Wall Street futures plummet as coronavirus cases surge outside China


Stocks poised to open sharply lower

U.S. stock index futures were trading sharply lower on Monday, as fears over the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus rattled investors. China’s National Health Commission has reported another 409 new Covid-19 cases and 150 deaths, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in that nation to 77,150.

Meanwhile, South Korea has raised its infectious-disease alert to its maximum level after virus cases jumped to 763, with seven deaths. In Italy, cases surged from three on Friday morning to 152 on Monday. Iranian authorities have also confirmed 43 cases of the virus and eight deaths.

As of 4:20 a.m. ET, the blue-chip Dow futures plunged 730.5 points, or about 2.52% to 28,250.5. The S&P 500 futures dropped 87.13 points, or around 2.61% to 3,252.12 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures declined 310.25 points, or roughly 3.28% to 9,147.75.

Crude futures dip on virus concerns

Crude futures also tumbled early Monday on renewed concerns about fuel demand being hurt by the rapidly spreading Covid-19 virus beyond China.

As of 4:20 a.m. ET, U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were at $51.52 a barrel, down $1.86, or 3.48%. International Brent crude oil futures were down $2.04, or 3.52% to $55.90 per barrel.

“Oil prices will remain vulnerable here as energy traders were not pricing in the coronavirus becoming a pandemic. While some parts of China are seeing improving statistics with the coronavirus, financial markets will remain on edge until we start seeing the situation improve in Iran, Italy, South Korea and Japan,” Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA was quoted as saying.

Intuit reportedly wants to buy Credit Karma for $7 billion

Intuit (NASDAQ: INTU) wants to acquire privately held personal-finance portal Credit Karma for around $7billion in cash and stock.

The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend that the deal could be announced as soon as today, assuming talks don’t fall apart. People familiar with the deal told the Journal that the deal will push the TurboTax maker more into the realm of consumer finance.

Credit Karma was valued at $4 billion in a private share sale around two years ago. The company offers a number of services including free access to one’s borrowing history and credit score, tax preparation and filing, and alerts to potential data breaches.

Sanders cements his Democratic frontrunner status after winning Nevada caucuses

Bernie Sanders has strengthened his frontrunner status in the race for the Democratic nomination after winning the Nevada caucuses on Saturday. Former vice president Joe Biden, who finished a disappointing fifth in New Hampshire, came in a distant second.

“We’ve brought together a multigenerational, multiracial coalition that is not only going to win Nevada, it’s going to sweep this country,” Sanders told supporters in San Antonio, Texas.

The 78-year old Vermont senator has proposed a lot of tax increases to pay for his Medicare-for-All plan. He insists that is a good deal that would reduce overall spending on health care in the United States.