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There is increasing concern among investors about the spread of the coronavirus in countries outside China, with a spike in infections in South Korea, and deaths in Japan and Iran. The Chinese province at the center of the outbreak reported a sharp drop in new cases after the country again changed the way it diagnoses infections. The economic fallout also continues as automakers prepare for widespread production halts at plants around the world as the shutdown in China is leading to shortages of components. A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S, the world’s largest container shipping company, tried to strike a more upbeat tone by predicting a sharp rebound in trade in the coming months, based on expectations the outbreak may soon peak. (Bloomberg)

 

L Brands is nearing a deal to sell control of Victoria's Secret in a transaction that values the lingerie brand at about $1.1B, WSJ reports. Private-equity player Sycamore Partners is expected to buy 55% of the struggling business and take it private, while L Brands will retain a 45% stake that will include the Pink chain. Alongside, L Brands Chairman and CEO Leslie Wexner, the embattled billionaire who has run the retail company for more than 50 years, will step down from both roles (but remain on the board). (SA)

 

Morgan Stanley to buy E-Trade: The $13bn all-stock deal is a sharp escalation of the battle for middle America’s wealth management market and comes less than two months after Charles Schwab announced a $26bn takeover of its biggest rival TD Ameritrade. E-Trade has more than 5.2m client accounts and over $360bn of retail client assets, which Morgan Stanley will add to the $2.7tn of assets it manages for 3m clients.  (FT)

 

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Josh Fenili.

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