The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq closed at record highs on Monday as Chinese workers and factories slowly returned to business following a Lunar New Year holiday that was protracted by the deadly coronavirus outbreak. All three major US stock averages advanced in a broad-based rally, boosted by index leaders, Microsoft Corp and Alphabet Inc.

Worries over the coronavirus kept market participants on edge, with the death toll rising to 908 and the World Health Organisation warning that new cases outside of China could be ‘the spark that becomes a bigger fire.’ But generally upbeat earnings, positive economic data and China’s recent stimulus have attracted buyers to the US equities market.

Tesla Inc’s stock rose 3.1 per cent after its Shanghai factory resumed production, and iPhone maker Foxconn re-started a key plant in China with 10 per cent of its workforce. That is cold comfort for Apple, whose iPhone sales in China could plunge by as much as 50 per cent due to the virus, according to analysts. The fast-spreading coronavirus has now caused more deaths than the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak, and has affected a broad range of companies and sectors.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 174.31 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 29,276.82, the S&P 500 gained 24.39 points, or 0.73 per cent, to 3352.1 and the Nasdaq Composite added 107.88 points, or 1.13 per cent, to 9628.39.


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