China Pares Some Losses on Virus Concerns

Markets in Asia edged higher on Wednesday as investors weighed concerns over the spread of the coronavirus that has afflicted hundreds in China so far.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index regained 166.79 points, or 0.7%, to 24,031.04. The Japanese yen traded at 110.03 per dollar after seeing an earlier high of 109.81.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index recovered 355.71 points, or 1.3%, to 28,341.04,

Korean markets also saw upward readings Wednesday. The Bank of Korea said the country’s economy grew 1.2% on a seasonally-adjusted basis in the fourth quarter as compared with three months earlier. That was the fastest expansion since the third quarter of 2017, beating an estimated 0.8% growth.

Overnight on Wall Street, stocks declined after the Centers for Disease Control confirmed the first U.S. case of a mysterious coronavirus that has infected hundreds in China.

Australian markets surged. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6835 after declining from levels above $0.687 in the previous session.

CHINA

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 restocked 17.62 points, or 0.4%, to 4,131.93.

Public health officials have confirmed more than 400 cases of the illness, which has evoked memories of the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, in China. Health officials have also confirmed cases in Thailand, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

Both the onshore and offshore Chinese yuan recovered from earlier lows above 6.91 against the U.S. dollar. The onshore currency last traded at 6.9062 and the offshore at 6.906.

In other markets

Markets in Taiwan remained shuttered for holiday

In Korea, the Kospi index jumped 27.56 points, or 1.2%, to 2,267.25

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index eked ahead 6.76 points, or 0.2%, to 3,253.93

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 gained 84.54 points, or 0.7%, to 11,889.68

In Australia, the ASX 200 regained 66.38 points, or 0.9%, to 7,132.73