Markets set to slide at open as China coronavirus outbreak sparks fears of a global epidemic


Futures tilt lower

U.S. stock index futures drifted lower on Tuesday, after China confirmed new strain of coronavirus can be been passed from human to human, stoking fears of an epidemic that could hurt retail and travel stocks.

The outbreak of the SARS-like virus is said to have begun in the city of Wuhan and has now spread to other cities including Shanghai and Beijing. According to the Financial Times, the virus has already infected 291 people and claimed six lives ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday this weekend.

At around 4:30 a.m. ET, the blue-chip Dow futures were seen dropping 88 points, or 0.30% to 29,191. The S&P 500 futures declined 13.12 points, or 0.39% to 3,311.88 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures were down 44.88 points, or 0.49% to 9,129.62.

Netflix, IBM earnings on tap

Meanwhile, investors are awaiting a batch of earnings releases today, including from Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) and IBM (NYSE: IBM).

Netflix is expected to report earnings of $0.53 a share on revenue of $5.45 billion after the closing bell. IBM will also release its quarterly results after the bell and analysts expect the tech giant to post earnings at $4.68 a share on $21.64 revenue.

Other earnings to watch today include United Airlines (NYSE: UAL), Capital One Financial (NYSE: COF), Interactive Brokers Group (NASDAQ: IBKR), TD Ameritrade (NASDAQ: AMTD), Halliburton (NYSE: HAL), Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS), and Comerica (NYSE: CMA).

Boeing reportedly in talks to borrow $10bn as 737 Max crisis drags on

In other news, CNBC is reporting that Boeing (NYSE: BA) is holding talks with banks about borrowing a loan of $10bn or more to offset the financial impact of its 737 Max planes that were grounded last year after two fatal crashes.

People familiar with the matter told CNBC that the aircraft maker has so far managed to secure at least $6bn from banks and is hoping receive more contributions from other lenders.

Analysts project that the Seattle-based company has been losing as much as $1bn every month as a result of the Max grounding.

The stock was down was down 0.87% to $321.33 a share in premarket hours Tuesday.