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Virus fears send Asian stocks into sharp declines

China’s Shanghai Composite index plunged 8.7 percent but then rebounded slightly as regulators moved to steady markets that reopened Monday from a prolonged national holiday amid news the outbreak of a deadly virus has spread further. Other Asian markets also fell sharply, with Taiwan’s benchmark initially down 2.8 percent. The declines followed a day of bloodletting Friday on Wall Street. After nosediving on the open, the Shanghai Composite was down 7.7 percent at 2,747.13, likely reflecting action by the central bank, which on Sunday announced it was injecting 1.2 trillion yuan ($173 billion) into the markets to ensure there would be enough liquidity. Chinese authorities reported Monday that the number of people infected by the coronavirus had risen above 17,000. The virus has killed more than 360 people, all but one in China. The benchmark for China’s smaller market, in Shenzhen, was down 7.8 percent at 1,695.36 by mid-morning. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index lost 1 percent to 22,971.13, while the S&P ASX/200 declined 1.6 percent to 6,902.10. In South Korea, the Kospi declined 0.6 percent to 2,105.46. However, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng, which has many mainland Chinese heavyweights, climbed 0.3 percent to 26,370.78. Worries over the potential harm to businesses and trade from the virus outbreak have triggered wide swings in share prices around the globe. On Wall Street Friday, the Dow skidded more than 600 points. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


WeWork, seeking a turnaround, names real estate veteran as CEO

WeWork has named Sandeep Mathrani as its new chief executive, tapping an experienced real estate operator for a bid to turn around the embattled startup. Mathrani, previously CEO of Brookfield Property Partners’ retail group, will need to execute a plan for WeWork to refocus on co-working and abandon unrelated ventures started by cofounder Adam Neumann. Mathrani replaces Artie Minson and Sebastian Gunningham; they have served as co-CEOs of WeWork’s parent, We Co., since Neumann stepped down in September following a failed attempt to take the company public. The new CEO will report to executive chairman Marcelo Claure, an executive at SoftBank Group, which committed billions of dollars to WeWork in a rescue package last fall. Mathrani helped GGP, a shopping mall operator, emerge from bankruptcy in 2010. The aborted IPO process laid bare WeWork’s vulnerabilities. It was spending far more than it was getting in revenue and suffered from an over-dependence on Neumann, who took out loans from WeWork as it paid him rent on buildings he owned. WeWork agreed to part ways with Neumann in an exit package valued at more than $1 billion. SoftBank and Claure have helped recruit new management and outline a turnaround plan, which included cutting 2,400 jobs. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Post-Brexit, Britain wants Canada-style deal with EU

British officials pushed the European Union on Sunday for a Canada-style free trade arrangement as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson geared up to spell out his government’s negotiating stance. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told Sky News that Britain will seek a deal that imposes very few tariffs, but not seek to align its regulations with the EU’s. ‘‘We are taking back control of our laws, so we are not going to have high alignment with the EU and legislative alignment with their rules,” Raab said. “We will want to cooperate and we expect the EU to follow through on their commitments to a Canada-style free trade agreement.” EU officials warn that Canada achieved largely tariff-free trade status only by bringing many of its rules into line with EU regulations. EU officials fear the United Kingdom could water down its environmental or health and safety precautions, undermining EU businesses. The trade talks are vital because now that Britain has officially left the EU bloc — the first nation ever to do so — Johnson hopes to have a wide-ranging new deal in place by year’s end. He plans to detail Britain’s stance in a speech Monday. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



InnoCare delays its Hong Kong IPO talks as fears grow about virus


The world’s top initial public offering market has seen the impact of the coronavirus outbreak as a Chinese biotech firm decided to postpone investor meetings for its Hong Kong listing. InnoCare Pharma Ltd., which develops treatments for cancer and autoimmune diseases, delayed plans to start gauging demand this week because of the widening virus epidemic, said people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified. The company had been planning to raise about $200 million from the IPO, they said. Innocare declined to comment. Hong Kong was the world’s top listing venue last year, with more than $40 billion raised, thanks to the mega share sale by Alibaba Holdings. The epidemic even has the potential to disrupt IPOs across Asia as scores of flights, particularly to and from China, have been canceled and meetings between bankers, investors, and executives have grown difficult. Mergers and acquisitions that involved Hong Kong and China companies have seen their slowest start since 2013, partly due to an earlier Lunar New Year. Transaction value stood at $21 billion in January, less than half of the $48 billion for the same period last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Trump, Kenya’s president will meet ahead of trade talks

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta will meet President Trump in Washington this week as the two countries prepare to announce negotiations on a free-trade agreement, America’s first such deal with a sub-Saharan nation. The pair will hold an “expanded bilateral meeting” Thursday, according to Trump’s official schedule, released Sunday. The East African nation’s Cabinet on Jan. 30 approved talks with the United States for a trade deal that “would help Kenyan goods to have smooth access to the expansive US market,” especially as the African Growth Opportunity Act comes to an end. The AGOA, which provides 39 sub-Saharan countries duty-free access to the United States for about 6,500 products, expires in 2025. Bloomberg News reported Jan. 28 that the Trump administration wants the accord to be a model for future pacts with African countries, according to a person familiar with the plans. Macharia Kamau, Kenya’s principal secretary for foreign affairs, said the government expects real progress on the agreement by the third quarter of this year. — BLOOMBERG NEWS