PRETORIA – It seems that the coronavirus is still well and alive, this despite a surge in equity prices during last week. It was thought by many investors that the level of contamination of the virus could be isolated and reduced.
This anticipation together with favourable US economic data and the news that China will cut tariffs on a variety of US imports had led to equity prices recovering to almost the pre-virus levels.
US share indices indeed reached new record levels on Thursday. The news, however, that the death toll by the virus had reached 634 on Friday, with new cases reported climbing by 3 000 a day putting the world total number of people infected on 31 000, had markets contracting strongly again on Friday.
The US equity markets reacted negative on this news and the Dow Jones Industrial Index opened 170 points lower on Friday as concern about the economic impact of the coronavirus overshadowed data showing a strong US jobs market.
The US created another 225 000 new jobs in January, beating expectations of 165 00 by a great margin. The unemployment rate remains on 3.6 percent.