BEIJING: Global stock markets followed Wall Street lower Friday after a spike in new virus cases in South Korea refueled investor anxiety about China’s disease outbreak.
Benchmarks in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney retreated and London and Frankfurt opened lower. Shanghai advanced. Traders shifted money into bonds and gold, a traditional safe haven.
Bond markets are “sounding a warning on global growth” as virus fears spread to South Korea, Singapore and other economies, DBS analysts said in a report.
Markets had been gaining on hopes the outbreak that began in central China might be under control following government controls that shut down much of the world’s second-largest economy. Sentiment was buoyed by stronger-than-expected U.S. economic data and rate cuts by China and other Asian central banks to blunt the economic impact.
But investors were jarred by South Korea’s report of 52 new cases of the coronavirus, raising its total to 156, most of them since Wednesday. That renewed concern the infection is spreading in South Korea, Singapore and other Asian economies.
In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London sank 0.5% to 7,402.58 and Frankfurt’s DAX lost 0.4% to 13,606.41. France’s CAC 40 tumbled 0.6% to 6,019.63.
On Wall Street, the future for the benchmark S&P 500 index retreated 0.4% and that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.5%.
In Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 declined 0.4% to 23,386.74 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng sank 1.1% to 27,308.81. In Seoul, the Kospi lost 1.5% to 2,162.84.
The Shanghai Composite Index bucked the regional trend, climbing 0.3% to 3,039.67.
The S&P-ASX 200 in Sydney lost 0.3% to 7,139.00. New Zealand advanced while Southeast Asian markets declined.