Good morning, it's Paul here with Wednesday's SCVR.

Timings - I should have this finished or nearly finished by 1pm.
EDIT at 12:29 - I've covered most of the more important things for today. I'm taking a lunch break now, will finish off this article by 3pm.
EDIT at 15:46 - today's report is now finished


More thoughts on China

If you're not interested, just skip this section.

Overnight, the US markets seemed to shrug off worries about the coronavirus. From what I can make out, the attitude seems to be that this crisis will get sorted out, like all previous crises, and it shouldn't affect America. I'm not sure that's sensible. As we're seeing on our TV news, some large Chinese cities are like ghost towns, as people prefer to stay indoors to minimise the risk of becoming infected with a potentially fatal illness - who can blame them?

As I see it, there are two problems for markets. One is potential panic - SARS apparently hit markets by something like 6% to 13%. Although it's difficult to isolate that from other bearish factors going on at the same time - as one reader pointed out, that was the same time as the second Gulf War was building up, which kicked off in Mar 2003. Casting my mind back, I think the build up to the Iraq War was more of a worry for investors than SARS. Also, SARS didn't spread like this new virus is doing now.

Restrictions on travel (especially aviation) in & out of China is bound to affect shares in airlines, cruise ships, etc. Also I note that $SBUX  warned last night of an earnings hit from having to temporarily close over half its 4,292 Chinese stores. As the world's second-largest economy, events in China have more impact on the West than when it was a subsistence agricultural economy in the past.

What about supply chains being disrupted? Numerous companies in the UK and USA import parts and finished goods from China. How will production and transportation of those be impacted? How long for? Plus of course, the UK luxury goods are popular in China, so sales of those might fall.

Will markets look through this crisis, and see profit warnings connected with China as being a temporary blip? I'm not sure. In the UK, the market tends to mark down…

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