As news of a deadly respiratory virus spread this week, markets were rattled and investors moved money into the relative safety of bonds, pushing yields lower. While the full impact of the new coronavirus is still unclear, investors sent shares of travel-related companies lower as the economic impact continues to be assessed. Chinese officials boosted travel restrictions in and around the city of Wuhan, where the outbreak seems to have begun, to cover 40 million people in an attempt to mitigate further spread of the virus.
The week's relatively light economic calendar was largely overlooked, despite very strong readings from the housing sector. Existing home sales grew by 3.6% to an annualized pace of 554k, the highest level in nearly two years. The strong pace of home sales has left only 3 months of supply on the market, the lowest level on record.