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Major U.S. and European stock indexes surged to fresh records on Tuesday after China’s senior medical adviser suggested the deadly coronavirus may be over by April, an outlook that also helped crude prices gain on hopes of renewed Chinese demand.

China’s foremost medical adviser on the outbreak told Reuters the number of new cases was falling in some places and forecast the epidemic would peak this month. 

But the World Health Organization warned of a global threat potentially worse than terrorism ,and the WHO’s chief said the world must “wake up and consider this enemy virus as public enemy number one.” 

The WHO said 1,017 people had died in China, where there were 42,708 cases. 

Gold fell and the dollar retreated from a four-month high against the euro as risk appetite improved, helping lift bond yields. Chinese shares closed higher for a sixth straight session as a decline in new coronavirus cases in China lifted investor sentiment around the world.

MSCI’s all-world stock index .MIWD00000PUS gained 0.44% to hit a record high, as did the pan-regional STOXX 600 index in Europe, the blue-chip DAX .GDAXI in Germany and the S&P/TSX Composite .GSPTSE in Canada. 

The Dow industrials, S&P 500 and Nasdaq also set records but pared most of their gains on media reports that the Federal Trade Commission demanded data from Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google unit, Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O), Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Facebook Inc (FB.O) and Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O). 

The FTC said it would study “hundreds” of small acquisitions by the large tech companies and that its special orders were designed to identify areas that need more antitrust enforcement. 

The market’s retreat “has more to do with the midday weakness in the large-cap tech names from the FTC story,” said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles. 

The five companies have driven much of the recent rally in large-cap U.S. stocks.

Reuters | NEW YORK

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