January 29, 2020 / 4:31 PM / 20 days ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks gain on solid results, but virus keeps safe-havens alive

(Adds U.S. market open, byline, new dateline; previous LONDON)

* Coronavirus death toll rises to 133

* China state economist sees hard hit to Q1 growth

* Fed expected to signal on-hold stance

By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Global equity markets edged higher on Wednesday on strong results from Apple and others but concerns about the coronavirus outbreak in China dampened investor enthusiasm, keeping a safe-haven bid in gold and the dollar alive.

The yield on benchmark U.S. Treasuries and German bunds fell as the United States and Japan evacuated their nationals from the virus’ epicenter. The death toll from the virus rose by 27 to 133, and another 1,459 cases were confirmed.

A Chinese government economist said the outbreak could cut China’s first quarter growth by one point to 5% or lower as the crisis hits sectors from mining to luxury goods.

Investors awaited a statement from the U.S. Federal Reserve at the end of a two-day policy-setting meeting at 2 p.m. EST (1900 GMT).

Since the Fed cut rates in October, policymakers have agreed to keep their target policy rate in the current range of 1.50% and 1.75% until there is significant change in the economic outlook.

Strong results from Santander helped bank stocks in Europe as gains in Apple and Boeing lifted shares on Wall Street, but a spate of disappointing results from AT&T and Advanced Micro Devices Inc , among others, weighed on equities.

“You have to still continue to get good earnings, which we are, they’re good, but they’re going to have to be really good,” said Joe Saluzzi, co-manager of trading at Themis Trading in Chatham, New Jersey.

“The virus certainly is on people’s mind. People think it’s a temporary thing, it’s certainly something that could get worse before it gets better,” he said. “That is not priced into the market right now.”

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.22% as emerging market stocks lost 0.48%.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.50% and stocks on Wall Street advanced.

Santander posted higher quarterly net profit, boosted by a solid underlying performance in Brazil and capital gains. Santander rose 4.7%.

Apple Inc gained 2.8% after reporting earnings for the holiday shopping quarter above analysts’ expectations, even as it braced for more supply disruptions in virus-hit China.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 142.12 points, or 0.49%, to 28,864.97. The S&P 500 gained 10.48 points, or 0.32%, to 3,286.72 and the Nasdaq Composite added 24.82 points, or 0.27%, to 9,294.50.

Gold gained as concerns about economic growth due to the coronavirus buoyed safe-haven demand.

Spot gold added 0.3% to $1,570.75 an ounce.

Oil was mixed as worries both about the coronavirus and swelling U.S. crude inventories weighed on prices. Talk that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries could extend crude output cuts provided support.

Brent crude gained 31 cents to $59.82 at barrel, while U.S. crude was down 4 cents at $53.44.

Demand strengthened for the dollar index and the safe-haven Japanese yen firmed modestly. A risk-off tone returned to currency markets amid uncertainty about coronavirus.

The dollar index rose 0.13%, with the euro down 0.19% to $1.0999. The yen weakened 0.01% versus the greenback at 109.17 per dollar.

Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes rose 5/32 in price to push down its yield to 1.6234%.

Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Tom Brown

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