Asian markets drop after death toll in China rises

Asian markets were trading lower on the ongoing coronavirus outbreak that has already taken more than 150 lives and infected more than 7,500 in China.

The US Federal Open Market Committee held the overnight benchmark rate in a range between 1.5% and 1.75%, as expected. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank is closely monitoring the situation.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped 0.48%, the Nikkei 225 slipped 0.86%, the Topix index declined 0.74% and the Kospi was 0.41% lower.

Also, stocks in Australia fell into negative territory as the S&P/ASX 200 saw a fractional decline, while markets in China remain closed on Thursday for a holiday.

US indices closed flat on Wednesday, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 11.6 points higher at 28,734.45, while the S&P 500 declined less than 0.1% to 3,273.40. The Nasdaq Composite also shed less than 0.1% to 9,275.16.

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