Asian Markets Rebound; U.S. Confirms Wuhan Coronavirus Case 

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By Alex Ho – Asian markets rebounded in morning trade on Wednesday in Asia, but sentiment remained fragile as the mysterious Wuhan Coronavirus continued to spread and had reached the U.S.

The Shanghai Composite dropped 0.2% by 10:45 PM ET (02:45 GMT), while the SZSE Component gained 0.2%. On Wednesday, China’s public health officials have confirmed more than 400 cases of the illness, while the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the first case of the coronavirus in the United States.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 0.7% after closing down almost 3% yesterday.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 advanced 0.5%.

South Korea’s KOSPI gained 0.7% after the Bank of Korea said Wednesday 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. It also beat the estimated 0.8%.

Down under, Australia’s ASX 200 rose 0.9%. While not a directional driver, the Melbourne Institute and Westpac Bank index of consumer sentiment, released on Wednesday, fell 1.8% in January to the lowest since last October. It declined 1.9% in December.

“If the survey had been conducted a few weeks earlier then the index is likely to have fallen by even more, notwithstanding the very low starting point,” Westpac chief economist Bill Evans said in a statement.

“This low level of confidence is consistent with the generally lackluster reports on consumer spending.”

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