Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day
Good morning. Stocks are tumbling on the latest virus updates, Warren Buffett released his annual letter to shareholders and hard-liners are celebrating in Iran. Here’s what’s moving markets.
Stocks are starting the week with a drop. European and U.S. equity futures sank alongside Asian shares as China announced it would ease some restrictions in Wuhan, even as the deadly novel coronavirus spreads further in Asia and parts of Europe. Non-local residents will be allowed to leave the city at the center of the outbreak, Beijing says. Closer to home, the Venice Carnival will end early and Milan’s Fashion Week have limited access after authorities canceled all public events in both cities in a bid to contain a surge in cases of the illness in northern Italy.
Famed investor Warren Buffett used his annual letter to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. to attempt to justify his $248 billion stock portfolio, arguing that earnings retained by investees are still adding value. While rallies in shares like Apple Inc. and Coca-Cola Co. have helped returns, the 89-year-old has been hunting for ways to deploy a $128 billion cash pile, but struggled to find a massive deal amid “sky-high” prices. Buffett stayed quiet on politics in the letter, not mentioning the words “election,” “Trump,” or any Democrat running for president.
Iran, Germany Elections
Iranian hard-liners are celebrating as they head for victory in parliamentary elections, sweeping Tehran and other cities in a repudiation of President Hassan Rouhani’s engagement with outside powers. The widely predicted outcome is set to hand control of the legislature to conservatives empowered by the country’s revived standoff with the U.S. Back in Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party is trying to pick up the pieces after a state election defeat in Hamburg drove home public alarm over divisions in the country’s leading party.
There’s yet more news on leadership at top European banks. Jean-Pierre Mustier, the chief executive officer of UniCredit SpA, pulled out of the running to take the helm at HSBC Holdings Plc, just days after he was speculated as a potential rival to interim boss Noel Quinn to run the bank that announced a major restructuring last week. Meanwhile, Barclays Plc Chief Executive Jes Staley has told colleagues he expects to leave the group by the end of next year, the Financial Times reports. This month alone, three of the continent’s largest lenders have announced their bosses are leaving. Here’s a breakdown of the movements so far.
British politicians are back in Parliament following a short recess, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan for a points-based immigration system high on the agenda ahead of formal negotiations with the European Union on a trade deal starting in a week’s time. The European earnings slate is light today, but fear not: big names like Stella Artois brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev NV and ailing luxury-car maker Aston Martin will be keeping us busy later in the week.
What We’ve Been Reading
This is what’s caught our eye over the weekend.
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