Coronavirus takes a toll on stocks - Vested

Coronavirus takes a toll on stocks

Even defensive stocks aren’t safe: Investors that have traditionally sought haven in defensive stocks may need to find alternative safety routes as the virus outbreak continues to wreak havoc across Asia, reports Bloomberg. The spread of Coronavirus may spur companies to cut their dividend payouts in a bid to preserve their working capital.

“Many CEOs will look to cut their dividends as a way of preserving cash. The good news is that the number of stocks on the critical list is small, however, the utility companies don’t appear to offer the same defensiveness as investors might think,” says Sean Darby, global equity strategist with Jefferies Financial Group Inc.

The newspaper crisis continues: Warren Buffett’s exit from the newspaper industry could be a sign of trouble for local newspapers, reports Bloomberg. As investments from hedge funds like Alden Capital–known for its ruthless layoffs and cut-throat attitude–continue, the future of journalism is bleak.

More from Bloomberg: “Alden is one of several Wall Street firms that have gained control over the newspaper industry. The financial firms’ strategy centers largely around buying other newspapers to boost revenue, then cutting costs by centralizing operations and laying off journalists.”

Preventing a slippery slope: According to The Telegraph, Barclays is preparing to introduce stricter rules for dealing with the oil industry following rising threats of an investor revolt. Sources said that the bank has met with ShareAction, a nonprofit that promotes responsible investing, which plans to formally challenge Barclays to soothe concerns.

One Top 20 shareholder said: “They know if you don’t supply the drugs then someone else will. Another bank will lend the money [for fossil fuel projects] if Barclays say no, so they’ll lose out but get more kudos. They’re not going to be smashing the policy into smithereens, but they are listening.”

A tech attack: Ransomware attacks are on the rise, according to The New York Times. In 2019, 205,280 organizations submitted files that had been hacked in a ransomware attack — a 41 percent increase from the year before, writes the Times. The average payment for ransomware is also up to $84,116 in the last quarter of 2019 — more than twice the previous quarter.

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