(Reuters) – U.S. stocks ticked higher on Monday, as people returned to work in China after an extended new year holiday triggered by the coronavirus outbreak but sentiment remained fragile.
Electric carmaker Tesla Inc jumped 6.3% as its Shanghai factory returned to service.
On the other hand, Apple Inc slipped 0.6%, the biggest drag on the three main indexes, as analysts predicted China’s smartphone sales may plunge by as much as 50% in the first quarter due to store closures and production suspensions following the outbreak.
“Investors are quiet worried about the overly negative impact of the coronavirus on the global economy,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.
The death toll from the epidemic has surpassed that of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) from 2002-2003, with the World Health Organization warning that the number of latest coronavirus cases outside China could be just “the tip of the iceberg”.
At 10:01 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 52.49 points, or 0.18%, at 29,155.00 and the S&P 500 was up 6.05 points, or 0.18%, at 3,333.76. The Nasdaq Composite was up 33.97 points, or 0.36%, at 9,554.48.
Wall Street’s main indexes slipped from record highs on Friday, but still the S&P 500 posted its best week in eight months following China’s efforts to limit the impact of the virus.
Amazon.com gained 2%, helping the consumer discretionary firm 0.9%, the most among main S&P sectors.
L Brands Inc rose 2.5% after a report the retailer was nearing a deal to sell Victoria’s Secret to Sycamore Partners.
Eli Lilly dropped 2.5% after experimental drugs from the U.S. pharmaceutical firm and Switzerland’s Roche failed to halt Alzheimer’s disease.
Shopping centers owner Taubman Centers Inc surged 53.2% as it agreed to be bought by larger peer Simon Property Group Inc in a deal valued at $3.6 billion.
Other U.S. mall owners Tanger Factory Outlet Centers Inc and Macerich Co gained 1.3% and 8%, respectively.
Markets on Monday will also watch for U.S. President Donald Trump’s $4.8-trillion budget proposal for fiscal year 2021, and Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s two-day address to the U.S. Congress, starting Tuesday.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.05-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.12-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 22 new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 39 new highs and 47 new lows.
Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Sriraj Kalluvila