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🎙 "The last time I was intimidated was when I was 6 years old in karate class. I was an orange belt and the instructor ordered me to fight a black belt who was a couple years older and a lot bigger. I was scared s---less. I mean, I was terrified and he kicked my ass."
"But then I realized he didn't kick my ass as bad as I thought he was going to and that there was nothing really to be afraid of. That was around the time I realized that intimidation didn't really exist if you're in the right frame of mind." - See who said it and why it matters at the bottom
Worry about the Wuhan coronavirus is beginning to have a serious impact on business as new cases are discovered worldwide and China ramps up efforts to contain its spread.
What's happening: China extended its Lunar New Year holiday until Feb. 2 from Jan. 30, to help deal with the outbreak, as the death toll rose to 80 and the number of confirmed cases reached upwards of 2,700.
Threat level: Most Asian markets were closed for holidays, but those that were open reacted strongly overnight.
Plus, equities outside of the Pacific also suffered. The pan-European Stoxx 50 index, which tracks many of Europe's largest companies, fell by more than 2%, Russia's RTS declined by 3% and S&P 500 futures were lower by around 1.5%.
State of play: Several Chinese cities remain on lockdown and the government has said it will ban all outgoing overseas group tours, while Hong Kong announced it would bar residents of Hubei province from entering.
But, but, but: The coronavirus outbreak so far still pales in comparison to the death toll from the much more common flu (influenza) that kills around half a million people each year.
The big picture: Wuhan, China, which essentially has been quarantined as ground zero for the virus, is an important hub for Chinese manufacturing, South China Morning Post notes.
A slate of American companies also could see near-term hits, as WSJ reports the outbreak is already affecting bottom lines, including closures of businesses inside China.
Mattress maker Casper plans to price shares at between $17 and $19 for a midpoint valuation of $705 million, well below the $1.1 billion valuation where it last raised money. (Axios)
Europe’s main banking regulator is working to make it easier for its largest banks to merge as belief grows that scale is the key to reviving the struggling sector. (WSJ)
State attorneys general could be joining forces with U.S. Justice Department attorneys in their investigation of Google. (WSJ)
Iraqi security forces shot and killed a protester and three people were injured at the U.S. embassy, which may have been targeted by rockets, as civil unrest escalated. (Reuters)
The phase one U.S.-China trade deal will have little to no impact on sales this year, according to 63% of companies who participated in the latest business conditions survey released today by the National Association for Business Economics.
Why it matters: President Trump has championed the agreement as a "sea change in international trade" and the deal's signing has helped power U.S. stock indexes to fresh record highs, but business owners and economists are less enthusiastic.
Flashback: Last week, a "Reuters poll of over 100 economists ... showed a significant pickup in the U.S. economy was not on the cards" as a result of the trade deal.
Between the lines: Just 8% of finance, insurance, and real estate businesses (FIRE) and 10% of those in transportation, utilities, information and communications (TUIC) expect a positive impact from the deal, while 30% of TUIC firms and 13% of FIRE firms see negative impacts.
The big picture: Overall, the survey found businesses were more bullish about economic growth over the coming 12 months than they were in NABE's last outlook in October.
Of note: The Dec. 23–Jan. 8 survey includes responses of 97 NABE members.
Netflix is the No. 1 streaming service in terms of how many people currently use it, capturing 64% of respondents in a recent survey of U.S. adults. But its future growth is much less certain, according to new data from CivicScience.
Why it matters: Since the start of the year, Netflix stock has caught fire again, outpacing Disney's stock by almost 13% year to date — up 7.9%, with Disney off by 4.6%.
The quality of North American leveraged loan covenants rose back near its weakest level on record in the third quarter of 2019, according to ratings agency Moody's.
What it means: Moody's Loan Covenant Quality Indicator (LCQI) "tracks the degree of overall investor protection in the covenant packages of individual speculative-grade leveraged loans issued in the US and Canada," the company says.
The intrigue: "The weakening protection is all the more striking because it continued even as volumes declined and spreads widened from Q2 to Q3," Moody's senior covenant officer Derek Gluckman said in a statement.
I got a chance to interview Kobe Bryant (sort of) in 2013 when I was working for the Atlanta Daily World. It was after the game in which he came down on Dahntay Jones' foot and sprained his left ankle. Kobe was pissed and he wouldn't take any questions from anyone except the traveling Lakers reporter who kept asking him about that particular play.
After taking three or four questions from the Lakers guy, he just got up, put his arm around his wife and walked out of the locker room, as if making his point about time.
RIP Kobe. He was so much more than a basketball player.