The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 futures fell 0.3% each, while the Nasdaq-100 futures dipped 0.4%. That is as jittery investors continued to drive up gold prices and down 10-year Treasury note yields.
The slowdown in the number of coronavirus infections in Hubei province to 349 people on Wednesday suggested a plateau in the current epidemic. But officials announced that 631 new cases were registered on Thursday. Adding the rest of mainland China, the number of infected people increases by 889 to 75,465. Also of concern are cases emerging here and there outside the country, notably in South Korea.
So the coronavirus is not yet, as some investors thought, under control. And IATA is not going to say otherwise. The organization that brings together most of the world's airlines estimates that 2020 will be the first year of traffic contraction in 11 years. Environmental advocates will be pleased with this decline estimated at -0.6%, or $29.3 billion in turnover. Carriers less.
Also in the news, the takeover of the broker E*Trade by Morgan Stanley, in a financial sector that could see major upheavals in the coming months. Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan have decided to join the new MEMX trading platform initiative, which is due to be launched next summer in an attempt to break the NYSE / Nasdaq duopoly. The project has already attracted Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Fidelity, TD Ameritrade and even UBS Group. MEMX, which has already planned to slash prices, could play the troublemaker with such a sponsorship.
Meanwhile, Turkey has asked Washington to deploy Patriot missiles on its southern border to punish future attacks by Syrian troops, supported by Russian air power. In the past three weeks, more than a dozen Turkish soldiers have been killed at observation posts in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib as pro-government forces and their Russian allies seek to crush the last large pocket of opposition to President Bashar al-Assad. For the time being, the American Embassy in Turkey has declined to comment.
In Europe, the European Union's $1 trillion budget has divided the bloc into two camps: those seeking to spend more and those seeking to keep the spending ceiling at 1% of the EU's GDP. On the other side, some southern and eastern European countries see funding as an essential tool to help them catch up with their neighbors and want a spending ceiling closer to 1.1%. Bloomberg has produced an interesting map to illustrate these camps:
Today on the agenda, we will be talking mainly about PMI Flash, these leading indicators that take the pulse of corporate purchasing managers in several countries or regions, including Japan, France, Germany, the euro zone and the United States. These are the first indicators available that will really take into account the impact of the coronavirus on the morale of decision-makers.