3) NMC Health fires chief executive after uncovering secret loan deals: An investigation has uncovered guarantees by the company of loans to businesses owned by its shareholders
4) Germany is planning to temporarily suspend its longstanding government debt brake as it attempts to revive its economy. The spreading coronavirus and its likely impact on economic growth has added urgency to calls for Europe’s largest economy to loosen the purse strings.
5) Victims of collapsed savings firm London Capital & Finance (LCF) say they have been bombarded by messages from scammers and blame a major data breach at the City watchdog. LCF customers were among 1,600 people whose records were wrongly published on the website of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
What happened overnight
Stocks sunk deeper into the red on Thursday, oil prices fell and U.S. Treasuries rallied into record territory as more signs of the global spread of the coronavirus heightened fears of a pandemic.
Global markets have dropped for six straight days, wiping out more than $3.6 trillion in value. Much remains unknown about the virus that originated in China, but it is clear the ramifications of the world’s second biggest economy in lockdown for a month or more are vast.
Analysts have sharply downgraded their China and global growth forecasts, while policymakers from Asia, Europe and the United States have begun to prepare for a potentially steep economic downturn than initially anticipated.
Oil, sensitive to global growth given the vast energy consumption in a many countries, fell more than 1pc to its cheapest in over a year.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.5pc and is down more than 4% for the week.
The yield on U.S. Treasuries, which falls when prices rise, dropped in to uncharted waters underneath 1.3pc. Bets on monetary easing in the United States have surged.
Coming up today
James Bond’s theme song might be doing well, but his car has had a rocky ride. Jefferies analysts say that after a “roller-coaster” of a time for Aston Martin investors, the business looks set for a majority private-equity owned future with “dubious governance”. All eyes will be on new information on how the DBX is doing.
Interim results: Genus, Pantheon International
Full-year: Aston Martin Lagonda, Bakkavor, Drax, Evraz, Hastings, Mondi, Playtech, Reckitt Benckiser, RSA Insurance, Standard Chartered, Vistry
Preliminary: British American Tobacco, Hikma Pharmaceuticals, Howden Joinery, Hunting, Inchcape, James Fisher & Sons, National Express, Persimmon, Provident Financial, Rentokil Initial, St James’s Place, Vesuvius, WPP
Trading statement: Amigo, Watches of Switzerland
Economics: Second estimate of GDP, durable goods order (US)