Picture: JSE
Picture: JSE

The JSE continued its losing streak for a second day on Tuesday morning, as fears over the coronavirus weighed on sentiment, leaving investors wary.

Chinese health authorities said on Tuesday that the virus outbreak has killed 106 people so far and infected 4,515. Multiple cases of the virus have so far been confirmed in Hong Kong, Macao, Taipei, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, France and the US.

Japanese economy minister Yasutoshi Nishimura warned on Tuesday that corporate profits and factory production might take a hit from the coronavirus outbreak in China that has rattled global markets and chilled confidence.

Asian stocks extended a global sell-off as the outbreak in China fueled concern over the damage to the world’s second largest economy — an engine of global growth, reported Reuters.

Global efforts aimed at stopping the spread of the virus are increasing, with the US advising against non-essential travel to China, while some companies in China and South Korea have been evacuating personnel and halting operations.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and the Shanghai Composite remained closed on Tuesday for the extended Lunar New Year holiday.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 and Germany’s DAX 30 were little changed, while France’s CAC 40 gained 0.16%.

“We think it is better to wait for the rise in the number of cases [from the virus) to slow before getting positive about the markets again”, said London Capital Group head of research Jasper Lawler. “We know there is an incubation period of 14 days and the virus can be passed on when the subject is not showing symptoms. Putting that together, we could be on the cusp of a plateau or a massive escalation in the number of cases.”

At 11.42pm, the JSE all share was down 0.58% to 55,579.9 points and the top 40 was 0.6% lower. Banks were down 0.42%, financials 0.87% and gold miners 1.42%.

Gold was down 0.2% to $1,578.54/oz and platinum 0.61% to $1,007.09/oz. Brent crude was down 0.37% to $58.68.34 a barrel.

There are no major local or international economic releases on Tuesday. Markets are also waiting for policy announcements from both the Bank of England and US Federal Reserve later in the week.

tsobol@businesslive.co.za