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Friday Trepidation

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Asian markets closed uniformly in the red this morning and now European markets are following in the same direction. With so much uncertainty about the global spread of the coronavirus and the fact that its spread in Europe and the U.S. is accelerating, short term investors are battening down the hatches ahead of the weekend.

Whitbread (LON:WTB), which only last week announced an expansion into the German hotel market, is being pummeled after cases of the coronavirus in Germany rose to 555 over the last few days. Airlines are also under pressure, digesting the collapse of Exeter-based airline Flybe. With many flights within Europe, to Asia and across the Atlantic continuing to be cancelled, EasyJet and IAG (LON:ICAG) are among the top fallers on the FTSE 100 this morning, both trading more than 4% lower.

OPEC and Russia at loggerheads

OPEC now wants to implement much bigger output cuts than at the beginning of the coronavirus spread, pushing for 1.5m barrels to be pulled out of the market. The crunch will come later today when OPEC oil ministers meet with Russia to agree on a joint move as Russia has so far resisted this proposal. A drop in Brent crude prices to $48.9 may present an incentive.

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