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No sign of a recovery in markets, coronavirus spread continues, and Sanders still Democratic front runner after debate. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.

Down again

The selloff in stocks which has seen the S&P 500 Index register its worst four-day slide since December 2018 is showing little sign of reversing. Overnight the MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 1.3% while Japan’s Topix index closed 0.8% lower. A mixture of new cases and more profit warnings is pushing European stocks lower for a fifth day. S&P 500 futures have had a volatile morning, swinging between gains and losses to trade slightly lower by 5:40 a.m. Eastern Time. The 10-year Treasury yield rose slightly from its record low, and gold gained some ground. 

Still spreading

Outbreaks of the virus outside China continue to show mounting infections, with numbers rising in Italy, South Korea and Iran. South America reported its first suspected case in Brazil. In the U.S., officials from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention warned of widespread disruption if the virus spreads in the country.  In China, meanwhile, there is more evidence of the economic hit from the virtual closure of large parts of the nation, with early indicators showing a significant slowdown in February. 

Sanders survives

Last night’s seven-way Democratic debate saw front runner Bernie Sanders bear the brunt of attacks from the other candidates. His biggest-spending rival, Michael Bloomberg, also came under fire again from Elizabeth Warren. Overall, there was little in the debate, which sometimes risked becoming a free-for-all, that showed any candidate making major inroads into Sanders’s lead. (Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)

Stepping down

Bob Iger abruptly stepped aside as Walt Disney Co.’s chief executive officer, handing the reins to Bob Chapek who was overseeing the company’s theme park and consumer products business. In his time leading Disney, Iger, who will remain as executive chairman through 2021, has turned it into the world’s largest entertainment company. Shares dropped on the announcement. Elsewhere in corporate moves, Salesforce.com Inc. co-Chief Executive Officer Keith Block is stepping down. 

Coming up…

New home sales data for January is released at 10:00 a.m., with that sector continuing to show signs of good health. The under-pressure crude market will get an update on inventories at 10:30 a.m. The Treasury Department is scheduled to sell two- and five-year debt. Lowe’s Cos Inc., Marriott International Inc. and TJX Cos Inc. are among the companies reporting earnings. 

What we’ve been reading

This is what’s caught our eye over the last 24 hours.

  • Odd Lots: This is what coronavirus means for the Chinese supply chain.
  • Hedge funds ramped up leverage in stocks just before market rout.
  • From virologists to zombie movies, fund managers consult it all.
  • Hong Kong unveils HK$10,000 handout as part of stimulus package. 
  • Inside Mark Carney’s Brexit adventure.
  • JPMorgan warns investors it may get walloped by climate change.
  • Fusion power moves a step closer. 

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