• The number of virus infections has neared 43,000
  • Total household debt balances in the U.S. surpassed $14 trillion last year
  • Job openings in the U.S. fell to 6.42 million in December


U.S. stocks finished narrowly mixed on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq setting new closing highs.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.62 of a point to 29,276.20 while the S&P 500 rose 5.68 points to 3,357.77 and the Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 10.55 points to 9,638.94.

Volume on the New York Stock Exchange totaled 3.25 billion shares with 2,020 issues advancing, 342 setting new highs, and 924 declining, with 43 setting new lows.

Active movers were led by Sprint Corp. (S), Nokia Corp. (NOK) and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD)

China’s National Health Commission said on Monday night the death toll from coronavirus had climbed to 1,016 people with 42,638 confirmed cases. However, the rate of new infections appeared to be slowing down.

However, the director-general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, called the outbreak a “very grave threat.”

“With 99% of cases in China, this remains very much an emergency for that country, but one that holds a very grave threat for the rest of the world,” he said.

Analysts continued to worry about the virus' economic impact.

Danielle DiMartino Booth, CEO of Quill Intelligence, warned that coronavirus clearly presents a risk to the global economy. “The Chinese economy is four times greater than it was during the [severe acute respiratory syndrome] outbreak and China has established itself as the most critical link in the global supply chain.”

“At the margin, we have to consider that the rebound in growth we were expecting over 2020 may be either delayed or somewhat less vigorous than we were anticipating due to the impact of the virus,” Mark Robertson, head of multistrategy at Aviva Investors, said. “But ongoing monetary policy support, especially what was delivered last year, a reduction in uncertainty around trade wars, should still be a tail wind.”

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday that the central bank is “closely monitoring” the coronavirus situation in China. “We will be watching that carefully,” he said. “And the question we will be asking is will these be persistent effects that could lead to a material reassessment of the outlook” in the U.S.

Powell also said the Fed “believes that the current stance of monetary policy will support continued economic growth, a strong labor market,” suggesting no change in interest rates.

St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard said on Tuesday that the Chinese economy is expected to slow down.

“The efforts to bring the virus under control are substantial enough that the Chinese economy is expected to grow noticeably slower in the first quarter of 2020 than it otherwise would have,” Bullard said.

He added that recent declines in two-year Treasury note interest rates were “likely attributable to risk to the global economy from the coronavirus outbreak in China.”

In economic data, total household debt balances in the U.S. rose by $601 billion in 2019, surpassing $14 trillion for the first time, according to a report by the New York Federal Reserve. Fed economists said the increase was mainly due a $433 billion increase in mortgage debt balances.

Job openings in the U.S. fell to 6.42 million in December from 6.79 million in the prior month, the Labor Department said Tuesday. It was the second straight significant monthly decline.

The Office for National Statistics said Tuesday that the U.K. economy grew by 1.4% in 2019 – slightly higher than the 1.3% rate in the prior year – but saw no growth at all in the fourth quarter.

The National Federation of Independent Business said its index of small-business optimism rose to 104.3 points in January from 102.7 in December.

Overnight in Asia, markets finished mixed. China’s Shanghai Composite gained 0.39%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 1.26%, and Japan’s Nikkei-225 fell 0.6%.

In Europe markets finished higher, as Britain’s FTSE-100 rose 0.65%, France’s CAC-40 gained 0.46% and Germany’s DAX jumped 0.99%.

Crude oil futures advanced 0.81% at $49.97 per barrel and Brent crude edged up 0.31% at $54.18. Gold futures fell 0.49%.

The euro edge up 0.07% at $1.0918 while the pound sterling gained 0.33% at $1.2956.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury surged 2.91% to 1.592% while yield on the 30-year Treasury gained 1.78% to 2.056%.