“While it’s too early to know the full potential impact of coronavirus, it is clearly another negative for the economy, on top of the catastrophic bushfires,” UBS analyst Pieter Stoltz told clients.
“Stocks exposed to the Chinese consumer, Chinese shoppers in Australia, Chinese students and tourism are most likely to be affected.”
As of Thursday, total confirmed cases of the virus in China rose to 9692, according to the National Health Commission, up from 7711 on Wednesday. The death toll from the outbreak rose from 170 to 213.
“Once it becomes clearer that the number of coronavirus cases has peaked, risk sentiment should improve, and equity markets will be supported by signs that the global growth outlook still remains positive. But we are not there yet,” said Diana Mousina, senior economist at AMP Capital.
The resilient performance on Friday came in the face of the United States and Japan warning their citizens to avoid travelling to China. Despite declaring the coronavirus outbreak as a global health emergency on Thursday, the World Health Organisation stopped short of advising similar action, resulting in a late rebound on Wall Street which continued into Asian trade.
Helped by a strong quarterly earnings report from Amazon before the start of trade, the information technology sector was the top performer on Friday, soaring 1.7 per cent to a fresh record high. Healthcare and consumer staples also posted gains of 0.7 per cent apiece.
Link Administration led the gains, jumping 9.7 per cent to $6.81 after announcing an acquisition. GUD Holdings climbed 7.2 per cent to $12.02 following the release of its half-year result.
Avita Medical rose 5.5 per cent to 67.5¢, helped by a positive trading update, while Austal gained 5.4 per cent to $3.93 after a broker upgrade from Citi.
Polynovo led the losses, declining 5.1 per cent to $2.80. Gold Road Resources fell 5 per cent to $1.42, while Adelaide Brighton slumped 3.5 per cent to $3.64 following a downgrade from Macquarie.
118 companies on the benchmark gained, 66 declined while 16 were unchanged.