SYDNEY, Australia - Stocks and currencies were mixed in Asia on Friday. A shock increase in the number of new coronavirus cases in China was offset by a lower daily death number.
The number of new cases leaped by 5,080. The total now is 63,851.
The number of people who have died in China as a result of the disease rose by 121.
Stocks in Japan fell as the first coronavirus death in that country was confirmed. The Nikkei 225 tumbled 140.14 points or 0.59% to 23,687.59.
Also making the news in Japan was a report that a quarantine officer checking cruise ship passengers for coronavirus had contracted the disease himself.
The Australian All Ordinaries climbed 22.50 points or 0.31% to 7,227.10.
China's Shanghai Composite was flat, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong was trending higher towards the close.
"China is already easing its monetary policy and providing more liquidity while more stimulus is likely. Factories are starting to reopen albeit with some delays," Yukino Yamada, senior strategist at Daiwa Securities told Reuters Thomson.
The euro slipped a touch on Friday to trade at 1.0838 late in the day in Sydney on Friday. The British pound was a tad stronger at 1.3051.
The Japanese yen inched down to 109.76. The Swiss franc was weaker at 0.9800.
The Canadian dollar slipped slightly to 1.3256. The Australian dollar rose a few points to 0.6728. The New Zealand dollar slipped a few points to 0.6434.
On Wall Street overnight, the Dow Jones industrials gave up 128.18 points or 0.43% to close at 29,423.24.
The Nasdaq Composite lost 13.99 points or 0.14% to last trade at 9,711.97.
The Standard and Poor's 500 fell 5.50 points or 0.16% to 3,373.95.