By Medha Singh
(Reuters) – U.S. stocks were set to open higher on Monday, following steep declines in the previous session, with China’s move to improve liquidity and relieve pressure on its economy from the impact of the coronavirus epidemic helping the mood slightly.
China’s central bank injected 1.2 trillion yuan ($171 billion) into money markets as it attempts to limit the damage from travel curbs and business shut-downs on the economy.
However, the intervention could not stop a near 8% plunge in Chinese stocks () as investors played catch-up after an extended holiday.
Fears surrounding the economic impact of the epidemic, which has been declared as a global emergency, shaved off more than 600 points from the Dow Jones Industrials () on Friday, with the three main indexes suffering their worst week in at least four months.
“People are just looking at this as an opportunity to step in and do a little bit of buying,” said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist and senior portfolio manager at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York.
“The coronavirus concerns are still at the forefront of investors’ minds.”
The uncertainty following the virus outbreak that pulled the benchmark S&P 500 () into the red for the year on Friday has overshadowed fourth-quarter earnings season in the United States.
Shares of drugmaker Gilead Sciences Inc (O:) rose 4.4% in premarket trading after the company said it has provided its experimental Ebola therapy for use in a small number of patients affected by the coronavirus in China.
Meanwhile, Apple Inc (O:) slipped 0.6% as the iPhone maker shut its official stores and corporate offices in mainland China until Feb. 9.
At 8:43 a.m. ET, were up 147 points, or 0.52%.
Alphabet Inc (O:) gained 1.4% ahead of its quarterly results due after markets close, while Walt Disney (N:), General Motors (N:) and Kellogg Co (N:) will post their results later this week.
Shares of Nike Inc (N:) rose 2.2% after JP Morgan added the footwear maker’s shares to their focus list, while Nektar Therapeutics (O:) climbed 4.1% after Mizuho Securities upgraded its shares to “buy”.
Investors will also keep an eye on Iowa caucuses on Monday, the first nominating contest of the 2020 presidential election.
On the economic front, manufacturing PMI data from Markit Economics and Institute for Supply Management are due later this morning.
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