S&P Ekes Out Gains, NASDAQ Peaks, After WHO Calms Coronavirus Fears

Stocks closed little changed on Thursday, recovering most of their losses from earlier in the session, after the World Health Organization quelled some of the fears around the deadly coronavirus.

The Dow Jones Industrials came off its lows of the day, but remained negative 26.18 points to finish at 29,160.09

The S&P 500 eked higher 3.79 points at 3,325.54

The NASDAQ powered ahead 18.71 points to a new all-time high close of 9,402.48

The WHO said it was a “bit too early to consider this event is a public health emergency of international concern.”

American Airlines rose 5.4% on the back of that comment while United Airlines closed 1.9% higher. Gilead Sciences rose 0.8% while Inovio Pharmaceuticals surged 11.6%.

Investors had been fretting over the virus as the number of confirmed cases topped 600. The virus originated in Wuhan, China and cases have now been reported in Singapore and the U.S.

In the U.S., investors also pored through the latest batch of corporate earnings results. Comcast and Travelers both reported better-than-expected quarterly figures. However, Comcast dipped 3.8% while Travelers slid 5.1%.

More than 12% of S&P 500 companies have reported quarterly earnings. Of those companies, about 70% have beaten analyst expectations
On the data front, stateside weekly jobless claims rose less than expected to 211,000 from 205,000 the week before.

Prices for the 10-Year U.S. Treasury gained ground, lowering yields to 1.73% from Wednesday’s 1.77%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices slid $1.10 to $55.64 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices advanced $5.30 to $1,562.00 U.S. an ounce.