Closed Coronavirus: Nike and Disney warn of hit from outbreak — as it happened

Printed NBA letters on a shoe shelf are seen covered, at a Nike store in Beijing

Cases mount in the Asia-Pacific region, stock markets rally, while Macau closes its casinos and BP warns over the impact on oil demand

Welcome to the FT’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus outbreak.

Hong Kong has reported its first death, and gambling hub Macau has announced plans to close its casinos, as governments work to contain the disease.

Beijing has said there have now been 20,438 confirmed cases and 425 deaths from the virus.

Carlsberg warns coronavirus causing ‘volatile’ business environment

Sarah Provan reports:

Carlsberg has warned it faces a “more volatile business environment” as the coronavirus outbreak spreads from China, adding that the full impact of the disease is not yet known.

The Danish brewer, which lacks the global presence of bigger rivals Anheuser-Busch InBev and Heineken because it is absent from the US, Americas and Africa, has grown rapidly in Asia.

In Tuesday’s results statement it reported 16 per cent volume growth in its craft and speciality beers, while its 1664 Blanc volumes grew 29 per cent with China among the markets it highlighted for doing particularly well.

“We saw particularly good volume and value growth in our local power brands in Asia, including China, Laos and Vietnam,” it said.

Malaysia reports two new cases

Stefania Palma in Singapore writes:

Malaysia has reported two additional cases, taking the country’s total to 10. They include the first Malaysian to catch the virus – a 41-year-old man who travelled to Singapore for meetings with delegates including Chinese nationals – and a 63-year-old woman from Wuhan.

China’s stock rebound shows force of ‘national team’

Hudson Lockett in Hong Kong and Sun Yu in Shanghai write:

As the biggest sell-off in more than four years hit Chinese equities on Monday, speculation grew that China’s so-called “national team” of state-backed buyers would enter the market and cushion the blow from the coronavirus-driven drop.

But traders at brokerages and asset managers in China said the team mostly kept its powder dry on Monday. It was not until after market close that state media confirmed the cavalry was prepped and ready — specifically, a group of Chinese insurers with Rmb100bn ($14.3bn) ready to plough into the stock market if necessary.

That helped bolster investor sentiment, with the benchmark CSI 300 index of Shanghai and Shenzhen-listed stocks climbing 2.6 per cent on Tuesday after dropping about 8 per cent during the previous session. But longtime observers chalked the gains up mostly due to faith in the buying power of the national team, rather than any evidence a bailout was already under way.

Read the full story here

Markets shrug off virus concerns

Global markets were trading higher as investors brush off lingering fears over the economic impact of the coronavirus for a second straight session.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 index was recently 1 per cent higher in morning trading, while futures were pointing to a fresh rally for the S&P 500 when Wall Street reopens.

Chinese stocks rose the day after suffering their biggest sell-off in more than four years, as the benchmark CSI 300 of Shanghai- and Shenzhen-listed shares climbed 2.6 per cent.

Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Wealth Management, said he does not see a long-term global impact from the outbreak.

We believe the short-term growth and earnings impact from the coronavirus may prove to be significant, but will also likely prove temporary, with pent-up demand spurring a sharp recovery in growth later in the year.

Macau casinos shut for two weeks

Alice Woodhouse, Nicolle Liu, George Hammond and Daniel Shane report from Hong Kong:

Ho lat-seng, chief executive of Macau, the world’s biggest gambling centre, said earlier today casinos would be closed for at least two weeks after confirming two more coronavirus cases, taking the total number of infections in the city to 10. 

Macau’s $40bn gambling sector accounts for about 80 per cent of its tax revenues.

Shares of casino companies Wynn Macau, Sands China and MGM China have been pummeled over the past week, as mainland Chinese visitors all but disappeared over the key lunar new year period after authorities banned tour groups because of the outbreak. 

“The impact is there will be no revenue in the next 14 days,” said Vitaly Umansky, senior research analyst at Bernstein.

Macau was a sleepy Portuguese colony before its return to China in 1999. It is the only part of the country where casinos are legal. The industry exploded in the years after the handover — the territory surpassed Las Vegas in gambling revenues in 2006 and now dwarfs its US rival. 

