Futures sharply lower
U.S. stock index futures pointed to more losses for Wall Street on Friday, as new cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to emerge outside of China.
The deadly virus has recently spread into Lithuania, New Zealand, Georgia, United Kingdom, North Macedonia, Brazil, Norway, Oman, Romania, Greece, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Nigeria, the first case in sub-Saharan Africa.
California Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Thursday that the state is monitoring at least 8,400 people who arrived from China for possible cases of the virus. Newsom made the announcement a day after the U.S. health officials confirmed the first possible ‘community spread’ coronavirus case in a Solano County resident.
As of 4:30 a.m. ET, the blue-chip Dow futures were down 669.5 points, or 2.62% to 24,882.5. The S&P 500 futures dropped 76.12 points, or 2.57% to 2,880.88 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures declined 244.25 points, or 2.91% to 8,138.50.
Pandemic fears hit oil prices
Crude futures also fell on Friday as traders continued to access the impact of the coronavirus outbreak – which has infected more than 83,000 people and claimed over 2,800 lives worldwide (as of Feb. 28) – on world gas and oil markets.
As of 4:30 a.m. ET, U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down $2.04, or around 4.33%, at $45.05 per barrel. International Brent crude oil futures were at $49.66 a barrel, down $2.07, or about 4% on the day.
The highly-infectious virus has spread beyond its epicenter in China to more than 40 countries, raising fears that it could turn into a global economic pandemic. Two of Europe’s biggest airline groups joined rivals early Friday in warning of falling demand and cancelled flights due to the outbreak.
Discount flyer EasyJet said it has seen a “significant softening of demand” from some European countries, including Italy. British Airways-owner IAG, which has canceled all of its flights to mainland China, said it expects the outbreak to hurt its earnings this year.
Beyond Meat stock slumps after Q4 profit
Shares of plant-based protein maker Beyond Meat (NASDAQ: BYND) are tumbling, despite reporting fourth-quarter revenue that beat analyst expectations after markets closed on Thursday.
The company had a net loss of $452,000, or $0.01 per share, compared with a net loss of $7.5 million, or $1.10 per share, in the same period a year ago. Investors expected Beyond Meat to pull off another profitable quarter after reaching that milestone in the third quarter.
Net sales grew to $98.5 million, well ahead of the $79.5 million that analysts polled by Refinitiv had forecast. The El Segundo, California-based company also revealed that Executive Chairman Seth Goldman will step down from his position and assume the role of non-executive chairman.
At the time of writing, shares of Beyond Meat were down $15.74, or 14.83% to $90.40 apiece in premarket trade Friday.