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Good morning. Coronavirus has been declared a health emergency, Amazon is on the way to a $1 trillion valuation and it’s Brexit Day. Here’s what’s moving markets.


The World Health Organization called the coronavirus outbreak a China a global emergency on the risk that the outbreak could spread further, beyond the smattering of other countries that have already recorded infections. The declaration by the WHO was taken well by markets as it will mean public health authorities can step in to help countries less able to deal with the outbreak via their own health systems. But both the U.S. and Japan have advised citizens to avoid traveling to China and Italy has confirmed two cases along with halting flights to China, so the fallout is far from over.

Oil and Copper

It is telling that in a week that included two major central bank decisions, the overwhelming driver of sentiment in markets has been the fallout, or at least fears about the potential fallout, from coronavirus. And quite an impact it has had. Oil prices are set for their worst month since May amid fears that the virus will hit oil demand, a fear sufficient to have Saudi Arabia pushing for an emergency OPEC+ meeting. Look also at the losing streak for copper, gloomy forecasts on Chinese auto output and now the cancellation of Esports events for further evidence of the wide reach of the outbreak.

Brexit Day

Three and a half years after the journey started, Brexit day is finally upon us. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will use a speech Friday to urge the U.K. to come together after years of division over Brexit, though that’s likely to fall on deaf ears in Scotland. The Bank of England’s Mark Carney used his final meeting in the governor’s chair to pour cold water on some of the ambitious plans of Johnson, cutting economic growth forecasts due to lackluster productivity, though U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made encouraging noises on the potential for a trade deal getting done.

$1 Trillion

The club of companies with a market value in the ten-figure range is set to get another member on Friday. Inc., the e-commerce colossus, brushed off any concerns investors had about the cost of one-day delivery for its customers with profit and sales over the key holiday season that crushed expectations. Shares surged in extended trading, putting it on course to join Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. in the cohort of companies with a market capitalization of $1 trillion or more and making its founder much richer. Indeed, Apple is now teetering on the edge of accounting for 5% of the S&P 500, something not seen since 2009.

Coming Up…

Asian stocks halted a losing streak and the yuan steadied, though the rally lost some steam after the update from the U.S. advising against China travel. There’s quite a bit of European economic data to parse, including GDP figures for the euro area, France, Spain and Italy. A quieter day for European earnings is topped by Spanish banks Banco Santander SA and BBVA SA, plus Swedish appliances maker Electrolux AB and U.K. stockbroker Hargreaves Lansdown Plc.

What We’ve Been Reading

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

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