U.S. stock futures were pointing to a lower open Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average heading for its first down week in February. Dow component Coca-Cola said Friday that negative impact from the coronavirus will shave 1 to 2 cents off first-quarter per-share earnings. On Thursday, the Dow suffered a dramatic midday plunge from down about 200 points to down 388 points in roughly two minutes. Over the course of the afternoon, the Dow recovered two-thirds of those losses and closed off 128 points. Despite the logging its four negative session in the past five trading days, the Dow remained about 1.2% away from record highs.
While the cause of that rapid decline in the Dow remains unknown, some traders were pointing to a report out of China about a sharp increase in coronavirus cases at a hospital in Beijing. The timing of the report from the Chinese state-run Global Times did not match the market move lower, but it does show that the outbreak remains a concern on Wall Street.
Health officials in China on Friday reported more than 500 coronavirus cases traced back to four mainland prisons, including two in Hubei province, the center of the outbreak. There are more than 76,000 cases worldwide and 2,249 deaths. The vast majority of cases and deaths are in China.
On Friday, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard told CNBC that he expects the coronavirus to be a short-term problem and likely won't lead to a central bank interest rate cut. "There's a high probability that the coronavirus will blow over as other viruses have, be a temporary shock and everything will come back," he said on "Squawk Box." Bullard won't be a voter on the Fed's policy panel again until 2022.
Two days after Mike Bloomberg's debacle at the Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas and one day before Saturday's Nevada caucuses, a New York Times analysis shows the former New York City mayor spent nearly double fellow self-funding billionaire Tom Steyer and more than Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden combined. In the race thus far, Bloomberg has spent $409 million. Steyer has spent $254 million. Sanders has spent $117 million. Warren has spent $91 million. Buttigieg has spent $76 million. Biden has spent $63 million.
Sprint and T-Mobile have agreed to amend their merger agreement to give Deutsche Telekom a higher ownership stake in the combined company. Deutsche Telekom, the majority owner of T-Mobile, will now hold 43%. Common shareholders won't see a change in the exchange ratio. SoftBank, which controls of Sprint, agreed to surrender about 48.8 million T-Mobile shares it'll gain in the merger after the transaction is complete. SoftBank will hold 24%. T-Mobile said it plans to close the merger by April 1. Last week, a federal judge ruled in ruled in favor of the $26 billion deal. However, it still can't be completed until the California Public Utilities Commission gives its approval.
Warren Buffett releases his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders on Saturday. The letters from the "Oracle of Omaha" are considered required reading for investors who want a look at how the billionaire bargain-hunter sees the financial landscape. As CNBC's Tom Franck reports, the Buffett faithful are especially interested this year to know whether Berkshire finally found the ellusive "elephant-sized" acquisition it's been seeking to spend some of its $120 billion cash hoard on. Buffett told CNBC this time last year that stock prices were too high to make such a deal. Buffett joins "Squawk Box" on Monday for three hours, starting at 6 a.m. ET.