US prepares for possible coronavirus pandemic, WHO officials say Iran outbreak worrisome

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

Thousands of DuPont employees are working around the clock to increase production of protective garments that are in high demand by first responders and medical workers in high-impact regions like Wuhan, China. The protective suits are used by health professionals during the outbreaks to reduce the risk of infection. Reports from China show workers running low on safety supplies including garments and masks. —Mody and Manning

Online travel booking company is pushing back its fourth-quarter earnings report from Feb. 26 to March 18 to tally the impact of the outbreak on its ticketing and tour business, the company said. “The revised date would give the company more time to observe business conditions and provide visibility for the first quarter of 2020,” the company said. —Kopecki

The coronavirus outbreak ruined for investors what was a solid earnings reporting season and is casting a pall on forecasts for this quarter and the rest of this year. And now with most of the earnings season in the books, look for the latest coronavirus headlines to fill the vacuum and weigh on stocks the rest of the month. Fourth-quarter profit growth for S&P 500 companies came in at 3.1%, and if the energy sector is excluded, the growth rate was 6.0%, according to Refinitiv. Just about four weeks ago, analysts expected a slight decline. However, the deluge of solid corporate results was largely overlooked by investors who are focusing on the spillover impact from the coronavirus on U.S. corporations. —Li

Airlines have canceled more than 200,000 flights as the coronavirus continues to spread to new countries, prompting travel restrictions and a sharp drop in demand for trips to and within China. Between Jan. 23 and Feb. 18, 99,254 scheduled flights didn’t fly, close to 90% of them domestic trips, aviation consulting firm Cirium said. That’s sending jet-fuel prices, generally airlines’ second-biggest expense after labor, down sharply. While benchmark jet-fuel prices in the U.S. and Singapore have recovered some ground from hitting the lowest levels since mid-2017, they’re each down 17% so far this year, according to data from S&P Global Platts. —Josephs


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