Stocks edge up with positive chipmaker forecast, oil gains for the week

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Global stock markets rose slightly on Friday as investors bet on a lull in proliferation of the coronavirus, 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

Wall Street climbed late in the session following a CNBC report, citing sources, that the White House was considering a tax incentive for Americans to buy stocks.

Investors were still trying to gauge the economic fallout of China’s coronavirus outbreak, with Chinese health authorities reporting more than 5,000 new cases on Friday.

“You saw some late program trading,” said Rick Meckler, partner at Cherry Lane Investments in New Vernon, New Jersey. The stock market “has met every attempt to sell it off with more (buying), and the hope of some of the people buying late is that the news on the virus would be muted for the three days, and that with three days’ time, there will be just a little less anxiousness about it.”

The U.S. market will be closed on Monday for Presidents Day.

A recent Reuters poll showed the world’s second-biggest economy will grow at its slowest pace in the current quarter since the financial crisis, 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.

“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

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