Israel’s Stocks Lead Drop as It Confirms Virus Case: Inside EM

Israeli stocks fell the most in the Middle East as the country confirmed a coronavirus case and moved to contain its spread.

The main gauge in Tel Aviv retreated as much as 2.5% on Sunday, while those in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar also fell. Israeli equities are highly correlated to moves in the U.S., where stocks sank on Friday.

Last week, emerging-market currencies had their worst five days since August and stocks fell on mounting evidence that the virus is taking a toll on corporate earnings and the global economy. Brent crude declined 1.4% on Friday to $58.50 a barrel, extending its loss this year to 11% as the outbreak cripples China’s industrial activity and transportation at a time when energy supplies already were abundant.

“We might see some rotation back to value, small and mid-caps, when we see the end of this virus crisis, and also if the markets start to believe in new stimulus coming in,” said Charles-Henry Monchau, the managing director at Al Mal Capital in Dubai.

At a meeting for Group of 20 nations in Saudi Arabia this weekend, the head of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and Indonesia’s finance minister backed growing calls for major economies to increase their spending.

  • The MSCI EM stocks index fell 2% for the week ended Feb. 21. An index tracking currencies from developing countries retreated 1% last week.
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