For more on the wider impact of the coronavirus outbreak on Macau, take a look at this piece by the FT’s George Hammond.

BP says virus could slice 40% off oil demand growth

Anjli Raval, Senior Energy Correspondent, writes:

UK energy major BP said the deadly coronavirus outbreak could slice global oil demand growth by roughly 40 per cent this year, putting pressure on producers to enact further supply curbs to keep prices in check.

“Around 1m-1.2m barrels a day is what is actually out right now,” said Brian Gilvary, BP’s chief financial officer.

He said an average of 300,000-500,000 b/d were at risk this year. This is a hefty chunk of the 1.2m b/d of growth expected by the company and global energy agencies. “We’ll see how that plays out,” Mr Gilvary said.

China is a major oil consumer and energy sector analysts fear the closure of cities and the cancellation of flights in and out of the country will hit consumption dramatically.

Brent crude, the international benchmark, has fallen more than 20 per cent in recent weeks to 54.80 a barrel.

Mr Gilvary said one question was “whether Opec balances or not”. The remarks come as Opec and its allies including Russia are discussing emergency cuts in oil production after the crude price entered a bear market.

Why are markets rallying?

Global stock markets are rallying for a second day, with European shares and US futures each up around 1 per cent. The moves mean that many major international markets have nearly recovered all of their losses from a sharp sell-off in late January over concerns over the economic impact of the virus.

For now, the main market reaction is largely concentrated on Asian stock markets and commodities. Chinese equities rose 2.6 per cent on Tuesday but have still suffered a torrid year, while oil has sunk into a bear market on demand fears.

“The outbreak has sparked a classic risk-off response, albeit one of relatively modest magnitude to date,” said analysts at BlackRock Investment Institute.

“The impact from worries about the outbreak may have been partially offset by positive results in the current quarterly earnings season that so far are in line with our expectation for global growth to edge higher this year.”

Swatch cancels flagship show

Sam Jones in Zurich writes:

Swatch Group has cancelled its flagship watch fair, which was due to be held in Zurich early next month, because of concern over the swiftly spreading coronavirus.

The lavish “Time to Move” event is the main marketing pitch of the year for Swatch, the world’s largest watchmaker, and the owner of some of the luxury sector’s most well known watch brands, including Blancpain, Breguet, Omega and Tissot. The event was scheduled for early March.

The company said in a statement:

Considering the uncertainty related to the coronavirus outbreak, and in order to guarantee the welfare of our guests, partners, and colleagues, Swatch Group has decided not to hold the Time to Move event.

Small, regional showcases for specific brands owned by the firm will still go ahead this Spring as normal.

The Asian market is critical to the Swiss watchmaking industry, and its roadshows are usually an opportunity for hundreds of Asian customers and buyers to gather and pore over the latest products and innovations.

Of the SFr21bn ($21.7bn) of watches exported from Switzerland last year, Asian buyers accounted for more than half, with mainland China and Hong Kong alone accounting for more than a fifth, according to the latest figures from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.

Swatch’s decision raises the pressure on the organisers of Baselworld, the largest global watch event, and one of the single biggest events in the global luxury goods sector. The watch fair, which Swatch pulled out of two years ago, is due to be held at the end of April.

Cathay Pacific to cut 90% of flights to mainland China

Nicole Liu reports from Hong Kong:

Cathay Pacific has become the latest airline to cut its Chinese flight schedule in response to the rapid coronavirus spread.

Hong Kong’s flag carrier said it would be “progressively reducing” routes to the Chinese mainland by around 90 per cent in response to the disease and consequent plummet in demand.

The carrier also plans to make “significant reductions” to flights to the rest of the world over the next two months, the extent of which will depend on “market conditions and other factors”.

Cathay said it expects the combined moves to reduce its overall capacity by around 30 per cent.

Shares have already fallen more than 10 per cent since fears over the spread of the virus emerged last month.

