European stocks look set to open on a cautious note on Monday after the head of the World Health Organization said the thousands of coronavirus cases in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the center of the epidemic, is likely "just the tip of the iceberg."
"There have been some concerning instances of onward 2019nCoV spread from people with no travel history to China. The detection of a small number of cases may indicate more widespread transmission in other countries," tweeted Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO.
"In an evolving public health emergency, all countries must step up efforts to prepare for 2019nCoV's possible arrival and do their utmost to contain it should it arrive. This means lab capacity for rapid diagnosis, contact tracing and other tools in the public health arsenal," he said.
The death toll in China due to novel coronavirus epidemic jumped to 908 and the number of confirmed cases has risen over 40,000, Chinese health officials said today.
Markets fell across the Asia-Pacific region as investors fretted about the threat to global economic growth from coronavirus spread.
Goldman Sachs cut its Q1CY20 real GDP growth forecast for China to 4 percent from 5.6 percent earlier and also warned that the outbreak will drag on U.S. growth.
The dollar held gains after the release of job market data and gold climbed for a fourth straight day, while oil briefly fell past the psychologically important $50 a barrel mark after Russia said it needed more time to determine if an output cut was necessary.
In economic news, a government report showed earlier today that consumer prices in China rose an annual 5.4 percent in January. That exceeded forecasts for an increase of 4.9 percent following the 4.5 percent gain in December.
The bureau also said that producer prices sank 0.5 percent year-on-year versus expectations for a flat reading following the 0.5 percent decline in the previous month.
U.S. stocks moved lower on Friday as renewed concerns over the coronavirus overshadowed stronger than expected U.S. payroll report.
U.S. employment jumped by 225,000 jobs in January following a revised increase of 147,000 jobs in December. The unemployment rate, however, inched up to 3.6 percent from 3.5 percent in December.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.9 percent, while the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index shed around half a percent each.
European markets also ended Friday's session lower after the release of some disappointing euro area economic data.
The pan European Stoxx 600 eased 0.3 percent. The German DAX declined half a percent, France's CAC 40 index slipped 0.1 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 shed half a percent.