Chinese stocks crash as Wuhan coronavirus fears rampage through markets

Reuters

  • Chinese stocks plunged on Monday as Wuhan coronavirus continues to spread.
  • The CSI 300 index fell as much as 9.1%, its worst opening in almost 13 years.
  • C hinese markets had been closed since January 23 due to the Lunar New Year holiday.
  • “These are massive moves but entirely as expected,” one analyst said.
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China’s benchmark stock index plunged as much as 9.1% on Monday – its worst opening in almost 13 years – as investors took cover from the fast-spreading Wuhan coronavirus.

The CSI 300, made up of 300 stocks listed on the Shanghai or Shenzhen exchanges, closed nearly 8% lower on its first day of trading since January 23-after an extended Lunar New Year holiday. The decline marked its steepest one-day drop since August 2015, the Financial Times reported.

Nearly 3,500 stocks slumped by the daily limit of 10%, Bloomberg estimated. Their losses wiped away $US400 billion in combined market capitalisation, Reuters reported. The biggest fallers included consumer, transportation, and financial stocks such as Tsingtao Brewery, China Eastern Airlines, and Citic Securities.

“The situation in China looks pretty dire,” Neil Wilson, chief market analyst for Markets.com, said in a morning note. “This has the hallmarks of a black swan event in the making – we simply don’t know yet what the impact will be.”

The People’s Bank of China plowed the equivalent of $US171 billion dollars into the nation’s financial system, the Financial Times said. The central bank also trimmed lenders’ borrowing costs in an effort to temper the selloff.

The Wuhan coronavirus has infected more than 17,000 people, killed 360, and spread to more than two dozen countries including the US, UK, India, and Russia.

Here’s the market roundup as of 9:50 a.m. in London (4:50 a.m. in New York):

  • Chinese stocks closed lower with the Shanghai Composite down 7.7% and the SZSE Component down 8.3%. Japan’s Nikkei slid 1%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was flat.
  • European equities opened higher with Germany’s DAX and Britain’s FTSE 100 up 0.3%, and the Euro Stoxx 50 up 0.2%.
  • US stocks are poised for a positive open. Futures underlying the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 rose 0.3%, while Nasdaq futures climbed 0.5%.
  • Oil prices dipped with West Texas Intermediate down 0.1% at $US51.50 and Brent crude down 0.7% at $US56.20.

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