Good morning, it's Paul here with the SCVR for Thursday.

No lengthy preamble today, as I was too tired last night to write up anything, and lacked inspiration on topics.

Estimated time of completion: 1pm
Edit at 13:04 - today's report is now finished.

It all looks really boring today, so I'll try not to let my lack of motivation show! In fact, it is worth putting in the effort ploughing through lots of apparently boring companies, as occasionally a nugget of gold is unearthed.

Coronavirus update

Reported cases in China have shot up overnight. The website I follow (after I verified it's from a trustworthy source, essential these days in the era of fake noooz) showed a jump to 60,332 cases (59,807 in China) this morning. 24 hours earlier it was showing c.45k cases. Although the 15k jump overnight could be due to changes in how the numbers are being calculated in China. It's been previously reported that the Chinese were under-stating cases, by reclassifying some outside of the reported numbers. Plus of course there could be any number of milder cases where people don't seek any medical help at all.

Edit: the BBC website confirms that the way cases are being reported in China has indeed been changed, hence the big jump overnight. It also points out that this has thrown trend analysis into chaos. End of edit.

I'm conscious of the fact that we're talking about a situation with horrible human consequences. Please take that as a given in the discussions here, nobody needs reminding of that, I'm sure we're all concerned. We have to focus here on the impact to businesses, and shares, because that's the topic here. It's probably the biggest single risk factor to markets & the economy right now.

The overnight jump in cases, even if it's due to a recalculation of the numbers, clearly moves this issue up the priority list, and has slightly dented futures overnight.

I remain of the view that markets seem far too sanguine about coronavirus, and it could cause a lot more disruption than is currently factored in. Particularly in the US, where amazingly markets are hitting new highs. They must just see the virus outbreak as a temporary & remote issue that doesn't affect them. I'm not sure that is correct, but time will tell.

It seems to me that this is probably…

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