Tesla’s latest annual 10-K filing revealed a new risk to its business: “health epidemics.” In the filing, the electric automaker said its gigafactory in Shanghai was closed for a brief time as the coronavirus spread in China. “It is unknown whether and how global supply chains, particularly for automotive parts, may be affected if such an epidemic persists for an extended period of time,” the company said. “We may incur expenses or delays relating to such events outside of our control, which could have a material adverse impact on our business, operating results and financial condition.” At the end of January, CEO Elon Musk had downplayed the risk, but two more weeks of coronavirus feared seem to have changed Tesla’s mind. —Kolodny
This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (orange)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (green) cultured in the lab.
United Airlines is scaling back its service to Barcelona after the Mobile World Congress, the world’s largest telecommunications show, was called off because of coronavirus concerns. Organizers of the event called it “impossible” to hold because of the outbreak, which has now sickened more than 60,000 people, mostly in China. United had ramped up service ahead of the event, which last year drew around 100,000 people, as part of a trend among U.S. airlines to target high-paying travelers going to major conferences like MWC, the Consumer Electronics Show, and other events like political conventions and sporting events. United had added four round-trips between San Francisco and Barcelona and it will cancel two of them — leaving San Francisco on Feb. 26 and Feb. 27 and use smaller aircraft for the others. It will also use smaller planes for Newark-Barcelona flights than it planned. — Josephs
Royal Caribbean has had to cancel 18 sailings in Southeast Asia and modify itineraries for several other cruises. The result: a big blow the bottom line. The company expects 65 cents will be shaved off its 2020 earnings per share. If the outbreak continues and it’s forced to cancel all of its trips in the region through the end of April, profits would take an additional hit of 55 cents per share. The company added it’s in regular conversation with the CDC, the WHO and other health authorities and has put in place measures to protect passengers and crew. Among those steps is denying the boarding of people who have travelled to and from mainland China or Hong Kong in the past 15 days. “It is important that every organization acts responsibly, and we have already taken aggressive steps to minimize risk through boarding restrictions and itinerary changes,” said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO. Royal Caribbean shares were down more than 1% in extended trading. Shares have fallen nearly 15% since the start of the year. — Cheddar Berk
Roku CFO Steve Louden said the novel coronavirus has affected many companies that rely on manufacturing in China. So far, however, Roku has “only experienced minor impacts.” Still, he warned there is the possibility that more of its business could be affected if the situation worsens. Louden’s comments followed the release of its fourth-quarter results, which were better than analysts had expected. —Feiner
Yeti’s preparation for the Dec. 15 tariffs that never happened has helped the company avoid major problems from the coronavirus, CEO Matt Reintjes told CNBC. Reintjes said the company’s drinkware is made in China, and it increased inventories in late 2019 to avoid the tariffs. The levies were ultimately canceled, but Yeti still benefited from its decision-making. “We have the product in our possession, so we’re able to support the demand we see in the market,” he said on “Closing Bell.” — Stankiewicz
Stocks wavered in the final hour of trading as investors grappled with a jump in reported coronavirus cases and the virus’ possible economic impact. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite hit all-time highs before trading down by 0.1%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down by 100 points, or 0.4%. Still, the major averages were trading well off their session lows. — Imbert
The Westerdam cruise ship, after being turned away by multiple countries due to fears of passengers onboard being ill with coronavirus, has found a place for its passengers to reach land. According to a release from Holland America Line, the ship’s operator, Cambodian authorities have granted clearance to Westerdam to begin disembarkation of guests the morning of Feb. 14, in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. There are 1,455 guests and 802 crew on board, the company said. The ship departed Hong Kong on Feb. 1 and was initially intended to disembark on Feb. 15 in Yokohama, Japan, where the Diamond Princess cruise ship is currently docked while its passengers are quarantined. Below is a map of Westerdam’s path since leaving Hong Kong, based on data provided to CNBC from MarineTraffic.com, a company that tracks the positions of vessels including cruise ships. — Rattner
Clinical director of infection prevention at UC San Diego Health Dr. Randy Taplitz said that UCSD Health is currently treating three COVID-19 patients, two of whom have tested positive for the virus. The third is a person under investigation, Taplitz said. The two patients who tested positive for the virus are under isolation, Taplitz said, adding that they are in “fair condition.” UCSD Health is treating patients from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, where more than 200 Americans evacuated from the epicenter of the outbreak in Wuhan are currently quarantined. — Feuer
Emerging market debt, as an asset class, has been spared a big impact from the coronavirus so far. Fear the virus will hurt the global economy has driven Treasury yields lower, and the easy money policies of the world’s central banks have pushed yields lower around the globe, so the hunt for yield has become ever more challenging. Emerging market debt is a “least bad” choice, in the view of Brian Funk head of credit research at MetLife Investment Management. “It’s offering value on a risk-adjusted basis at this stage in the cycle.” According to Bank of America, flows into emerging market debt funds as of last week were running at a record clip, aside from a small outflow the week earlier. — Domm
