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Stock Market News for Jan 24, 2020

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Benchmarks closed mixed on Thursday amid news of China quarantining two cities to prevent coronavirus outspread and discouraging quarterly earnings reports.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) dropped 26.18 points or 0.1%, to close at 29,160.09 and the S&P 500 rose 3.79 points or 0.1% to close at of 3,325.54. While, the Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 9,402.48, gaining 18.71 points or 0.2%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) increased 0.5% to close at 12.98. Declining issues outnumbered advancing one for a 1.96-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.98-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq favored decliners.

How Did the Benchmarks Perform?

On Thursday, investors had been keeping eye on the coronavirus outbreak that has rocked Chinese markets. The outspread has also threatened to hurt China’s already-sluggish economy, along with the potential to harm global economic growth.

Overall, the S&P index recorded 35 new 52-week highs and three new lows. On the other hand, Nasdaq recorded 61 new highs and 39 new lows.

China Quarantines 2 Cities

Chinese administration reported 18 fatalities and more than 600 affected by Coronavirus so far. As per the World Health Organization, China has taken the “unprecedented” step of locking down Wuhan, the city of origin and Huanggang. Chinese authorities are putting efforts to prevent a pandemic by locking down nearly 18 million people.

However, stocks recovered after the World Health Organization said it wouldn’t declare the coronavirus outbreak in China to be a global health emergency yet.

Q4 Earnings Report

On Jan 23, both Comcast Corporation (CMCSA - Free Report) and The Travelers Companies, Inc. TRV reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings.

Comcast reported fourth-quarter 2019 adjusted earnings of 79 cents per share that beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 5.3%. High-speed Internet revenues grew 8.8% year over year to $4.79 billion. Increase in residential high-speed Internet customers and rate adjustments help drive the revenue growth. Total high-speed Internet customer net additions were 442,000. (Read More)

Similarly, the Travelers Companies reported fourth-quarter 2019 core income of $3.32 per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3.23. Travelers’ total revenues rose 4% from the year-ago quarter to $8 billion. Revenues grew owing to strength in each of the business segments, namely Business and International Insurance, Bond & Specialty Insurance and Personal Insurance. (Read More)

However the company’s shares declined 5.1% after its executives discussed a challenging tort lawsuit environment and said losses from those cases “have come in worse than our expectations”. Both Comcast and Travelers Companies carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Economic Data

On Thursday, the government reported that weekly jobless claims rose less than expected to 211,000 from 205,000 the week before and below the consensus estimate of 214,000. The applications for first-time unemployment benefits in mid-January rose slightly, however layoffs remain near a 50-year low and there is no sign of deterioration in the strongest U.S. labor market in decades.

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