to private equity company Sycamore Partners.

Computer and printer maker HP Inc. (HPQ) is also likely to see initial strength on news Xerox (XRX) has raised its offer to acquire the company to $24 per share from $22 per share.

On the other hand, shares of Eli Lilly (LLY) may come after pressure after the drug maker said a trial of its experimental treatment for a form of Alzheimer's failed to meet its primary endpoint.

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