Global shares rise despite worries over coronavirus outbreak

Stocks paused Thursday after a spike in the number of new coronavirus cases

U.S. equity futures are pointing to modest gains Friday despite continuing concerns about the coronavirus outbreak that began in China and its possible impact on global growth.

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The major futures indexes are indicating a gain of 0.1 percent when trading begins on Wall Street.

Growth ground to a halt at the end of the year in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, as manufacturing remained in a slump and exports fell. The figure underlines the challenge facing the eurozone. The state statistics agency said Friday there was zero growth in the fourth quarter and a mediocre 0.6 percent increase for the whole year.

In Europe, London's FTSE was higher by 0.1 percent,  Germany's DAX was up 0.1 percent and France's CAC was off 0.2 percent.

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In Asia, Japan's Nikkei fell 0.6 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 0.3 percent and China's Shanghai Composite gained 0.4 percent.

Investors had largely set aside worries about the economic impact of the virus outbreak for the past two weeks. Markets rallied this week partly when the number of new cases appeared to be slowing.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES26676.26+247.94+0.94%
SP500S&P 5003295.52+24.40+0.75%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX10888.749405+143.47+1.34%

A rally in U.S. stocks paused Thursday after a spike in the number of new coronavirus cases in the Chinese province at the epicenter of a global outbreak. Chinese officials reported the number of newly confirmed infections in Hubei jumped nearly 10-fold overnight.

China on Friday reported another sharp rise in the number of people infected with the coronavirus, as the death toll neared 1,400.

CORONAVIRUS DEATH TOLL NEARS 1,400 IN CHINA, WITH 5,090 NEW CASES

The National Health Commission said 121 more people had died and there were 5,090 new confirmed cases.

The number of reported cases has been rising more quickly after the hardest-hit province changed its method of counting them Thursday. There are now 63,851 confirmed cases in mainland China

The reclassification of the COVID-19 cases in Hubei brought a huge increase in the global tally, complicating efforts to understand the trajectory of the outbreak.

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Businesses have already been hurting due to the outbreak and more of them are warning that the effects will linger through the year.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.