Coronavirus live updates: Coca-Cola takes an earnings hit, Iran confirms more cases

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  • Total confirmed cases: More than 76,700
  • Total deaths: At least 2,249

Markets that are expecting an interest rate cut are reacting to the coronavirus scare and likely will reverse once the fear starts to fade, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said. In an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Bullard pushed back on the likelihood of a cut, saying current policy seems right considering the pace of the record-breaking U.S. economic expansion. “There’s a high probability that the coronavirus will blow over as other viruses have, be a temporary shock and everything will come back. But there’s a low probability that this could get much worse,” he said. “Markets have to price that in, and that drags down the center of gravity a little bit. But if this all goes away, I expect that pricing will come back out of the market and we’ll be back to the on-hold scenario.” — Cox

Iran’s health ministry on Friday reportedly confirmed the coronavirus had spread to several cities nationwide, before adding the flu-like virus might exist in all of them. “Based on existing reports, the spread of the coronavirus started in Qom and with attention to people’s travels has now reached several cities in the country, including Tehran, Babol, Arak, Isfahan, Rasht, and other cities. And it is possible that it exists in all cities in Iran,” Health Ministry official Minou Mohrez said Friday, Reuters reported, citing the country’s official IRNA news agency. It comes after the Islamic Republic confirmed 18 total cases on Friday, and four patients have died. — Meredith

Coca-Cola is forecasting that the coronavirus will drag down its first-quarter earnings by a penny to 2 cents a share. The company also estimates that the outbreak will hit unit case volume by 2% to 3% and organic revenue by 1% to 2%.The beverage giant is still expecting to meet its full-year outlook. Coke’s Chinese business accounts for about 10% of its global volume but less of its profit and revenue. — Lucas

Israel’s Ministry of Health on Friday confirmed a passenger returning from a coronavirus-hit cruise ship in Japan has tested positive for COVID-19. The patient is in quarantine and under supervision, the Health Ministry said in a statement, adding the infection did not take place in Israel. The remaining passengers returning to Israel were reported to have tested negative for the coronavirus. — Meredith

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/21/coronavirus-latest-updates-outbreak.html

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