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  • Shares skidded in Asia on Monday after reports of a surge in new virus cases outside China. The decline followed a sell-off Friday on Wall Street. South Korea's Kospi dropped 3% to 2,098.37, while the S&P ASX/200 in Sydnay lost 2.3% to 6,975.20. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 1.5% to 26,903.84 and the Shanghai Composite index lost 0.3% to 3,029.22. Benchmarks in Jakarta, Taiwan and Thailand fell by more than 1% and India's Sensex lost 1% to 40,755.23. Another large jump in new cases was reported in South Korea on Monday, a day after the the president called for “unprecedented, powerful” steps to combat the outbreak that is increasingly confounding attempts to stop the spread. Hopes that the outbreak had been contained were premature, Mizuho Bank said in a commentary, “And indeed, fears of secondary infections proliferating outside of China have come home to roost, sending risk assets in a tailspin and a wave of refuge-seeking into safe-haven.' Stocks fell and bond prices jumped Friday on Wall Street amid signs the viral outbreak is weighing on U.S. companies. The S&P 500 fell 1.1% to 3,337. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.8% to 28,992. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks gave up 1.1%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq lost 1.8% to 9,576. Technology companies, which have much greater exposure to China than other industries, fell the most. Chipmakers, which rely heavily on China for both sales and supply chains, were some of the worst hit. Advanced Micro Devices slid 7%, while Nvidia fell 5.6%. Data from IHS Markit show U.S. manufacturing and business activity slowed in February from the previous month, coming in below analysts' expectations. Travel restrictions, business closures and other efforts in China aimed at containing the spread of the virus have begun to disrupt supply chains and sales prospects for Apple and other big companies. Companies that depend on consumer spending, especially in travel-related industries, also fell broadly. Marriott International shed 2.7% and Carnival fell 1.8%. American Airlines dropped 3.2%. General Motors lost 2.2% and other automakers slipped as the virus hurts auto sales in China The yield on the 30-year Treasury has dipped to record lows as investors sought the safety of U.S. government bonds. It fell to a record low of 1.886%, according to Tradeweb, from 1.98% late Thursday. The yield on the more closely followed 10-year Treasury was at 1.47%. That yield, which is a benchmark for mortgages and other kinds of loans, was close to 1.90% at the start of this year. The price of gold also rose, surging $14.50 to $1,663.30 per ounce. Expectations have been building among traders that the Federal Reserve will need to cut interest rates this year to help the economy. They’re pricing in a 90% probability of at least one cut this year, up from an 85% probability a day ago and a 58% probability a month ago. Uncertainties are weighing on energy prices as well. Benchmark U.S. crude lost $1.21 to $52.17 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 50 cents to $53.38 per barrel on Friday. Brent crude, the international standard, gave up $1.41 to $56.53 per barrel. The U.S. dollar slipped to 111.54 Japanese yen from 111.57 yen on Friday. The euro weakened to $1.0823 from $1.0847.
  • Regulators on promised tax cuts and other aid Monday to help companies recover from China’s virus outbreak and expressed confidence the ruling Communist Party’s growth targets can be achieved despite anti-disease controls that shut down much of the economy. At a news conference, finance and planning officials said they are looking at how to channel aid to businesses after President Xi Jinping publicly promised over the past week to ensure farming and other industries recover quickly. Manufacturing and other industries are gradually reviving, but forecasters say it is likely to be at least mid-March before automakers and other companies have returned to full production. The government is looking at “targeted tax reduction,” interest rate cuts and payments to poor and virus-hit areas, said an assistant finance minister, Ou Wenhan. “We will do a good job of implementing large-scale interest rate reduction and tax deferral and ensure effective implementation as soon as possible,” said Ou. Business activity plunged after the government extended the Lunar New Year holiday in January to keep factories and offices closed and told the public not to travel. Officials are shifting toward reviving business but also have orders to prevent infection from spreading as millions of people return to work. During a meeting Sunday, Xi said regions deemed to be at low risk of the disease should ease curbs controls and revive business activity while high-risk regions should focus on control. Xi said officials also should make sure planting of spring crops in China's vast countryside isn't disrupted. epidemic Asked whether Beijing planned to reduce its economic growth targets for the year, the general secretary of the Cabinet’s planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, expressed confidence the virus’s impact would be brief. The ruling party has yet to announce this year’s economic targets after 2019 growth fell to a multi-decade low of 6.1%. Forecasters expect it to be about 6% but say if the disease isn’t controlled quickly, growth could decline to ask low as 5%, raising the risk of politically dangerous job losses. “The epidemic’s impact on the economy and society is short-term and generally controllable and will not change China’s long-term positive economic fundamentals,” said the NDRC official, Cong Liang. “Economic and social development goals for 2020 can be achieved,” Cong said. Nearly 1,000 companies have received low-interest loans from a 300 billion yuan ($43 billion) recovery fund offered by the central bank, according to a People’s Bank of China official, Chen Yulu. Cong said industrial output is rebounding, though he gave no indication when the government expects it to return to normal. Production by companies in trade-oriented coastal areas has risen above 70% of normal, according to Cong. He said food processing, coal mining and other industries are back to at least 70%, but he gave no figures for the level of production at their lowest point during the outbreak.
