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Coronavirus, existing home sales: What to know in markets Friday

Heidi Chung
Reporter

Investors will continue to monitor the coronavirus outbreak Friday as the number of cases in the U.S. skyrocket.

As of Thursday afternoon, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported more than 191,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally and more than 7,800 deaths. Market volatility has persisted in recent weeks, but stocks clawed back Thursday. The Dow (^DJI) rose 188 points, while the S&P 500 (^GSPC) gained 0.47% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq (^IXIC) jumped 2.3%.

Sign on home for sale from realtor Legacy Real Estate Associates in the San Francisco Bay Area, San Ramon, California, December 12, 2019. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

The economic data releases remain light on Friday. Ahead of the market open, investors will get a peek at the U.S. housing market with the release of existing home sales data for the month of February.

Economists polled by Bloomberg predict existing home sales during February totaled a seasonally adjusted 5.55 million units, up from 5.46 million units in January. Supply issues have been weighing on the existing home market as of late. COVID-19 is the latest concern to pressure on the housing market even with the low interest rate environment.

“The key question now of course is whether the interest in buying a home remains strong after the steep declines in financial markets and worries about how COVID-19 will manifest themselves in the economy,” Wells Fargo wrote in a note to clients March 13. “Lower mortgage rates might entice on-the-fence homebuyers to take the plunge, but despite Treasury yields having hit all-time lows in recent weeks, mortgage rates haven’t budged.”

Heidi Chung is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @heidi_chung.

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