Global stock markets have worst week since 2008

29 February, 2020

By ECCT staff writers


Global stocks fell sharply last week over fears that the ongoing spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (Covid-19) will severely hurt the economy. In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 12.4%, the S&P 500 dropped 13% and the tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite declined by 10.5% week-on-week. Meanwhile the Stoxx Europe 600 and the FTSE 100 both dropped by over 10%. The FTSE All-World index lost almost 13%, wiping out six months of gains, and translating into an almost US$6 trillion evaporation in the value of global equities. Meanwhile the MSCI’s Asia Pacific index fell 11.2% cent for the week while the MSCI all-country index lost about US$5 trillion of value week on week.


Bond prices soared as investors sought safety and became more pessimistic about the US economy’s prospects. That pushed yields to new record lows with the yield on the 10-year US Treasury notes falling to 1.14%, a record low on Thursday before recovering slightly to 1.16% on Friday.


Here in Taiwan, the overall equity drop was less severe. The Taiwan weighted index (Taiex) fell 3.37% from the previous week. However, performance was mixed depending on the sector. The stocks of mask makers rose sharply, with shares of KNH Enterprise Co Ltd (康那香) and Universal Inc (恆大) increasing 10.78% and 26.38%, respectively over the week, while shares of GeneReach Biotechnology Corp (瑞基海洋), a maker of in vitro diagnostic devices and reagents, rose 28.55%. Medical disinfectants supplier Panion & BF Biotech Inc (寶齡富錦) shares also rose 2.37% over the same period.


Meanwhile, Adimmune Corp (國光生技) and Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp (高端疫苗) rose 6.68% and 17.78%, respectively, week on week. Adimmune is cooperating with the National Health Research Institutes and Medigen Vaccine is working with the US National Institutes of Health to develop a Covid-19 vaccine.


However, not all potential beneficiaries of the Covid-19 outbreak moved higher. Makers of healthcare devices such as forehead thermometers TaiDoc Technology Corp (泰博科技) and Avita Corp (豪展醫療) fell 2.52% and 1.2%, respectively.

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