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Spike in coronavirus cases outside China, markets pummeled as fears rise, Sanders seizes Democratic race. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.
Concerns that the coronavirus outbreak isbecoming a global pandemic are rising as new centers of infection outside China emerge. The mortality rate from the pneumonia-causing illness appear to be much higherin Iranand Italy, hinting at many undiscovered cases of infection. In China, President Xi Jinping warned thatno effort should be spared to contain the outbreak in Beijing, while the annual legislative session has been postponed. An announcement easing the quarantine in Wuhan was withdrawn, with officials saying thelockdown in the city where the infection started will remain in place.
Investors arerushing for safety. Stock markets around the world are tumbling, with Asian equities falling overnight, Europe’s Stoxx 600 Indexposting its biggest drop since 2016 and U.S. futures plunging more than 2.5%. The 10-year Treasury yieldis below 1.4% andcrude oil futures are slumping. While industrial commodities are hit, gold is proving to be the big winner from the risk-off move, with the yellow metal comingclose to $1,700 an ounce.
Sanders wins Nevada
Acommanding win in Nevada for Bernie Sanders showed he is building a broad base of support outside his traditional ‘Bernie Bros’ base. He won backing from Latinos, African-Americans, union workers, people without college educations and voters up to age 45. His double-digit win over the field, which did not include Michael Bloomberg whojoins the ballot on Super Tuesday, shows Sanders grabbing votes from all his opponents. (Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)
Prepared to act
Finance ministers and central bankers from theGroup of 20 nations meeting in the Saudi capital of Riyadh agreed on a “menu of policy options” to counter the coronavirus outbreak. However, the joint statement provided little in the way ofdetails on a coordinated response. The manifesto did include a reference to climate change, over U.S. objections. Tax was also an issue, with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin pushing back against European demands for a global digital tax agreement, saying Congress couldprove a barrier to an accord.
It is another quiet day on the economic data front, with the Dallas Fed Manufacturing Index at 10:30 a.m. the only release of note. Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester is today’s only monetary policy speaker. President Donald Trump isvisiting India. There’s a busy earnings schedule with HP Inc., Intuit Inc., Hertz Global Holdings Inc., Shake Shack Inc. and Palo Alto Networks Inc. among the many companies reporting.
What we’ve been reading
This is what’s caught our eye over the weekend.
- Odd Lots: The actualjeweler from Uncut Gems explains why people go crazy for gold and diamonds.
- Coronavirus may be the “Disease X” experts warned about.
- Millions ofChinese firms face collapse if banks don’t act.
- How strategists and investorssee coronavirus playing out.
- Buffettextols value of stock bets in year without deals.
- Central bankerwho declared inflation dead is now battling it.
- How todeflect an asteroid.
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