The decision by the airline – which is headquartered and listed in Hong Kong – follows similar moves by airlines across Europe and the US to suspend flights to mainland China as the outbreak eats into demand and authorities clamp down on travel.

Singapore confirms six more cases, taking its total to 24

Singapore has reported six more confirmed cases, taking the city island state’s total to 24, writes Stefania Palma in Singapore.

Four of these cases have no recent travel history to China and are a result of human-to-human transmission. They include three women who are either Singaporean citizens or permanent residents: a 28-year-old and a 48-year-old who work at a health shop mainly serving Chinese tourists, as well as a 32-year-old guide who brought tour groups to the store. They all came into contact with travellers from Guangxi.

The fourth case is an Indonesian woman, 44, a domestic worker of one of the retail staff.

The other two cases involve Singapore residents who were evacuated from Wuhan in Hubei province, where the virus was first discovered.

The ministry of health said Singapore will step up its preventive measures, with eldercare establishments and pre-schools suspending large gatherings, and schools alternating recesses and suspending assemblies.

If community contagion grows, the government will consider measures including suspending schools, cutting back expendable care services and cancelling mass gatherings, the ministry said.

Australia reports 13th coronavirus case

Primrose Riordan reports:

An eight year old boy, a Chinese national from Wuhan, has been confirmed to have novel coronavirus in the Australian state of Queensland.

The case is the third to be confirmed in Queensland and 13th in Australia.

“The child is a member of the tour group travelling with the 44 year old man and a 42-year old woman confirmed with coronavirus on 29 January and 30 January 2020,” Dr Jeannette Young, Queensland’s Chief Health Officer said.

Australia has previously reported 12 confirmed cases of the virus, according to data complied by Johns Hopkins.

Taiwan protests treatment by WHO

Kathrin Hille in Taipei writes:

Taiwan has protested the World Health Organisation’s publication of an inaccurate coronavirus infection count for the country, as tempers flare over its exclusion from the WHO under Chinese pressure.

A WHO update on the outbreak released on Tuesday morning listed Taiwan as “Taipei” alongside Chinese provinces, and claimed it had 13 confirmed cases. According to Taiwan’s Centres for Disease Control, the country’s count of confirmed cases stands at 10.

China claims Taiwan as its territory and pressures other countries and international organisations not to acknowledge its statehood. After China claimed to the WHO that it was taking care of Taiwan’s health interests and had “unblocked” channels of communication over health issues, Taiwan’s foreign ministry said Beijing’s insistence on preventing timely access for Taipei to epidemic information from the WHO was “vile”.

Russia preparing for mass coronavirus outbreak

Henry Foy reports from Moscow

Russia’s health ministry on Tuesday said it was preparing for a potential mass of outbreak of coronavirus in the country.

“We should not feel relaxed. We are still preparing for possible mass spreading of the infection,” the country’s deputy minister of health Sergei Kraevoy told a parliamentary committee. “We cannot predict how the infection may behave in our country.”

Russia, which shares a more than 4,000km border with China, has closed crossings and cancelled visas for Chinese tourists in a bid to stop the infection from spreading. It has two confirmed cases of the virus, both carried by Chinese nationals.

Russia’s population is particularly vulnerable to viral infections, given the demographic skew towards older people in the country. More than 35 per cent of its population are over 50 years old.

Analysis: The threat to Russian trade as border with China shuts down

In today’s Trade Secrets newsletter, Henry Foy reports on the challenges facing Russia from the coronavirus outbreak.

Russia’s decision to close its land border with China last week comes at a time when trade between the two nations is booming.

Trade between Russia and China, which rose 25 per cent in 2018 to pass $100bn, has three major pillars.

First, oil and gas, pumped south through huge pipelines or shipped on tankers, accounts for about 70 per cent of Russian exports to China.

Second, almost all of the remainder is raw natural resources or machinery, which fuel China’s manufacturing industry.

And, third, heading in the other direction to Moscow, are a number of finished goods, led by electronics and clothing.

Vladimir Tikhomirov, chief economist at BCS Global Markets in Moscow, wrote in a note this week:

Although it is rather difficult to fully assess the macroeconomic impact of the new epidemic . . . pressure on the rouble and capital outflows from Russia will continue.

