Investors have rushed out of equities and into havens such as gold and US government bonds following a surge in coronavirus cases in Italy, South Korea and Iran over the weekend that intensified concerns over the global impact of the virus.
The yield on the 30-year US Treasury hit a record low and Wall Street posted its first weekly drop in three on Friday as renewed fears about the economic fallout of the coronavirus and disappointing data stirred concerns about the outlook for the US economy.
Investors have piled into government bonds, sending the yield on the US benchmark Treasury below a key level as concerns over the impact of the coronavirus on the global economy drip back into the market.
Telefónica posted a net loss for the fourth quarter, as restructuring costs and impairments from Mexico and Argentina underscored the challenges the company faces as its overhauls its business and reorients its strategy in Latin America.
Smith & Nephew said revenues have surpassed $5bn for the first time, and it envisages sales increasing this year by up to 4.5 per cent, yet the group faces “additional uncertainty” from the coronavirus outbreak sweeping through Asia.
Global demand for liquefied natural gas is expected to double to 700m tonnes by 2040 as energy consumption, particularly in Asia, rises and the world shifts away from dirtier burning fuels, Royal Dutch Shell said on Thursday.
Lloyds Banking Group has warned its profitability will drop in the next year despite signs of an improvement in the UK’s economic outlook, as competition in the mortgage market and low interest rates weigh on revenues.
US and European stocks are at record levels, but analysts at Goldman Sachs have cautioned the risk of a correction in equity markets is “high” as the impact of the coronavirus on earnings is being underestimated by investors.
Federal Reserve policymakers discussed maintaining the Fed’s policy rate at 1.5 to 1.75 per cent “for a time” at their meeting at the end of January, to support both a recovery in business investment and a labour market with room still left to improve.