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US stocks mixed over fear of China virus

US stocks mixed over fear of China virus

NEW YORK: US stocks posted mixed results on Friday, capping a week that saw all indices hit records then recede before bounding back amid fears over the new coronavirus outbreak.

Wall Street has been eyeing the outbreak in China that has spread widely, infecting nearly 64,000 people and killing almost 1,400, raising fears of a sustained disruption of the global economy.  Meanwhile, economic statistics released Friday did little to spur the markets, although key companies including Nvidia and Expedia posted solid results.

The benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 0.1 percent at 29,398.08 points.

The tech-rich Nasdaq posted a gain of 0.2 percent at 9,731.18 points, while the broad-based S&P 500 also rose 0.2 percent to 3,380.16 points. The muddled close was a contrast from Thursday, when all three indices closed in the red, and Wednesday, when all finished at record highs.

“It´s a mixed session,” said Peter Cardilla of Spartan Capital Securities, who pointed to a Monday holiday in the United States. “No one wants to commit money before the long weekend.” Nonetheless, the major indices made substantial gains over the week as a whole, with the Dow up one percent, the Nasdaq growing 2.2 percent and the S&P 500 up 1.6 percent.

The US Commerce Department earlier in the day reported a 0.3 percent increase in retail sales in January compared to December, as expected. Industrial production statistics released by the Federal Reserve showed a drop of 0.3 percent over the same period, blamed on Boeing´s decision to shut down production lines for its grounded 737 MAX aircraft, data that Cardilla said underlined the mixed nature of the trading day.

A solid earnings report from graphics card manufacturer Nvidia pushed its price up seven percent, while similarly positive results from online travel company Expedia led to a gain of 11 percent. Markets will reopen on Tuesday, and investors are looking forward to fourth quarter results from Walmart, the largest private US employer.