  • Intuit Inc. is reportedly close to a $7 billion deal to acquire personal-finance portal Credit Karma Inc. and beef up its position in the consumer-finance market. The Wall Street Journal, citing sources familiar with the talks, reported Sunday that a deal involving cash and stock could be announced as soon as Monday. Intuit makes TurboTax. Buying Credit Karma would be the biggest acquisition in the company’s 37-year history. The Journal said privately held Credit Karma was valued at about $4 billion in a private share sale two years ago. Credit Karma provides consumers with credit monitoring, free access to credit scores, data-breach alerts and tax-filing services. The company gets money by pitching credit cards and loans based on customers’ credit history. Credit Karma is based in San Francisco and was founded in 2007 by Kenneth Lin, its current CEO and others. The Journal said the company considered selling shares to the public, but the IPO market has been marked by disappointing roll-outs more recently. An Intuit purchase of Credit Karma would be merely the latest deal in the financial-services sector. Last week, investment bank Morgan Stanley announced it will buy online brokerage E-Trade Financial for about $13 billion in stock. In January, Visa said it was paying $5.3 billion for Plaid, which lets consumers to link bank accounts to financial-services apps like PayPal and Venmo. Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade are in the midst of their own merger.
  • Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons — two of the fashion world's biggest creative names — will collaborate on Prada collections from Spring/Summer 2021 going forward indefinitely, the designers announced Sunday at a news conference on the sidelines of Milan Fashion Week. Prada, who has been the creative force behind one of luxury’s most successful brands for 30 years, said the new partnership didn't signal an eventual succession. “Don’t make me older than I am,” the 70-year-old designer quipped. Simons, 52, is considered one of the fashion world’s biggest talents, whose future has been the subject of intense speculation since he left Calvin Klein in 2018. He previously was creative director of Jil Sander and Dior, and also has his own eponymous label, which he said would continue. Their first collaboration will appear on the September runway for Spring/Summer 2021. “The contract in theory is forever,” Prada said. “Maybe this is the first time in fashion history that two expert designers who had their own successes in this sector will work together,” said Patrizio Bertelli, the co-CEO of the Prada Group with his wife, Miuccia Prada. The announcement came on a day when the new coronavirus was a growing concern around the fashion capital. Giorgio Armani took the unusual step to show his collection behind closed doors to an empty theater, streaming for the fashion public, as a precaution. The rest of the fashion shows scheduled for Sunday continued as planned. Later Sunday the number of confirmed cases in Italy rose to at least 152 and officials halted the Venice Carnival to try to stop the spread of the virus. Prada said they went ahead with the announcement despite the growing emergency in Italy — where more cases of the COVID-19 virus have been confirmed than in Hong Kong. She said that the globalized world is becoming ever more complex “and we need to work, also if these ugly and difficult things are happening.” The designers said that the collaboration was born out of long mutual respect dating from 2005 when Simons took over as creative director of Jil Sander, which was at the time part of the Prada Group. They both said that the collaboration was also meant as a bulwark against a tendency in the fashion world for creativity to be squelched by business priorities. “I think a lot of creatives in a lot of positions dealing with independent brands and creative directorships feel troubled, feel like the fashion industry is moving more and more toward an industry that might end up excluding creatives,” Simons said. He specified that in the fashion world there are examples of financial success without a strong creative direction. “It is definitely something we question, and we do believe that a collaboration between creatives could re-position that aspect of the whole business,” he said. ___ This story has been corrected to show that the correct title of Patrizio Bertelli is the co-CEO of the Prada Group, not the chairman.