The U.S. is “quite disappointed” with China’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, a top White House adviser said, criticizing Beijing for a lack of transparency. Speaking to reporters at the White House, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said the Trump administration had thought there was better transparency than there has turned out to be. He also said the administration was very disappointed that Beijing had not accepted a U.S. invitation to send a team of experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help China in its efforts to contain the outbreak. In an interview last week with CNBC, Vice President Mike Pence had praised China’s transparency. —Reuters with CNBC
Airbnb is suspending bookings in Beijing until May as the rapid spread of coronavirus prompts new local restrictions for the home-sharing giant. Customers who had reservations in Beijing between Feb. 7 and April 30 will be refunded, a spokesman for the travel start-up said, adding that the company was following local government guidance. Coronavirus presents a new headwind Airbnb, which is targeting this year for a long-awaited initial public offering. Bookings in Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus, are suspended until March 31. In the Yongchuan district in Chongqing in central China and Wuxi, near Shanghai, there is a freeze until Feb. 20. The spread of the virus has roiled travel to China and elsewhere, driving down business travel and attendance at high-profile events. —Josephs
Kraft Heinz CEO Miguel Patricio told Bloomberg that the food giant has closed some of its eight plants in China due to the outbreak. The company has already banned global employee travel to and from China. Kraft’s stock was recently down 7% after it reported declining sales during its fourth quarter and said it would delay the announcement of its turnaround plan until May. -Lucas
Longtime stock bull Jeremy Siegel told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” the Dow Jones Industrial Average would easily crack 30,000 if it weren’t for the market uncertainty around the coronavirus outbreak. “If there is good news on this virus front, we would pop above 30,000 I think without question,” said the Wharton Finance professor, as stocks were falling. The Dow was still less than 2% away from 30,000. The Dow closed at a record of 29,551 on Wednesday. —Belvedere
High-end fashion retailer Ralph Lauren said it has closed about two-thirds of its stores in mainland China, saying that it expects a larger impact to its business in China and other parts of Asia than previously anticipated. It attributed the new outlook “to significantly reduced travel and retail traffic.” It said its fourth-quarter fiscal 2020 sales are expected to be hit by $55 million to $70 million, with operating income in Asia lowered by $35 million to $45 million. And it could become worse if the coronavirus outbreak widens. Earlier this month, Ralph Lauren had told analysts it had closed about half of its roughly 110 locations in China. It said China represents about 4% of its overall business. —Thomas
The United States does “not have high confidence in the information coming out of China” regarding the count of coronavirus cases, a senior administration official told CNBC’s Eamon Javers. The official also noted that China “continues to rebuff American offers of assistance.” The New York Times reported last week that Chinese authorities had shown little interest in accepting help from the U.S. — Lovelace
World health officials are scrambling to determine just how widespread the new coronavirus is as Chinese authorities reported a surge in new cases overnight after changing how it counts confirmed infections. “How big is the iceberg?” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s emergencies program, said at a news conference at the agency’s headquarters in Geneva. “We do know, and we all accept, that there is transmission occurring at some level in communities,” he said. “We’ve all seen those clusters, we’ve all seen those super spreading events. The question is how much is happening outside what we see?” — Lovelace
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed a 15th case in the U.S., a recent evacuee from Wuhan who was quarantined at the Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas. The U.S. evacuated roughly 800 Americans from Wuhan, more than 600 of which remain under quarantine at military facilities across the nation. Two other evacuees at a Marine Corps base near San Diego, California also have COVID-19, the CDC said Wednesday. “There will likely be additional cases in the coming days and weeks, including among other people recently returned from Wuhan,” the CDC said. — Feuer
World Health Organization officials are holding a press conference at 10 a.m. ET to update the public on the coronavirus outbreak, which has killed more people than the 2003 SARS epidemic. As of Thursday, more than 60,000 cases of coronavirus have been reported in over two dozen countries, resulting in least 1,300 deaths almost exclusively in China. The WHO declared the virus a global health emergency last month, a rare designation that helps the international agency mobilize financial and political support to contain the outbreak. The number of new cases appeared to be stabilizing until Thursday, when a change in how China defines cases led to a spike in confirmed cases in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak. Watch the live press conference here. — Feuer
Medical staff receive a patient infected with the novel coronavirus at the temporary hospital converted from Wuhan Sports Center in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei Province, Feb. 12, 2020.
