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Five Things to Know in World Business Today


By Lorcan Roche Kelly

(Bloomberg) Latest on coronavirus, Fed reduces size of repo operations and euro-area economy remains in the doldrums. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.

Still rising

The number of infections from the virus in China rose to 63,851 with the death toll standing at 1,380 after the latter was revised to remove some double counting. Authorities in Beijing said they would welcome U.S. participation in a joint mission with the World Health Organization after Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow said he is disappointed with China’s transparency over the outbreak. Industries are continuing to suffer from the shutdown in the hardest hit areas, with Mattel Inc. among the latest to warn of production delays.

Fed news

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York will cut its liquidity providing repurchase agreements by more than analysts had forecast, a sign that officials don’t see a repeat of the September blow-up. Stocks erased gains after the announcement, which came late in yesterday’s U.S. trading session. Elsewhere, it’s looking like one of President Donald Trump’s nominees is going to have a difficult path toward her confirmation. Judy Shelton came under fire from Republican lawmakers on the Senate Banking Committee, with two saying they were undecided on voting for her. Only one GOP “no” would end her chances, assuming Democrats unite in opposition.

Slow

Europe’s largest economy stagnated in the fourth quarter, with Germany showing growth of only 0.6% for the whole of 2019. While the country managed to avoid a recession for now, the added risk from the coronavirus means it may not be out of the woods yet. Growth across the euro area was 0.1% in the final quarter of 2019 and 1.2% for the year. There was some positive news in this morning’s release: it showed continued strength in the labor market, with total employment expanding 0.3%.

Markets mixed

There’s little of the volatility seen in recent weeks on display in global equity markets this morning. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was down 0.1% overnight, while Japan’s Topix index closed 0.6% lower after the country confirmed its first death from coronavirus. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.2% higher at 5:50 a.m. Eastern Time with utilities and real estate sectors the best performers. S&P 500 futures pointed to a small rise at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 1.597% and oil was higher.

Coming up…

U.S. retail sales data for January is expected to show a rise of 0.3% in the headline number. Import prices are also at 8:30 a.m. Industrial production for January is at 9:15 a.m. and the latest University of Michigan consumer sentiment number is at 10:00 a.m. Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester is scheduled to speak later. Today is the deadline for hedge funds who manage more than $100 million to submit 13F filings of fourth-quarter holdings.



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