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Friday's Market Minute: Coronavirus Outlook Remains Cloudy

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The coronavirus rampage continues in China, with reports of the total infected topping over 75,000 with 2,236 deaths. The nation also adjusted the number of cases for the third time this month. Hubei’s health commission revised new cases to 631 from 411, saying the reason behind the revision today was to account for a report from a prison, which disclosed 271 cases in its system.

South Korea is now one of the worst-affected areas outside of China, reporting 52 new cases and more than 200 cases total nationwide. According to a briefing, the country confirmed an additional 100 new cases of the coronavirus in just one day. The Korea Center for Disease Control and Preventions said that most of the new cases came from the city of Daegu. Iran is another country added to the coronavirus headlines.

An Iranian Health Ministry spokesperson confirmed two deaths among 13 new cases in the country, bringing its total number of confirmed cases to 18 with four deaths nationwide. But what does this all mean for global trade? While tourism stocks continue to suffer, new economic concerns are now adding to the narrative. Sales of China’s passenger vehicles fell 92% in the first 16 days of February, compared to last year’s data.

Japanese automakers – specifically Nissan and Honda Motor Corp (NYSE: HMC)– also are delaying the restart of some plants in China, which could add disruption to global vehicle production.

China’s commerce ministry also said they expect the growth rate of imports and exports to decline steeply in the January/February period. Procter & Gamble Co (NYSE: PG) announced Thursday their March quarter earnings will be “materially impacted” by the virus. And Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) has officially pulled out of the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. The company noted in a blog post that “the health of our employees and the wider games community comes before anything else.” Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) also declared it will remove third-party merchant listings claiming to have a treatment for the coronavirus. Other companies that have declared impact from the virus include Nike Inc (NYSE: NKE), Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX), and Adidas (OTCMKTS: ADDYY), among several others.

Image by Alexander Kliem from Pixabay

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