Stocks trade mostly higher as investors keep one eye on coronavirus

Stocks traded mostly higher Friday morning, bouncing between small gains and losses, as investors dealt with uncertainty over the spread of COVID-19 in China.

Investors were also digesting data on January retail sales as corporate earnings season moves into the home stretch.

What are major indexes doing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.00% was down 19 points or 0.1%, at 29,404, while the S&P 500 SPX, +0.15%  rose 0.1% to 3,375.86. The Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.30% added about 17 points to trade near 9,729.

All three benchmark indexes touched all-time highs earlier in the week. As of Friday morning, the Dow looked set to end the week with a 1.1% gain, the S&P 500 was likely to close about 1.4% higher, and the Nasdaq was 2% higher on the week.

What’s driving the market?

China on Friday said 121 more people had died from COVID-19, the disease caused by a coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan in late 2019, over the previous 24 hours, bringing the total to 1,381. The country’s National Health Commission reported 5,090 new confirmed cases in mainland China, bringing the total to 63,851. The number of new cases jumped sharply on Thursday after a change in the government’s counting method.

Analysts said the changes to the methodology were fueling doubts about the accuracy of China’s figures.

“Most traders still lack visibility on the way the virus is spreading in China, especially after a new testing method was introduced this week,” said Pierre Veyret, technical analyst at ActivTrades, in a note. “The recent data from Beijing show lower new daily cases but still more than before the new testing process was implemented, which provides investors with a blurry picture of the situation.”

Friday also brings a heavy economic calendar. Retail sales rose 0.3% in January, the government

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