Nearly 20% of S&P 500 companies have already warned investors about virus impact

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  • Just shy of 20% of S&P 500 companies have warned about coronavirus effects, according to analysis of more than 180 earnings transcripts and other releases.
  • Another sizable number of S&P executives said at the time of their earnings release that it was too early to tell, but promised to keep stakeholders aware.
  • McDonald’s confirmed location closures in China.
  • Three hundred ninety-two of the 500 S&P components have reported fourth-quarter earnings as of Friday.

Nearly one in five S&P 500 companies have said China’s virulent coronavirus will impact their revenues or profits, underscoring the far-reaching toll the disease is expected to take on businesses around the world.

A CNBC analysis of more than 180 earnings transcripts and other corporate releases since the beginning of 2020 showed a high level of concern.

While most management teams that have warned of a revenue hit said they don’t expect any impact to full-year figures, many expect a drag in the first quarter.

“Although it is difficult to anticipate the full impact of the coronavirus on our business, we expect the next couple of months will be very challenging,” said Estee Lauder CEO Fabrizio Freda. “Chinese consumers in many big cities are staying home and retailers are closing stores or limiting hours in an effort to help contain the spread of the virus.”

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