Japan's $1.5 trillion GPIF to raise foreign bonds, cut domestic bonds, Nikkei says

RATIONAL AG Withdraws FY20 Guidance – Quick Facts

RATIONAL AG (RTLLF.PK) said, in view of the negative developments of the past two weeks, the company is retracting the forecast it gave on 10 March 2020. Also, the recommended dividend of 10.70 euros per share will be reviewed. A new dividend proposal will follow in due course, the company said.

“The economic damage for some of our customers is enormous. Businesses in the catering sector traditionally have a low credit rating, so they will face insolvencies or closures if immediate government aid is not received soon,” said Peter Stadelmann, CEO of Rational AG.

RATIONAL AG stated that its Annual General Meeting is scheduled to take place on 6 May 2020 as planned.

BT In Talks To Sell French Domestic Operations To Computacenter; Stock Up

Shares of BT Group plc (BT_A.L,BT) and Computacenter plc (CCC.L) were gaining in the morning trading in London after the companies announced Tuesday that they have entered exclusive negotiations for the sale of BT’s domestic operations in France to Computacenter.

The transaction is subject to consultations with works councils over a minimum period of two months. The deal will then be subject to regulatory approval, with completion expected to take place by the end of 2020.

BT’s domestic operations in France include management and maintenance of IT and network infrastructure, as well as networking and related professional services. In the year ended in March 2019, the business generated total revenue of about 104 million pounds.

BT said the planned divestment is part of its ongoing transformation of its Global unit, while Computacenter expects the acquisition would strengthen its existing business in France.

BT and Computacenter also intend to enter into a partnership agreement in France, ensuring continuity for existing customers and future growth opportunities.

In London, BT shares were trading at 123.58 pence, up 4.92 percent, and Computacenter shares were trading at 1,111 pence, up 4.61 percent.

Pernod Ricard Reports Impact From COVID-19; Cuts Earnings Outlook

Pernod Ricard (PDRDF.PK,PDRDY.PK,PRN.L) said, with the revised assumptions linked to COVID-19, the Group now projects an organic decline in profit from recurring operations for fiscal 2020 of approximately 20%. On 13 February 2020, the company issued a guidance of between 2% and 4% growth in organic profit from recurring operations.

Alexandre Ricard, CEO, said: “Our business model and strategy are resilient. Our 3-year plan Transform & Accelerate has been very successful, as demonstrated by the fiscal 2019 and first half fiscal 2020 results, and will continue to positively impact the business as we move through the COVID-19 crisis.”

Chris Hayes Exposes Fox News’ Alarming Reporting On Coronavirus

Chris Hayes on Monday called out Fox News for performing an “utterly insane about-face” with its coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

The host of MSNBC’s “All In” noted how some of the widely watched conservative network’s most popular hosts — including Sean Hannity, the staunch ally of President Donald Trump ― had started reporting on the public health crisis weeks ago simply “by echoing the president’s line, downplaying the coronavirus saying it was just like the seasonal flu and Democrats are weaponizing and hyping it.”

But as the number of cases worldwide and in the U.S. continued to rise, they “then turned around and started saying, ‘this is deadly serious. The president’s got it under control. Also, we don’t like China,’” Hayes noted.

Hayes and The New York Times media columnist Ben Smith then picked apart the latest pivot from the network to acknowledging the dire situation but calling for the economy not to be shut down, as Trump appeared to suggest.

Check out the clip above.

Turkish cenbank opens 15-bln lira, 90-day repo auction

ISTANBUL, March 24 (Reuters) – The Turkish central bank said on Tuesday it was opening a 90-day repo auction with a volume of 15 billion lira and an interest rate of 8.25%, 150 basis points below its policy rate.

The repo was in addition to its regular one-week repo with a rate of 9.75%, which on Tuesday had a volume of 14 billion lira.

Coronavirus: Shielding the vulnerable and social distancing

On this edition of the Sky News Daily podcast Jonathan Samuels looks at measures to shield the vulnerable and issues around social distancing.

We are joined by Sky’s science correspondent Thomas Moore, GP Dr Sufiyan Ali and Zainab Gulamali from the Muslim Council of Britain.

Laos records first two coronavirus cases

BANGKOK (REUTERS) – Laos has recorded its first two coronavirus cases, a news report on Thai state-owned media MCOT said on Tuesday (March 24), citing the Laos Health Ministry.

The two cases include a 28-year-old male hotel worker and a 36-year-old female tour guide, both in the capital Vientiane, a news report said.

The two patients have travelled abroad and work closely with foreigners. They are currently being treated at a hospital, the news report said.

Iran death toll from coronavirus close to 2,000: Health Ministry

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran’s death toll from the coronavirus outbreak increased by 122 in the past 24 hours to 1,934, Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said on Tuesday.

The total number of people diagnosed with the disease increased by 1,762 in the past 24 hours, to 24,811, he added on state TV.

Japan's $1.5 trillion GPIF to raise foreign bonds, cut domestic bonds, Nikkei says

TOKYO, March 24 (Reuters) – Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF), the world’s largest pension fund, will raise its foreign bond allocation target to 25% from 15%, the Nikkei newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The fund, which manages some $1.5 trillion in assets, will also cut its domestic bond allocation target to 25% from 35% now, the Nikkei said. The GPIF is due to announce a change in its asset allocation later this month. (Reporting by Takeshi Umekawa; Writing by David Dolan Editing by Louise Heavens)