By Lorcan Roche Kelly
Apple says it will miss guidance due to coronavirus, HSBC targets 35,000 job cuts and Michael Bloomberg qualifies for debate. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.
Taking a hit
The ever-growing list of companies announcing problems from the extended shutdown in China due to the coronavirus outbreak now includes Apple Inc. after announcing it no longer expects to meet revenue guidance for the March quarter. Shares in the iPhone maker fell more than 4% in pre-market trading, with the company’s suppliers in Asia and Europe also posting losses. The pace of infection growth and deaths from the outbreak in China appears to be slowing, but the World Health Organization has warned that it’s too early to say if cases are truly declining.
HSBC Holdings Plc is set to cut about 35,000 staff and take $7.3 billion of charges as the bank looks to overhaul its business. The move will downsize its European and U.S. investment banking business, while it will seek to accelerate investments in Asia. There was a warning from the lender over its business in that region when it said that loan-losses in Hong Kong and mainland China could rise depending on how the coronavirus situation develops. Shares in HSBC dropped more than 6% in London trading.
Michael Bloomberg has qualified to join the other Democratic presidential candidates on the debate stage for the first time on Wednesday, after reaching 19% in a NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll. The survey, which placed Bernie Sanders first with 31%, is the fourth that shows Bloomberg having more than 10% support, the threshold for inclusion in debates. His rise has led to accusations from other candidates, most notably Sanders, that Bloomberg is trying to buy the presidency. (Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)
The news that Apple is going to be hit by the outbreak is pushing global markets lower. Overnight the MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 1.1% while Japan’s Topix index closed down 1.3%. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index had slipped 0.4% by 5:50 a.m. Eastern Time as investors favored defensive stocks. S&P 500 futures pointed to a lower open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 1.551% and oil ended a five-day rally.
The economic data calendar is fairly light today, with Empire manufacturing at 8:30 a.m., the NAHB Housing Market Index at 10:00 a.m. and TIC flow data at 4:00 p.m. There have already been signs of further stress in the traditional retail space this morning, with Walmart Inc. announcing a miss on sales. Medtronic Plc and Ecolab Inc. are among the other companies due to report earnings.