Russian officials, keen to maintain close relations with their Chinese partners, have been at pains to stress that their measures are all “extraordinary and temporary”.

But until China’s epidemic abates, Russia is likely to be hit significantly, as grand trade growth forecasts for 2020 are quietly shelved or pared back. As they say in Moscow: “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.”

For more on this, or to subscribe to Trade Secrets, click here.

Emoticon UK urges all citizens to leave China

Naomi Rovnick in London reports:

UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab has urged all British nationals to leave China.

“We now advise British Nationals in China to leave the country if they can, to minimise their risk of exposure to the virus,” Mr Raab said in a statement.

“Where there are still British Nationals in Hubei Province who wish to be evacuated, we will continue to work around the clock to facilitate this.”

On its website, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office also says :

If you’re in China and able to leave, you should do so. The elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions may be at heightened risk.

Equities in Europe and China rally, US poised to open higher

Global stocks have rallied as investors bet the impact from the deadly coronavirus will not be enough to knock the economy off course.

Traders have been struggling to price the potential impact of the virus on the global economy. Stocks fell sharply at the end of last week, but some economists have said the sell-off has presented a buying opportunity.

Here is how things stand, a little over an hour before the open on Wall Street:

• Equities climbed sharply in Europe, with the composite Stoxx Europe 600 rising 1.3 per cent to put it on course for its best day of the year.

• Futures trade pointed to a gain of around 1 per cent at the open for the S&P 500 in New York.

• Chinese stocks advanced the day after suffering their biggest sell-off in more than four years, as Beijing stepped up efforts to defend the economy against the spread of the disease.

• Government bonds slipped, with the yield, which moves inversely to the price, on the benchmark 10-year US note rising 7 basis points — its most this year — as investors moved out of the traditional safety play.

Taiwan reports 11th case of coronavirus

Katherine Hille reports from Taipei:

Taiwan reported one more confirmed case of the novel coronavirus on Tuesday night, bringing the total number to 11.

The latest case is one of the 247 Taiwanese who were evacuated from Wuhan the previous night.

Chinese cities restrict movement

Hangzhou, a city popular with tourists near Shanghai known for its lakes as well as being the home of ecommerce group Alibaba, is just one of the Chinese cities to have restricted residents’ movements in the past day or so.

Overnight, the Hangzhou government told people to stay at home, although one adult per household is being allowed out every two days to buy basic necessities. This followed similar moves in Harbin, in China’s far north and Wenzhou, a major hub on the east coast that is known for producing a huge proportion of the world’s buttons, fake leather and lighters.

Read more here from our correspondents Kathrin Hille in Taipei, Mercedes Ruehl in Hong Kong and Christian Shepherd in Beijing about how the coronavirus has been wreaking havoc on global supply chains.

Emoticon US stocks rise at the open

Shares on Wall Street have opened sharply higher, as investors shrug off fears over the coronavirus for a second straight session.

The S&P 500 rose 1.1 per cent in the early moments of trading, leaving it 1.9 per cent higher this week and on course for its best two-day spell since October.

New data to shed light on extent of hit to Chinese economy

Data releases in the coming days will give markets a better idea of the extent of the drag being imposed on the Chinese economy by the coronavirus spread.

Economists have sought to use predictive modelling to measure the size of the impact – Goldman Sachs estimates Chinese growth will slow to 5.5 per cent this year – but hard data has so far been sparse.

Figures released to date have shown a slump in passenger traffic and property sales in major cities. But analysts said it remains difficult to accurately gauge the size of the drag on economic activity.

A more detailed picture is set to emerge in the coming days, however, when data on retail sales, oil imports and car sales – three areas that were hit heavily during the 2003 Sars outbreak – are set to be released.

“If the disruption fades soon, there is still a chance that employment and incomes will be relatively unaffected,” said Julian Evans-Pritchard at Capital Economics. “In this case, consumer spending may simply be deferred temporarily, resulting in a strong rebound in domestic demand later this year, as happened with Sars.”

