U.S. Companies Say Coronavirus Outbreak Will Materially Impact Earnings

In China, the coronavirus outbreak has sickened 75,467 and killed 2,236 people so far.

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Amid ongoing coronavirus outbreak in China and other nations, some U.S. companies say the outbreak will affect the national and international markets.

Procter & Gamble Co. has warned investors that the outbreak will materially affect earnings for the first quarter – January to March – as China is the company’s second-largest market.

The new coronavirus, aka COVID-19, is a type of virus similar to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

The outbreak started in Wuhan, a city in China, in December, which has sickened 75,467 and killed 2,236 people so far in the country. The United States reported 27 confirmed cases, with no deaths, so far.

Health officials say that the largest number of cases are found in China but they have also been paying close attention to the 634 confirmed cases and 2 deaths from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that is docked in Yokohama, Japan.

Like Procter & Gamble Co., other U.S. companies have their say when it comes to the impact caused by the outbreak on the market.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. said it the outbreak may shave off 75 cents from earnings per share in 2020. Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. said port closures in China have delayed trucking and packages were left stacked up at ports.

Ecolab Inc., a water technology company, said it expects a 5-cent hit to EPS due to the outbreak. Lenovo Group Ltd., smartphone manufacture, has closed its factory in Wuhan. The company said not all Chinese employees have returned to work at factories and supply chain and logistics have disrupted.

Meanwhile, Japanese health officials have claimed the quarantine on the Diamond Princess cruise ship was chaotic. They said two passengers died after leaving a ‘chaotic’ quarantined cruise. The U.S. government evacuated nearly all of the American citizens and their families from the cruise ship. Some of them were taken to the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC)and some to Omaha hospital for final health checkups. UNMC said 12 of the 13 patients tested positive for COVID-19, while the two who tested negative were sent to Omaha hospital.