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U.S. Stocks May Open Lower As Traders Closely Watch Coronavirus News

wallstreet oct19 21feb20 lt

With traders keeping a close eye on developments regarding the coronavirus outbreak, stocks are likely to move to the downside in early trading on Friday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a lower open for the markets, with the Dow futures down by 100 points.

The downward momentum on Wall Street comes as Chinese officials reported 1,109 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, up sharply from 349 cases the previous day.

South Korean health authorities also reported 52 new cases of the fast-spreading disease, raising the national tally to 156, while the number of confirmed cases in Japan increased by 23 to 728.

Stocks have recently shown some volatility in reaction to the daily headlines regarding the number of newly confirmed coronavirus cases.

A number of companies have warned about the impact of the coronavirus, with Coca-Cola (KO) forecasting the outbreak will trim 1 to 2 cents per share off its first quarter earnings.

Selling pressure may be somewhat subdued, however, as traders generally remain optimistic that the outbreak will eventually be contained.

Not long after the open, the National Association of Realtors is scheduled to release its report on existing home sales in the month of January. Economists expect existing home sales to slump by 1.8 percent in January after jumping by 3.6 percent in December.

Stocks regained some ground after a late-morning sell-off but still ended Thursday's trading mostly lower. With the drop on the day, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 pulled back off Wednesday's record closing highs.

The major averages all finished the day firmly in negative territory. The Dow dropped 128.05 points or 0.4 percent to 29,219.98, the Nasdaq slid 66.21 points or 0.7 percent to 9,750.96 and the S&P 500 fell 12.92 points or 0.4 percent to 3,373.23.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index fell by 0.4 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index slumped by 1.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets are turning in a lackluster performance. While the German DAX Index is just below the unchanged line, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index are both down by 0.1 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are sliding $0.76 to $53.12 a barrel after rising $0.39 to $53.88 a barrel on Thursday. Meanwhile, after climbing $8.70 to $1,620.50 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are jumping $24.50 to $1,645 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 111.88 yen versus the 112.10 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Thursday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.0809 compared to yesterday's $1.0785.

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