“But the longer the outbreak drags on, the greater the risk of a hit to employment and a more permanent loss of output,” he added.

Data on imports is expected on Friday, with car sales figures coming next week. The holiday retail sales figures – which analysts said should provide the clearest picture of the malaise – are expected in the coming days.

Ralph Lauren and Royal Caribbean provide updates on coronavirus response

Alongside quarterly earnings reports, US business have provided additional updates on their response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Ralph Lauren has shut about half of its 110 stores in China, chief executive Patrice Louvet told analysts during an earnings call.

“We are monitoring developments closely and will be transparent about the expected impact, providing updates if needed,” chief financial officer Jane Hamilton Nielsen said.

Mr Louvet said China accounts for less than 4 per cent of Ralph Lauren’s total business.

The outbreak has been particularly challenging for travel groups. Royal Caribbean estimated that its earnings will take a hit of 25 cents a share after it cancelled eight cruises out of China ending March 4 and modified certain itineraries.

“It’s clear that the coronavirus will impact revenue in China in the short term, but we are a long-term business and our plans to continue growing this profitable market remain unchanged,” financial chief Jason Liberty said in a statement.

Miami-based Royal Caribbean noted that an erosion of consumer confidence in China could lead to additional headwinds in the region.

The company expects 2020 adjusted earnings of $10.40 to $10.70, excluding the impact of coronavirus and taking into account other factors including current fuel pricing.

US stocks jump 1.7% in sharpest rally since August

The S&P 500 is up 1.7 per cent in mid-day trading in New York, aiming for its best day since August.

A fresh injection of liquidity from China’s central bank contributed to an upbeat mood on Wall Street. Technology groups, which are seen as having greater exposure to the Chinese market, are the best performers in the benchmark S&P.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite, up 2 per cent, is also on track to register its best daily rise in nearly six months.

US government debt fell amid the flight to equities, pushing yields higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note jumped more than 7 basis points to 1.5974 per cent.

Coronavirus fallout hits hotels in China and US

By Alice Hancock

Only two in 10 Chinese hotel rooms were filled on the last day of the Chinese New Year holiday this year, according to the hotel industry research firm STR Global, after the outbreak of coronavirus hit, forcing domestic travellers to stay at home and international visitors to cancel trips.

The US, Russia, Italy and Australia are among the countries that have restricted travel to China.

“The Chinese New Year holiday week, extended by three days this year, normally sees a significant shift in travel patterns across the country with very specific hotel occupancy movements,” said Jesper Palmqvist, STR’s area director for Asia Pacific. But, Mr Palmqvist added, coronavirus had exacerbated the usual reduction in business travel, schools closing and domestic travellers staying with family.

The hit to the hotel market was not just evident in China. Tourism Economics noted a potential drop of 28 per cent in Chinese visits to the US equating to around $5.8bn lost in tourist spending.

An industry executive from Las Vegas said that the city received a huge boost from Chinese visitors in January as Asian nationals flooded to the gambling mecca for the holiday. Chinese tourists have made up the third largest group of international tourists to Vegas since 2016, after Australia and the UK, and many of the casinos keep in-house teams of Chinese speaking dealers and hosts.

The major Las Vegas operators such as Las Vegas Sands, MGM and Wynn, all of whom also have Macau locations, saw their stock take a hammering in the past week, as their properties in Macau, the world’s largest gambling hub, were left empty.

The city announced on Tuesday that the $40bn gambling hub would close for two weeks, after the number of infections reported in the region reached 10.

Bill Miller, president of the American Gaming Association, said that the virus outbreak “could not have come at a worse time” for the Macau operators. The city has already suffered from lower visitor numbers due to the protests in Hong Kong and a visit from President Xi in December during which authorities limited arrivals.

Food retailers were also closing sites until the outbreak is contained. McDonald’s shut around 10 per cent of stores. The fast food chain makes around 3 per cent of revenues in China. Starbucks, which has much greater exposure to China, said that over half of the country’s 4,292 coffee shops had shut.