  • The fashion crowd put a defiant face against the spread of a new virus, packing runway shows on the last big day of Milan Fashion Week on Sunday, even as Giorgio Armani made a last-minute decision to stream his latest collection from an empty theater out of concerns for guests' health. Conde Naste artistic director Anna Wintour took her usual spot in the front-row of Dolce&Gabbana across from a gaggle of global social media Tik-Tok influencers, none of whom were deterred by the spreading virus that had put about a dozen northern Italian towns on lockdown. The Italian National Fashion Chamber said in a statement early Sunday there were no indications from health officials that changes in the schedule were called for, adding that it was up to brands to decide if they would go ahead. Only Armani made changes, among nine shows scheduled. Later in the day, Lombard officials closed theaters, cinemas and other places, like discos and pubs where people might crowd, for at least seven days, as confirmed cases in Italy jumped to at least 152. And Venice officials took the step of canceling Carnival celebrations, unprecedented in modern times, in a bid to stop the virus spread. Even as the shows went on, the coronavirus threat cast a strange mood over the Italian fashion capital. Despite pockets of activity around the venues at showtime, the city was more empty than normal for an unusually warm winter Sunday, when people from the surrounding province often come for a stroll or to soak in the fashion week energy. Inside shows, just a handful of people wore protective masks. Asked about the impact of coronavirus on the fashion schedule, Wintour pivoted to the unexpected announcement of a collaboration between creative forces Raf Simons and Miuccia Prada at Prada going forward, calling it ‘’the most inspiring news of the season.’’ “To me that just shows how we can all be much stronger together at a time when things are so politically divisive. The idea of two creative geniuses coming together supersedes other concerns,'' Wintour told The Associated Press after Dolce&Gabbana. The economic impact of the virus on the wider industry remains a concern. At least 1,000 Chinese journalists, buyers and industry insiders couldn't travel from China, which contributes one-third of global luxury revenues in domestic sales and shopping abroad. The Giorgio Armani fashion house announced overnight his runway show on Sunday would be conducted in an empty showroom and streamed for the fashion public on the internet as a ‘’preventative measure decided by Mr. Armani to support national efforts in safeguarding public health.’’ It was the first time the 45-year-old Milan fashion house has taken such a step out of public health concerns, though Armani did stage a show in an empty venue in Paris in 1998 after officials said the big tent posed a safety hazard. At that time, he distributed video of the event to fashion editors, then restaged it in New York to protest what he said had been a decision dictated by fashion world politics and not safety concerns. In streaming, Armani models moved across a dark background, giving contrast to pink, teal and pearl gray silky printed trousers and skirts, while black velvet jackets that blended in with the darkness. The show ended with what notes said was a ‘’message of love for China,’’ where the coronavirus first broke out. Models in glistening, sculpted gowns from archival couture Armani Prive’ collections inspired by China stopped along the runway, while the 85-year-old took a bow to the virtual audience. Empty seats were visible behind him. At Dolce&Gabbana, designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana showed a predominantly black and white collection in a world that is anything but. The looks included many iterations of the brand’s famous black dresses, but this season was distinguished by cozy, enveloping knits in oversized stitching. To underline the artisanal quality, the brand’s knitters and other craftspeople demonstrated their skills in the foyer. Tik-Tocker Anna O’Brien, whose videos empowering curvy women are posted as @glittersandlazers, was thrilled to be in the front row of her first-ever international runway show, virus or no. ‘’Working in this industry, you learn about the hot story, right? And that’s the hot story right now. Is it a threat? Definitely. But is it the only thing that’s threatening the world right now? Not really,’’ said O’Brien, who traveled from Austin, Texas, to Milan. Earlier Sunday, emerging talent Mariana Rosati was preparing models for its morning show of her Tuscan brand DROMe, which has found fans with Bella Hadid and Ariana Grande. Rosati said she didn't believe there was reason to fear, as models sat nearby waiting for hair and make-up. “I am very sorry what is going on. I know it is not predictable and obviously we need to be careful. But I actually think a lot of panic has been spread for not enough reasons,” Rosati said. Though she expected fewer people would show, it was standing room only for the collection meant to inspire sensuality in women with its oversized jackets complemented by body-defining mini-dresses with deep slits that show off knitted underwear with a vintage feel. “Good vibes,” Rosati said. “This morning the news was that people would not show up. They did and that is great.”

