Skip to Content
Money

Asian markets are higher, but the coronavirus still looms over businesses

Asian markets are continuing to recover after being shaken by coronavirus fears.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.3% Wednesday, building on Tuesday’s modest rebound. But the index has still not recovered from its heavy losses Monday, when it plunged nearly 8% and recorded its worst single-day performance since 2015.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 advanced 1% on Wednesday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.3%, while South Korea’s Kospi moved up 0.4%.

Several companies that have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak also made gains Wednesday, though there are still concerns about how the virus could impact business in the long term.

Shares of Macao casino operators rebounded in Hong Kong after recording losses Tuesday, when the Macao government said it would suspend casino and gambling businesses for two weeks. A total of 41 entertainment operations in Macao have been closed for 15 days starting from Wednesday, according to a government statement.

Sands China and Galaxy Entertainment were last up 0.5% and 1%, respectively.

Cathay Pacific jumped 3.3% in Hong Kong, a day after the city’s flagship airline said it would progressively cut flights to mainland China by 90% as demand fell sharply because of the outbreak. The stock is still down about 11% this year, though.

Other airline stocks also recovered in Asia. Major Chinese carriers climbed in both China and Hong Kong. Air China’s Shanghai-listed stock was the top gainer among them, up 4.4%. Qantas Airways, the flagship carrier of Australia, rose 0.8% in Sydney.

Meanwhile, a flood of data released Wednesday showed somewhat promising signs for major economies in Asia despite the spreading coronavirus.

Private survey data released Wednesday showed that while China’s services sector grew in January, it did so at a slower pace than the month before. The Caixin services purchasing managers index registered at 51.8 in January, down from December’s 52.5. A reading above 50 indicates growth from the previous month.

The data is still “impressive,” since it covers the initial outbreak of the virus and the mass shutdowns in China over the Lunar New Year, according to Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst for Asia Pacific at Oanda.

He said in a research note that economic data out of Japan and Singapore was also positive.

“Altogether, this morning’s January data implies that Asia is showing a degree of unexpected resilience,” Halley said, though he refrained from predicting when the outbreak may reach its peak.

CNN