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Stock Market News for Feb 14, 2020

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U.S. stocks slid Thursday following a massive jump in coronavirus cases. Several economists remained concern that the outbreak of this pandemic will significantly delay Chinese as well as global economic recovery. All three major stock indexes ended in red.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) tumbled 0.4% or 128.11 points to close at 29,423.31. The S&P 500 declined 0.2% to close at 3,373.94. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 9,711.97, dropping 0.1%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) increased 2% to close at 14.15. A total of 6.86 billion shares were traded Thursday, lower than the last 20-session average of 7.64 billion. Decliners outnumbered advancers on the NYSE 1.04-to-1 ratio. On Nasdaq, a 1.01-to-1 ratio favored declining issues.  

How Did The Benchmarks Perform?

The Dow closed in negative territory with 20 components of the 30-stock index closing in the red while 10 ended in green. The Nasdaq Composite also ended in the negative territory due to weak performance by large-cap stocks. The S&P 500 finished in the red. The Industrials Select Sector SPDR (XLI) declined 0.6% while the Utilities Select Sector SPDR (XLU) gained 1.1%.  Notably, seven out of 11 sectors of the benchmark index closed in the red while four finished in green.

Spike in Coronavirus Cases

On Feb 12, China confirmed 15,152 new cases of coronavirus with 254 deaths recorded in a single day.The Chinese authorities have already confirmed that as many as 1,367 people have died due to coronavirus and the total number of confirmed cases in the country has risen to nearly 60,000.

At present, economists are uncertain regarding as to how the coronavirus outbreak will impact the global economy. Several economists are of the opinion that the impact of coronavirus may be much larger. During 2002-2003, China commanded around 4% of the global economy. However, the Asian economic powerhouse now commands more than 16% of the global economy.

In fact, China has become the backbone of global supply-chain system. Its low-cost intermediary products are used as inputs to several high-tech corporate behemoths. Similarly, the cheap Chinese electrical and electronics final goods are immensely popular worldwide.

Fourth Quarter Earnings Results

Zoetis Inc. (ZTS - Free Report) posted fourth-quarter 2019 adjusted earnings of $0.92 per share (excluding one-time items) beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $0.88. Total revenues rose 7% year over year to $1.67 billion, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.64 billion. (Read More)

Duke Energy Corp. DUK reported fourth-quarter 2019 adjusted earnings of $0.91 per share, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $0.88. Total operating revenues came in at $6,103 million, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $6,248 million. (Read More)

Incyte Corp. INCY reportedearnings of $0.65 per share, which easily surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $0.58.Including milestones and contracts, revenues came in at $579.4 million, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $570.1 million. (Read More)

Consequently, shares of Zoetis, Duke Energy and Incyte increased 1.4%, 2.2% and 2.9%, respectively. Zoetis and Duke Energy carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Economic Data

The Department of Commerce reported that consumer price index (CPI) for the month of January grew 0.1% compared with 0.2% in December. The consensus estimate was also 0.2%. For the 12-month period, the CPI increased to 2.5% from 2.3% last month, its highest since the fall of 2018.

However, the core CPI (excluding food and energy items) rose 0.2% in January, in line with the consensus estimate. For the 12-month period, the core CPI remainedflat at 2.3% for the fifth straight month.

The Department of Labor reported thatthe number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits rose 2,000 to 205,000 for the week ended Feb 8, lower than the consensus estimate of 211,000. The number of people already collecting unemployment benefits, popularly known as continuing claims declined 61,000 to 1.69 million.

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