➤ S&P 500 advances as China takes steps to prevent virus spread.
➤ European stocks largely down amid reports that Italy's Five Star leader quit.
➤ Treasurys flat; dollar ticks down.
➤ Pound rallies as upbeat manufacturing outlook further dims BoE rate cut bets.
Wall Street rose as companies continued to report earnings and China stepped up efforts to contain the spread of a deadly coronavirus.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 added 0.3% and 0.5%, respectively, around 9:31 a.m. ET.
Netflix Inc. shares lost 2.4% after it beat its paid membership growth estimates in the fourth quarter of 2019, but expected lower first-quarter net additions year over year. International Business Machines Corp.'s share price gained 3.6% after the company reported revenue growth for the fourth quarter of 2019 and forecast earnings growth for 2020.
Johnson & Johnson declined 1.64% as the world's largest healthcare company by market value reported a fourth-quarter 2019 earnings decrease of 6.4% year over year.
China is taking measures to contain the virus that is rapidly spreading through the country, with 440 confirmed cases. Nine people have already died because of the virus, which has spread to the U.S., Thailand, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.
This comes as millions of people prepare to travel for the Lunar New Year holiday.
On the geopolitical front, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin threatened the U.K. and Italy with potential U.S. tariffs if they imposed a digital tax. He also added that a "phase two" trade deal with China may not necessarily remove all tariffs.
In Europe, Germany's DAX was flat while the FTSE 100 declined 0.4% and France's CAC 40 slipped 0.1%. The Berkeley Group Holdings PLC shares rose 4.8% as the company said it plans to increase its returns to shareholders.
The U.K. and EU could agree their future trade relationship by the end of 2020, U.K. Chancellor Sajid Javid said.
Asian equities gained, as the Shanghai SE Composite rose 0.3%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index advanced 1.3% and Japan's Nikkei 225 added 0.7%.
In the debt market, 10-year Italian government bonds fell, with yields adding 1 basis point to 1.373%, amid reports that Luigi Di Maio quit as leader of the Five Star Movement, fueling speculation of a snap poll.
Elsewhere, yields on Treasurys were flat at 1.771% while that on German Bunds lost 1 basis point to negative 0.256%.
In currencies, the pound rallied 0.7% versus the dollar as U.K. manufacturing optimism improved at the strongest pace since 2014, dampening expectations of an interest rate cut by the Bank of England. The euro added 0.1%.
The dollar index slipped 0.1%. The Japanese yen was flat.
The Malaysian ringgit rose 0.2% against the dollar as the Bank Negara Malaysia unexpectedly cut its overnight policy rate in a move it described as "a preemptive measure."
In commodities, Brent crude declined 1.3% to $63.77 per barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange. Gold was little changed.
More from S&P Global Market Intelligence:
Top five US stocks approach 20% of total S&P 500 market cap
Analyst sentiment turns more negative on US banks
Banks making adjustments to CECL estimates
Cable analysts: Broadband a 'key driver'; growth to continue amid 5G competition
The day ahead:
10 a.m. ET – U.S. Existing Home Sales
10 a.m. ET – Bank of Canada Monetary Policy Decision
6:50 p.m. ET – Japan Merchandise Trade (Econoday consensus: negative ¥150 billion)
11:30 p.m. ET – Japan All Industry Index
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