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Stocks slide as coronavirus worries overshadow blowout jobs report

Jonathan Garber

U.S. equity markets tumbled Friday as coronavirus concerns outweighed the strong jobs report.

Even with the pullback, stocks still gained on the week and are hovering near all-time highs.

The early selling came despite the January non-farm payrolls report showing the U.S. economy added 225,000 jobs in January as the unemployment rate ticked up to 3.6 percent. Economists surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting the economy to add 160,000 jobs.

The strong report was released after the latest figures showed the coronavirus outbreak, which originated in Wuhan, China, has sickened 31,400 people worldwide and killed 638. Early Friday, Chinese President Xi Jinping told President Trump that he remains confident of overcoming the outbreak.

Looking at stocks, cruise operators fell after multiple reports said a Royal Caribbean ship docked in New Jersey had at least a dozen Chinese nationals in isolation awaiting testing for the coronavirus.

Airlines were also trading lower.

On the earnings front, Uber reported a fourth-quarter loss of $1.1 billion, but shares spiked after CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the company will post an adjusted profit in 2020, sooner than expected. The stock notched one of its strongest days on record.

Pinterest’s annual revenue topped $1 billion in 2019, but the social-media company’s first annual profit remained elusive, losing $63 million for the year. Yet shares rallied as Pinterest’s annual revenue forecast exceeded expectations.

Canada Goose lowered its 2020 profit and revenue forecasts, citing the coronavirus outbreak as having a “material negative impact” on its fiscal third-quarter quarter results.

Elsewhere, Credit Suisse shares fell after CEO Tidjane Thiam resigned after months of fallout over the surveillance of a former employee. Thiam will be replaced by Thomas Gottenstein, who headed the bank’s Swiss operations.

Commodities were mixed with West Texas Intermediate crude oil down 1.3 percent at $50.30 a barrel and gold up 0.4 percent at $1,575.50 an ounce.

U.S. Treasurys gained, pushing the yield on the 10-year note down 3.6 basis points to 1.608 percent.

In Europe, Germany’s DAX and Britain's FTSE both shed 0.5 percent while France’s CAC was lower by 0.1 percent.


Markets across Asia finished mixed, with China’s Shanghai Composite adding 0.3 percent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.3 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.

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