North American stock markets move higher on fading concerns about virus impact

TORONTO — North American stock markets started the week higher as investors shrugged off concerns about the economic impact of the novel coronavirus as Chinese factories start to reopen.

“As incremental news comes in — while it’s certainly not as positive as anyone would like as we continue to see infections rise — I think the market’s starting to come to a bit better grips of the potential economic impact,” said Craig Fehr, Canadian markets strategist, Edward Jones.

There have been 908 deaths among 40,171 confirmed cases in China. Seven cases of the virus have also been confirmed in Canada, four of them in British Columbia and three in Ontario.

“We are a long way from having a concrete understanding of just how impactful that will be on global growth but the market seems to be digesting it better today than it has in the initial stages of the outbreak,” he said in an interview.

Investors gained comfort over the weekend on reports about factory reopenings, including iPhone maker Foxconn.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 85.08 points at 17,740.57.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 174.31 points at 29,276.82. The S&P 500 index was up 24.38 points at 3,352.09, while the Nasdaq composite was up 107.88 points to a record close of 9,628.39.

The Canadian dollar traded for 75.08 cents US, down from an average of 75.16 cents US on Friday.

Nine of the 11 major sectors on the TSX were higher, led by technology, consumer discretionary and materials.

Shopify Inc. gained 2.8 per cent to help technology, which was strong in the U.S. and helped push Nasdaq to a record high.

Consumer discretionary was helped by Restaurant Brands International Inc., whose shares gained 3.1 per cent after posting fourth-quarter and 2019 results.

Yamana Gold Inc. shares climbed 2.75 per cent, helping the materials sector on

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