News

  • Seven people were shot at a Houston flea market Sunday. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call around 7:41 p.m., KPRC reported. Investigators said no one was critically injured. Some injuries are believed to have been caused by ricochet of gunfire. A man is in custody, KPRC reported. This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
  • NBA star Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others will be remembered Monday at a memorial service at the Los Angeles Staples Center. Twenty thousand people are expected at the venue Monday afternoon to remember those killed last month when the helicopter they were riding in crashed into a hillside in Southern California. The service was scheduled Monday, 2-24-20, because the date is significant for Bryant’s family. For a time in his career, Bryant wore a No. 24 jersey. Gianna, who played basketball as well, wore a No. 2 jersey on her basketball team. Bryant’s wife and Gianna’s mother, Vanessa Bryant, said in an Instagram post that she and Kobe Bryant were together for 20 years. Tickets for seats in the Staples Center, which also incorporated the numbers 2 and 24, went for $224 for some tickets, $224 for two ticket packages in certain sections and $24.02 for other tickets. The proceeds from the ticket sales will go to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation. According to the organization’s website, the foundation 'exists to further Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s legacy through charitable endeavors in sports.” Here’s what you need to know if you want to watch the service:  What time: The service begins at 10 a.m. PT. That’s 1 p.m. ET. What channel: Several networks will be airing the service, among them CNN, E! News and BET. Will it be livestreamed: The memorial will be livestreamed on several sites. You can stream it through ETLive.com and CBS All Access, as well as the ET Live app on Roku, Amazon Fire TV or Apple TV. ESPN will be streaming it here. ABC News, NBCNews.com, Hulu Live TV, Sling TV, Yahoo Sports and Facebook Watch will also livestream the event.
  • A family has to bury another loved one after a man was shot during a viewing at a funeral home in Arkansas. Forrest City police said the shooting happened outside a funeral home off South Washington Street on Friday afternoon. Officers said the shooter, Christopher Reed, and victim, Curtis Allen, were cousins and were arguing about a dispute from back in 2014. Allen’s sister said she was outside when the shooting happened. “Your own family would do something so horrific on one of the most horrific days of someone’s life,” said Rozette Allen. Rozette Allen said her family traveled from Illinois to pay respects to their father Friday afternoon. She said Reed and her brother had unresolved issues from the past. She said Reed went up to her brother to shake his hand outside the funeral home but Curtis Allen wanted to be left alone. “He started pulling out a gun from his bookbag, and I’m like, ‘He has a gun, he has a gun,’ and he started shooting,” said Rozette Allen. Benjamin Wynne works at Miles J. Kimble Mortuary and Cremation. He said he was inside when he heard gunshots. “When he went through, ran through the funeral home, I immediately called police,” said Wynne. Police said Reed shot Curtis Allen multiple times. Allen was taken to the hospital and died Sunday. Officers arrested Reed and charged him with first-degree murder, aggravated assault and other charges. Rozette Allen said she will miss her brother, whom she described as a loving father of four kids. “I love him keep watching over us, watch over all of us,” said Allen.
  • A man was arrested after he attempted to rob a dog walker, shot him in the leg and then stole the dog walker’s dog, Daytona Beach police said. Officers said they responded around 2:30 p.m. Sunday after receiving a call for help. Investigators said a man was walking his dog when Dwayne Foster approached him with a handgun and told the man to empty his pockets. The man refused and Foster fired several shots, with one striking the man in the leg, police said. The man was treated on the scene by paramedics and is in stable condition. Officers said they were able to track Foster down, along with the victim’s dog, as well as the gun. Charges are pending against Foster.
  • A 21-year-old woman from Pittsburgh fell around 80 feet from a cliff near Breakneck Bridge at McConnells Mill State Park on Sunday afternoon, fire officials confirmed. Dispatchers said the call came in around 3:23 p.m. Fire officials said the woman was flown to a hospital and has head and back injuries. The woman was with a group of Slippery Rock University students. No other information was immediately available.
  • A rider fell off a float Sunday during a Mardi Gras parade. The rider fell from the lower level of float 16B during the Thoth parade, WDSU reported. The rider was taken to a hospital in stable condition. Two people have died during parades this week. A man was struck and killed Saturday night when he was caught between two sections of a tandem float. Earlier in the week, Geraldine Carmouche, 58, died in a similar accident involving a tandem float. In response to the deaths, city officials have banned all tandem floats for the remainder of the Carnival season.