“Global equities edge lower as concerns drip back into market”- Zurich update – 24th Feb 2020
Influential U.S. Stocks ended lower for the holiday-shortened week on the back of renewed fears of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the global economy. Preliminary data from IHS Markit’s U.S. flash composite purchasing managers’ index (PMI) released last week for February fell sharply, signalling the first overall contraction in business activity in U.S. services sectors since 2013. In Europe a faster-than-expected bounce in business activity helped ease concerns around the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus on regional economic growth. The IHS Markit Eurozone flash composite PMI climbed to 51.6 in February from 51.3 in January, largely due to an increase in the services component. U.K. consumer prices rose for the first time in six months in January, accelerating to an annual rate of 1.8% compared to 1.3% in December. The figure was just below the Bank of England’s 2% inflation target.