WHO estimates $675m in global spending needed to combat coronavirus

FT’s Clive Cookson reports

Scott Pendergast, director of health emergencies strategy at the World Health Organisation, on Tuesday said he estimates the world would have to spend $675m on public health measures to fight coronavirus over the next three months, including $61.5m needed by the WHO itself.

The remarks were made during a coronavirus briefing for the agency’s executive board.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, said at the same briefing: “We’re sending 250,000 tests to more than 70 reference laboratories globally to facilitate faster testing. WHO is sending 531,000 masks, 350,000 pairs of gloves, 40,000 respirators and almost 18,000 isolation gowns from our warehouses in Dubai and Accra to 24 countries, and we will add more countries”

Coronavirus may delay China purchases under US trade deal

By James Politi in Washington

Donald Trump’s top economic adviser has said that China’s purchases of $200bn in US products under the “phase one” trade agreement could be delayed because of the coronavirus outbreak, even though he projected that the crisis would have “minimal impact” on the US economy.

In an interview with Fox Business Network on Tuesday, Larry Kudlow, director of the White House’s National Economic Council, said that the “world is not Wuhan province” — a reference to the city of Wuhan in Hubei province, where the outbreak originated — and the hit to US economic growth would be in the range of “two-tenths of 1 per cent” in the first quarter.

However, he conceded that the Chinese purchases of US goods and services from manufacturing to agriculture and energy, which were a core feature of the trade truce struck by Washington and Beijing last month, might proceed at a slower pace.

“It is true the trade deal, the phase one trade deal, the export boom from that trade deal will take longer because of the Chinese virus,” Mr Kudlow said.

Read the full story here.

Freight cost index hits record low as outbreak dents demand

By Bethan Staton

The index charting the freight cost of dry bulk shipping dropped to a record low this week, as the impact of coronavirus added to existing pressure on key commodities routes.

Between January 24 and February 3 the Capesize Index – named after the largest type of dry bulk carrier – fell from 165 to -102 points. It reflected that day rates for Capesize ships, which transport mainly coal and iron ore on Australia-China and Brazil-China routes, had fallen to $3,400, way below operating costs.

The index has been falling since September last year, driven partly by regulatory changes affecting fuel prices and a seasonal depression linked to the Chinese Lunar New Year. The coronavirus shutdown means the expected post-holiday comeback has not transpired.

Nidaa Bakhsh, senior markets reports at Lloyds List, said the virus had “deepened what was already going down”. Closures and weakened imports in China, she said, would likely pose a continuing risk to the demand for raw materials. “If there’s an extended period of lockdown it will have an impact.”

Although no ports have yet been closed as a result of the virus, logistical issues due to closures in China pose a risk to the smooth functioning of maritime freight. The International Chamber of Shipping last week told shipowners to take measures such as information campaigns and exit screening at ports to control the virus. Secretary general Guy Platten said the measures would “avoid the needless closure of any port”.

Tech and material stocks lead as coronavirus sell-off reverses course

Wall Street’s indices have in recent sessions racked up some of their biggest one-day moves in months as investors bet on the potential impact of the coronavirus.

News that China’s central bank would pump liquidity into the country’s financial system in an effort to support the economy seems to have helped soothe nerves, but the virus continues to spread rapidly there and around the world, spurring concerns about the flow-on effects to myriad industries and supply chains.

Two days into February and the S&P 500 is up about 2.3 per cent for the month. That follows a 1.8 per cent drop on Friday – its biggest since October – that ultimately erased the index’s 2020 gain.

In the past two sessions, information technology has bounced the most, up 3.9 per cent, followed by materials with a 3.4 per cent rise. Both of these sectors, which are highly exposed to China, were hit hard as concerns about coronavirus grew.

Next-best is healthcare, where investors have piled into companies that have announced they are working on vaccines for the disease or ramping up production of personal protective health equipment.

Consumer discretionary stocks have also rebounded, although a number of companies in the sector have warned they will probably be adversely affected by the outbreak. Starbucks, for example, said it had closed about half of its more-than-4,000 stores in China.

