European stocks higher as WHO says no ‘global emergency’ yet for China virus

The pan-European Stoxx 600 jumped 0.85% by the closing bell, with industrials and technology stocks leading gains.

Following a torrid week for stocks on the back of fears over the spread of the new coronavirus, which has killed 25 people in China and infected over 800 more, equity investors seem to be taking some heart from the WHO’s reluctance to declare the epidemic of international concern.

Stocks in Asia edged slightly higher on Friday, with the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index climbing 0.13% while Japan’s Nikkei also added 0.13%.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 jumped 0.85% by the closing bell, with industrials and technology stocks leading gains.

Following a torrid week for stocks on the back of fears over the spread of the new coronavirus, which has killed 25 people in China and infected over 800 more, equity investors seem to be taking some heart from the WHO’s reluctance to declare the epidemic of international concern.

Stocks in Asia edged slightly higher on Friday, with the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index climbing 0.13% while Japan’s Nikkei also added 0.13%.

In the United States stocks turned negative on Friday, giving back their gains from earlier in the day after the second U.S. case of the deadly coronavirus was confirmed.

n corporate news, the U.K. competition regulator is scrutinizing Takeaway.com’s proposed takeover of rival Just Eat, forcing them to delay finalization of the deal to create one of the world’s largest takeout delivery firms.

German media company Axel Springer revealed on Thursday that it plans to delist from the Frankfurt Stock Exchange following its takeover by U.S. private equity firm KKR.

Economic data in focus

Friday morning saw a raft of flash PMI (purchasing managers’ index) figures released, which showed euro zone business activity remaining weak to start the year but offered some glimmers of hope which boosted European stock markets.

IHS Markit’s euro zone composite flash PMI stayed at 50.9 in January, missing the 51.2 estimate from analysts polled by Reuters. Readings over 50 indicate growth.

The industrial slowdown in Europe continued to weigh on the headline index, with the manufacturing PMI reading coming in at 47.8, but this represented a marked improvement on December’s 46.3 and the January expectation of 46.8.

Optimism about the 2020 outlook increased, with the composite future output index advancing from 59.4 in December to 61.2, its highest since September 2018.

In the U.K., January data came in above forecast with the flash composite PMI hitting 52.4 against an expectation of 50.6, with both manufacturing and services exceeding expectations.

source: CNBC