Xiao Yijiu | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images
China’s city of Huanggang, near the epicentre of the outbreak of the coronavirus, said that starting from Friday it would tighten epidemic control measures including sealing residential complexes and only allowing essential vehicles on roads. Food and the delivery of other essential goods will be arranged by designated personnel, the city said in a statement. — Reuters
HSBC said it’s lowered its first-quarter forecast for mainland China’s economic growth to 4.1% year-on-year from 5.8% due to the fallout from coronavirus. The bank also cut its China full-year growth forecast to 5.3% from 5.8%, adding the impact was already starting to be felt in tourism, trade, supply chains and elsewhere. HSBC lowered its full-year estimate for global growth to 2.3% from 2.5%, adding it expected the brunt of the impact in the first quarter, with some improvement as the year progresses. — Reuters
Small businesses located in New York’s Chinatown are losing customers over unsubstantiated fears of coronavirus, the city’s small business chief told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “Business owners are telling us revenues are down 40% in Chinatown,” said Gregg Bishop, commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services. “And it’s unfounded.” The city on Wednesday confirmed that the seven people suspected of having the virus in the city tested negative. –Bursztynsky
Japanese health officials are planning to move guests aboard a Princess Cruises ship to quarantine facilities in Japan as they confirm an additional 44 cases aboard the ship, the company said. Princess Cruises was told the “most medically vulnerable” guests will move in the first phase, including older adults with preexisting conditions. Japanese health officials will test guests before they disembark and transfer them to local hospitals if they are positive. Guests who are otherwise healthy will be transferred to a quarantine facility or can remain on board through the end of the quarantine period, the company said. The 44 new cases aboard the ship bring the total number of confirmed COVID-19 infections to almost 220, making it the single biggest concentration of cases outside of China. — Kopecki
The chief executive of smartphone maker Xiaomi said the the disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak could impact first-quarter sales, but CEO Lei Jun said Thursday he believes demand will bounce back in the second and third quarters. “Due to the outbreak of (the) virus, this year’s first-quarter smartphone sales will face an impact, but we believe that in the second and third quarters they will strike back. Overall, the impact might not be that serious,” the CEO said, according to a translation of his comments from the company provided to CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday the Cabinet will decide on Friday to spend 10.3 billion yen from the country’s budget to respond to the coronavirus, Reuters reported. Steps to tackle the outbreak will total 15.3 billion yen, he added after a task force meeting.
The coronavirus is causing travel demand to slump across the whole Asia-Pacific region, according to data released by travel analytics firm ForwardKeys on Thursday, with the region seeing a 10.5% slowdown in outbound travel bookings for March and April, excluding trips to and from China and Hong Kong. As of Feb. 9, the setback looks likely to be most marked in northeast Asia, where outbound bookings for March and April are 17.1% behind where they were at the same time last year.
Read CNBC’s coverage from CNBC’s Asia-Pacific team overnight here: China confirms 15,152 new cases, 254 additional deaths. All times above are in Eastern time.
Reuters and CNBC’s Lora Kolodny, Christina Cheddar Berk, Lauren Feiner, Kevin Stankiewicz, Fred Imbert, Nate Rattner, Patti Domm, Leslie Josephs, Amelia Lucas, Matthew J. Belvedere, Lauren Thomas, Jessica Bursztynsky, Holly Ellyatt, Weizhen Tan and Christine Wang contributed to this article.
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