Macau gaming stocks retrace recent losses

Macau gaming stocks rallied on Tuesday despite news that the Chinese gambling hub was shutting down its $40bn casino industry for two weeks.

The rebound accompanied a broader rally on Wall Street. Casino stocks have already taken a beating in recent weeks as the coronavirus spread beyond China and as analysts flagged risks from the rapidly spreading coronavirus to their operations and downgraded a handful of casino stocks. On January 28th China suspended the issuance of travel permits to Macau.

From January 20th to 27th Wynn shares fell 18.3 per cent, Las Vegas Sands declined 14.6 per cent, Melco Resorts delcined 19.6 per cent and MGM Resorts fell 12.1 per cent. With fears of the impact of the virus on casino operators largely priced in, shares have since recouped some of their losses.

Meanwhile, here is a look at some casinos after the closure:

Staff walk in the hallway of The Venetian Macau after the closing of its casino on February 5.

An employee cleans a door at the entrance of the Grand Lisboa Hotel after the closing of the casino.

S&P 500 notches best day since August as economic fears subside

US stocks registered their best day in nearly four months after China’s central bank injected fresh liquidity into the economy.

The benchmark S&P 500 advanced 1.5 per cent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped 2.1 per cent for their best daily performances since August.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, up 1.4 per cent, had its best rally since June.

The move by China’s central bank helped investors shake off concerns over the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak. Several countries have imposed restrictions on travel from China, while many retailers and hotels have shut down in the region.

The virus has infected more than 20,000 people and killed more than 400.


Nike warns of ‘material’ hit from coronavirus outbreak

Nike has warned it expects to sustain a meaningful blow from the coronavirus outbreak as the sportswear maker announced plans to close half its stores in China.

The US-based company said that in addition to the temporary closures, “we are operating with reduced hours and experiencing lower than planned retail traffic in stores that do remain open.”

Nike said the outbreak would have a “material” effect on its operations in the Greater China region, which accounted for 17 per cent of the group’s overall revenues in the fiscal year ended last May.

“Despite this difficult situation, Nike’s long-term opportunity to continue to serve consumers in Greater China with inspiration and innovation remains exceedingly strong. At the same time, we continue to have extraordinary brand and business momentum in all other geographies,” said John Donahoe, chief executive.

The group’s shares fell 1.4 per cent in after hours trading on Tuesday.

Disney expects hit if China parks are closed for 2 months

Anna Nicolaou, US media correspondent, reports:

Disney expects the coronavirus outbreak to shave $175m from operating income in the current quarter if theme parks in China are closed for the next two months.

The Shanghai Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland Park have already been closed for more than a week to prevent spreading of the virus, which has infected more than 20,000 people in the country.

Christine McCarthy, Disney’s chief financial officer, said Disney expects a $135m operating income hit if its Shanghai park is closed for two months, and also expects to see a $40m headwind in Hong Kong.

Ms McCarthy warned that the company’s expectations are “highly dependent on the duration of the closures and how quickly we can open them”.

Analysts have been fretting about the coronavirus’ impact on Disney, particularly as the crisis comes during a typically busy time for attendance at its theme parks during the Chinese New Year.

David Miller, analyst at Imperial Capital, said that the shutdown “couldn’t come at a worse time for Disney”, while warning that “particularly unnerving for Disney shareholders is the prospect that, because the virus is spreading in the US, Disney may have to take some sort of preventative action at the domestic parks.”

However, Disney said: “So far there is no evidence that there has been any impact on intent to visit [domestic Disney parks]“.

*This post has been amended to clarify that the projection was based on a two-month park closure in China.

UK to charter another flight to evacuate Britons from Wuhan

The UK is planning another charter flight to evacuate British citizens from Wuhan, the centre of the coronavirus outbreak.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the flight will take place on Sunday, the Press Association reports.

The UK had already last week evacuated Britons on a charter flight but has now moved to step up its response as the virus spreads.


Coronavirus cases in China exceed 24,300

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in China, the outbreak’s epicentre, has reached 24,324, according to official data.

China’s National Health Commission also reported 490 deaths due to the virus.