Asian shares mixed after Dow drops more than 1,000 points
UNDATED (AP) — Shares were mixed in Asia today after Wall Street suffered its worst session in two years, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average slumping more than 1,000 points on fears that a viral outbreak that began in China will weaken the world economy.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index lost 3.3% after it reopened from a holiday on Monday and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for a nationwide effort in containing an escalation in the spread of the coronavirus.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged 0.2% higher and the Shanghai Composite index shed 0.7%. In Australia, the S&P ASX/200 shed 1.6%.
South Korea’s Kospi rebounded from a steep loss on Monday, adding 1.2%. Shares also rose in Singapore but fell elsewhere in the region.
Yesterday on Wall Street, the Dow lost 1,031.61 points, or 3.6%, to 27,960.80. The S&P 500 index skidded 3.4%, to 3,225.89. The Nasdaq dropped 3.7% to 9,221.28 – its biggest loss since December 2018. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks gave up 3% to 1,628.10.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-TRAVEL STOCKS
Airline, cruise stocks pummeled on fear of spreading virus
UNDATED (AP) — The stocks of American Airlines and several cruise lines were among the worst performers in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index Monday, as investors fret that the new coronavirus could take hold outside China and further disrupt international travel.
Shares of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., Carnival Corp. and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. tumbled about 9%. American Airlines Group Inc. shed 8.5%, and Delta Air Lines Inc. and online travel agency Expedia Group Inc. fell more than 6%.
Fears about the new virus’ effect on the global economy grew after a spike in new cases reported in Italy, South Korea and Iran. Italy imposed travel restrictions in some areas to prevent the virus from spreading.
There are signs that the impact on travel in China, where the virus started, may be hitting a plateau or even easing. China is the world’s second-biggest air-travel market.
TurboTax maker Intuit buying Credit Karma in $7.1B deal
UNDATED (AP) — Intuit is buying consumer finance company Credit Karma in a $7.1 billion cash and stock deal that will take it deeper into the financial products realm.
The agreement announced Monday would bring together the maker of TurboTax, QuickBooks and other personal finance tools with one focusing on consumers’ access to financial products, such as finding the right loan or credit card.
Credit Karma offers users free access to credit scores and information about financial products. It analyzes consumers’ financial data and based on that, suggests products. Credit Karma gets paid by a bank or lender if a user gets a loan, credit card or other financial product through its system.
Bahrain temporarily stops Dubai, Sharjah flights over virus
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The tiny island nation of Bahrain has suspended flights to the world’s busiest airport for international travel in Dubai over fears about the spread of the coronavirus.
The move by Bahrain, a small island off the coast of Saudi Arabia, suggests its monarchy has doubts about screenings of incoming passengers in Dubai and nearby Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. It says the ban is immediate and will last at least 48 hours.
China sentences Swedish bookseller to 10 years in prison
BEIJING (AP) — A court in eastern China has given a 10-year prison sentence to a naturalized Swedish citizen who for years sold gossipy books about Chinese leaders in the semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong.
The Ningbo Intermediate People’s Court convicted Gui Minhai of “illegally providing intelligence overseas.”
Gui first disappeared in 2015, when he was believed to have been abducted by Chinese agents from his seaside home in Thailand.
After Gui was released into house arrest in Ningbo, the eastern Chinese city where he was born, police detained him once again in 2018 while he was in the company of two Swedish diplomats with whom he was traveling to Beijing.
Cuba opens its annual trade fair for the key cigar sector
HAVANA (AP) — Cuba’s annual cigar trade fair started Monday, bringing thousands of buyers and aficionados of the island’s iconic stogies to sample the latest wares and place orders for sale oversees.
According to Habanos SA officials, Cuba sold $531 million worth of cigars worldwide in 2019, a 10% increase over the previous year. They say the company expects sales to continue increases at that pace for 2020.
Cigars are a main component of Cuba’s tobacco exports, and officials at Tabacuba (Tobacco Business Group of Cuba), the government entity responsible for all tobacco production on the island, say they see strong demand for hand-rolled and machine-made cigars in 2020.
Asia, the Middle East and Europe are the biggest markets for Cuban cigars, with more than 10% growth registering in each market over the last year.