During the last shortened trading week, the US stock market lost some ground as concerns regarding the new coronavirus outbreak in China overshadowed strong financial results reported by a number of companies, including Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC), American Express Company (NYSE: AXP), and IBM (NYSE: IBM). US stock markets were closed on Monday, January 20 on the back of Martin Luther King Day, but between January 21 and January 24, the S&P 500 lost 0.76%, followed by the Dow Jones Industrial Average and NASDAQ Composite, which recorded declined of 0.71% and 0.60%, respectively.
The spotlight for the past week was on China, where an outbreak of a new coronavirus already killed over 40 people and the number of infected people surged to more than 2,000. The virus already managed to spread to other countries, including South Korea, Japan, France, and the US. Despite the fact that the World Health Organization declined to raise an international virus alert and health experts suggest that the virus will not be disruptive, investors remained concerned about the impact of the virus on the Chinese economy. However, some analysts suggest that the coronavirus could be just an excuse for investors to sell off stocks that are trading near record highs.
On the other hand, the ongoing earnings season in the US continues to bring good news. According to FactSet, by January 24, 17% of the companies in the S&P 500 had reported their results for the fourth quarter. Of these companies, 73% managed to post better-than-expected EPS and 67% topped sales estimates, both figures being above 5-year averages.