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Five Things to Know in World Business Today


By Lorcan Roche Kelly

(Bloomberg) Coronavirus spread continues, markets lower again, and hopes rise for a vaccine. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.

More new cases

The spread of the coronavirus continues, with more cases appearing outside China even as the rate of new infections there continues to slow. Much of Northern Italy remains in lockdown, while Iran has seen panic-buying of food as that country is the epicenter of the outbreak in the region. Growing in tandem with the spread of the virus is the list of major companies issuing warnings about sales and profits. Mastercard Inc. cut its revenue guidance and United Airlines Holdings Inc. scrapped its 2020 profit forecast altogether.

No bounce

Yesterday’s market rout has failed to produce a morning-after rebound so far. While European stocks did open higher, the move quickly faded, leaving the Stoxx 600 Index 0.9% lower by 10:45 a.m. Eastern Time. Overnight the MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 1% with Japan’s first trading session of the week resulting in a 3.3% drop. S&P 500 futures also gave up earlier gains to trade slightly lower. The 10-year Treasury yield was at 1.347% and gold gave back some of yesterday’s gain.

Vaccine countdown

The Trump administration has asked Congress for $2.5 billion to help battle the spread of coronavirus, with about $1 billion of that dedicated to creating a vaccine. There already is a frontrunner for a potential vaccine, produced by Gilead Sciences Inc., with the results of trials in Wuhan expected to be released in April. Shares in the company rose 4.6% on Monday after a senior World Health Organization official said the drug may be the best bet to combat the virus.

Begging off

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said that OPEC and its allies have not yet decided to modify or extend their agreement to cut oil output. That comes despite a warning from the International Energy Agency that this quarter would see the first drop in global oil demand for a decade. In the market this morning, crude has also failed to hold on to early-session gains, with a barrel of West Texas Intermediate for April delivery trading at $51.20.

Coming up…

There’s another look at the U.S. housing market, which has been in good health recently, at 9:00 a.m. when the FHFA House Price Index and CoreLogic Case-Shiller home prices for December are published. U.S. consumer confidence for February is at 10:00 a.m. Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida speaks later in Washington. The Democratic presidential candidate debate in South Carolina is this evening. Salesforce.com Inc. and Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc. are among companies reporting earnings.



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