US stocks tumble as Wall Street heads for its worst first quarter ever

Wall Street opened sharply lower on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down over 200 points. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite were down around one percent during early trading.

Investors remain focused on the worsening Covid-19 outbreak in the US, which officially has become the most affected country, with confirmed cases rising to more than 164,000. President Donald Trump said on Sunday he hopes the country will “be well on our way to recovery” by June 1.

US stock markets are giving back some of the gains from the previous session, when the Dow jumped nearly 700 points and the S&P 500 rallied 3.4 percent. The gains on Monday were led by an eight percent surge in Johnson & Johnson shares after the pharmaceutical firm announced a vaccine candidate for the coronavirus.

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“I think the market has established some type of bottom,” Tom Lee, head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors, told CNBC. “I don’t know if this is October ’08 here; we still have some wood to chop.”

The Dow is now up 20 percent from its coronavirus sell-off low on March 23, while the S&P 500 has grown more than 17 percent from those levels.

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Head of Russian coronavirus hospital visited by Putin tests positive for Covid-19

Denis Protsenko, head doctor at a hospital treating coronavirus patients in Moscow has tested positive for Covid-19. President Vladimir Putin visited the clinic earlier this month.

Protsenko confirmed on Facebook that he tested positive for coronavirus and self-isolated in his office. Despite the diagnosis, he is set to continue his work as the head of the hospital.

“Dear friends, I’m really touched by your concerns. Yes, I’ve tested positive for the CoV, but I feel quite well. I’ve self-isolated at my office where I have everything needed for remote work, control and video consultations,” the doctor wrote on Facebook.

Protsenko has been a leading figure in the medics’ fight against Covid-19 in Russia. He has been posting daily reports and updates about the situation at the clinic on social media.

President Vladimir Putin inspected the clinic on March 24, where he had met with Protsenko and visited some patients while wearing a hazmat suit.

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Dutch Navy submarine aborts North Sea training mission due to Covid-19 outbreak on board

A Dutch combat submarine was forced to cut its voyage short and quickly return home after several of its crew members tested positive for the Covid-19 disease.

The mission was aborted after 15 sailors on board the Walrus-class submarine HNLMS ‘Dolfijn’ showed flu-like symptoms. Eight of them later tested positive for Covid-19, the Dutch Defense Ministry said.

The outbreak was discovered when the submarine was on a training mission in the North Sea off the coast of Scotland. The disease forced the vessel to cut its trip short and return to the Den Helder naval base two weeks earlier than planned. All of its 58 crewmembers have been quarantined for further testing.

More than 11,700 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in the Netherlands, and 864 patients have died.

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British soldiers with NATO-led Resolute Support Mission arrive at the site of an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan March 6, 2020. © Reuters / Omar Sobhani
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Earlier this month, the US Navy reported that at least 36 sailors tested positive for Covid-19 on board the aircraft carrier USS ‘Theodore Roosevelt.’ Last week, four NATO soldiers were diagnosed with coronavirus in Afghanistan, while dozens more were quarantined with flu-like symptoms.

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Beijing won't just 'watch Huawei be slaughtered on the chopping board', company chief warns US 

Banning Chinese products from the American market may result in a retaliation from the Chinese market, Huawei head has warned. If the electronic giant is barred from the US, the same may happen to American firms in China.

“The Chinese government will not just stand by and watch Huawei be slaughtered on the chopping board,” Chairman Eric Xu told reporters at the launch of Huawei’s annual report.

“Why wouldn’t the Chinese government ban the use of 5G chips or 5G chip-powered base stations, smartphones and other smart devices provided by American companies, for cybersecurity reasons?”

The US claims Huawei equipment gives the Chinese government opportunity to snoop on clients’ communications. Washington placed it on a blacklist last May and has been pressuring allies to bar the company from upgrading their networks to a 5G standard. 

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Some, like Germany and Britain, wouldn’t yield to the pressure, saying they found no credible evidence that Huawei technology poses a security threat.

Xu predicted that further attacks against Huawei may result in Beijing barring the Chinese market to American chip producers and switching to new suppliers.

“Even if this situation you mentioned happened, Huawei and also other Chinese companies can choose to buy chipsets from Samsung from [South] Korea, MTK from Taiwan, and in China, and use those companies to develop chips,” Xu said when asked about an alleged plan of the Trump administration to torpedo Huawei’s supply from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.

He added that a full-fledged war involving bans and restrictions between the US and China would disrupt the entire microelectronic industry and not just Huawei.

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The annual report showed Huawei sales slopping to a three-year low in 2019. But 2020 will be an even more difficult year for the company, company officials said, citing the global economic slowdown amid the Covid-19 pandemic and continued pressure by the US.

The pandemic and its consequences have been given much attention at the Tuesday event, starting with the fact that all journalists had only a virtual presence at it. Huawei said the health crisis showed the necessity for reliable communication capacities and that it was prepared to do its part in helping its clients throughout the world to deal with the situation.

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'Making sure I still know how to hit trick shots': Swiss ace Roger Federer making the most of his time in lockdown (VIDEO)

It may be some time before Roger Federer hits a tennis ball in anger again with sports across the globe canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. But the Swiss star isn’t letting the time away from the court dull his skills.

Federer, 38, is currently at home in the Swiss mountains as he follows advice from health experts across the world to remain in isolation until the coronavirus pandemic is under control.

There is currently no indication when the world’s fourth-ranked player will be able to return to the court again, but the Swiss superstar is apparently using the enforced isolation to brush up on some of the cheekier elements of his game.

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A video released to Federer’s Twitter page shows him on a snowy practice court, where he runs through an array of trick shots, first through his legs and then behind his back before finishing the 20-second clip with a powerful forehand, along with the caption, “Making sure I still remember how to hit trick shots.”

The video, which has almost four million views since it was posted, and comes just six weeks after he underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in a bid to overcome a niggling injury.

He had stated that he was targeting the grass-court season as a date for his return from injury. But, with the majority of this summer’s major sporting events like the Tokyo Olympics and the European Championships having already been canceled, it appears likely that this summer’s tournaments – including Wimbledon – will also fall victim to the coronavirus.

Some tennis analysts suggest that any prolonged absence from competitive tennis may well have a negative impact on veteran player Federer. 

I think for Federer when you have played 20 years and then don’t hit tennis balls for a month or two, it’s not going to make any difference – as he showed a couple of years ago,” former British player Barry Cowan told Sky Sports.

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But there comes a time at his age when you actually need to play competitively. Otherwise potentially the body might slow down. Federer will be the one concern for me.”

Last week, Federer and his wife Mirka announced a $1 million donation to Swiss families threatened by the spread of the deadly coronavirus 

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