Stocks drift near flat as virus impact weighed, oil on track for weekly gain

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Major world stock indexes edged lower on Friday as investors further assessed the economic fallout of China’s coronavirus outbreak, while oil prices registered their first weekly gain since early January.

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York, U.S., February 6, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Chinese health authorities reported more than 5,000 new cases of coronavirus on Friday.

“Investors are definitely keeping an eye on how much the coronavirus is spreading and where it spreads to. It still remains the biggest risk going forward,” said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist and senior portfolio manager at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York.

A recent Reuters poll showed the world’s second-biggest economy will grow at its slowest pace since the financial crisis in the current quarter, but the downturn will be short-lived if the outbreak is contained.

Some investors said they thought the economic impact of the outbreak would not be as deep as feared, with some also noting the spread beyond China has not been as rapid as feared.

(Graphic: Stock performance vs. reported coronavirus cases – here(6).png)

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe .MIWD00000PUS shed 0.09%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 93.87 points, or 0.32%, to 29,329.44, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 1.74 points, or 0.05%, to 3,372.2 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 0.71 points, or 0.01%, to 9,711.26.

An upbeat forecast from Nvidia (NVDA.O) helped to limit some of the losses in equities.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.13%.

Oil rose and chalked up its first weekly gain since early January, backed by expectations producers will implement deeper output cuts to offset slowing demand in China caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 gained 98 cents to

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