The rapidly growing outbreak of COVID-19 in Italy combined with worries about oil prices sent the stocks of some of Italy’s largest companies tumbling.
Shares of Eni ENI, -19.90%, the oil company, were recently down 18%; Enel Group ENEL, -9.93%, the energy company, was down 9%; and insurer Assicurazioni Generali Group G, -10.23% tumbled 13%. (Concerns about of an oil price war between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia had sent crude futures plunging on Monday.)
Over the weekend, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte signed a decree limiting community interaction for nearly five weeks in parts of Northern Italy most affected by the outbreak. Movie theaters and schools have been closed, funerals suspended, and people have to stay at least 3 feet from one another in bars and restaurants. In the Lombardy region, more than 10 million people face some form of a quarantine
Italy now has 7,375 cases and 366 deaths, according to the latest figures from the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering’s Centers for Systems Science and Engineering. The number of cases in Italy has nearly surpassed the number of cases in South Korea; outside of China, Italy has also reported the most number of deaths.
Iran has 7,161 cases and 237 deaths. South Korea has 7,478 cases and 53 deaths,
There are a total of 111,356 cases and 3,892 deaths, and more than 62,000 people have recovered. The novel coronavirus, which was first detected in December in Wuhan, China, until recently had primarily impacted mainland China, which has reported about 72% of total cases and 77% of deaths worldwide. A week ago, China had 89% of cases and 95% of deaths, a shift that marks how quickly the outbreaks in Iran, Italy and South Korea have expanded.
In the U.S., there are 564 cases and 22 deaths, now in California, Florida and Washington state. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Saturday declared a state of emergency; the governors in California and Washington have also done so.
Credit Suisse analysts wrote Monday that they expect the “brunt of the economic/earnings impact” in the second quarter of 2020, with the first-quarter impact likely to be modest. “The cadence of corporate profits should shift as a result of the virus, with the bulk of the downside (-8%) occurring in 2Q, and a rebound in the latter half of the 2020,” they wrote.
Few large companies besides Oracle Corp. ORCL, -3.04% are scheduled to report earnings this week.
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