What had promised to be a quiet week shortened by the biggest holiday in mainland China and Hong Kong markets has been sparked into life, ironically enough, by the outbreak of an illness that has already proven to be deadly. With more than 300 cases and six deaths confirmed in China, and first cases being reported in Taiwan as well as the United States, the new coronavirus originating in the central Chinese city of Wuhan promises to upend the apple cart.
On Tuesday, a swathe of sectors were affected by the news of the outbreak. Shares of airlines, tour agencies, hotels, theme parks and restaurants all declined, amid concerns that fear of the illness will keep people from congregating in public places, hurting earnings in these industries.
And this narrative could very well continue on Wednesday, with profit taking a big driver of losses before the Lunar New Year holiday, which starts on Friday in mainland China.
– Yujing Liu and Azar Zaidi in Hong Kong