US stocks continued to climb higher despite the overwhelming concerns over the coronavirus outbreak. Between February 10 and February 14, the NASDAQ Composite gained 1.07%, followed by the S&P 500, which appreciated by 0.84%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up by 0.41%.
Investors are still trying to assess the impact of the coronavirus on the Chinese and global economy. By Saturday, the amount of infected people in China surged to 66,492 and the number of deaths amounted to 1,523. A spike in numbers was registered on Thursday on the back of China changing the counting method, which resulted in an increase of nearly 15,000 cases and 242 deaths. Outside of China, there are 447 confirmed cases and one death (a Chinese tourist who died in Paris).
On Saturday, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said they are confident that the Chinese economy will “emerge stronger from the epidemic.” On the other hand, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that it’s impossible to predict the trajectory of the outbreak and a major concern remains the impact of the virus on countries with a weaker health system.
In the meantime, investors were looking for positive catalysts, such as the semi-annual testimony in Congress of Fed Chair Jerome Powell. Powell said the current monetary policy will support a sustainable economy growth and inflation at the 2% target. The Fed chair also mentioned the coronavirus as a potential risk to global economy.
The coronavirus was not avoided by the ongoing fourth-quarter earnings season. FactSet looked through conference call transcripts of 364 S&P 500 companies that conducted earnings calls between January 1 and February 13. Of these companies, 138 mentioned the term coronavirus, with 34 companies including the impact of the coronavirus in their guidance and 47 companies said that it is too early to assess the impact or have not included the outbreak in their estimations.
Meanwhile, by February 7, 64% of the S&P 500 companies reported their results for the fourth quarter of 2019. Of these, 71% posted better-than-expected EPS and 67% topped revenue estimates.
TrackStar, InvestingChannel’s official newsletter capturing and analyzing the trends of Financial Advisors, has looked at the tickers that were most searched among Financial Advisors last week. Most of the companies that ranked at the top of the list did not change over the past several weeks. However, some of the most-searched companies were in the spotlight last week over their exposure to China.
Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) ranked on the first spot. Last week the company announced an offer of about $2.0 billion in stock and $300 million greenshoe option for underwriters. At the same time, the company in its 2019 10-K filing mentioned “health epidemics” as a risk factor.
Tesla is followed by Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), which made the headlines on the back of several developments, including estimates strong smart speaker sales in Q4 and a temporary block of the $10 billion JEDI cloud contract in response to a suit from the tech giant. In addition, Business Insider reported that Amazon is stockpiling products from China in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was the third most-searched ticker last week. The company, which has a significant chunk of sales coming from China, said last week that it would re-open its seven stores in Shanghai with limited hours and would re-open a few stores in Beijing.
Then there’s Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT). The company was affected by the aforementioned block of the JEDI cloud contract as it was awarded to Microsoft in October.
Last but not least, Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) was the fifth most-searched ticker. Moreover, with gains of nearly 6% last week, Advanced Micro Devices is the top performer among the top five stocks in TrackStar’s list.
Advanced Micro Devices was not directly mentioned in any significant developments last week, which might explain the increased attention it got from Financial Advisors. The semiconductor maker reported its financial results on January 28, beating both tops- and bottom-line estimates. However, investors were slightly disappointed by a downside first-quarter outlook that includes revenue of around $1.80 billion, although the upside outlook for the full year suggests revenue growth between 28% and 30%.
Nevertheless, last week investors found some silver lining. NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA), another semiconductor company, posted stronger-than-expected results, which dragged some of its peers higher, AMD included. In addition, RBC raised its target on Advanced Micro Devices’ stock to $66 from $63 with the ‘Outperform’ rating. RBC analyst Mitch Steves said that NVIDIA’s report suggests that the overall market for gaming and data centers is healthy and AMD’s long-term plans will pay off over the next year. Earlier that same week, RBC raised its target by $10 to $63, suggesting strong market share gains in the PC market.