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The main economic news for Wednesday, February 26:
1. Bob Chapek becomes new Walt Disney’s CEO
Walt Disney Co’s Robert Iger will step down as chief executive officer, handing the reins to Disney Parks head Bob Chapek, ending years of speculation on who will take over Hollywood’s most powerful studio. Meanwhile, Iger is still keeping a significant role at the company. He will assume the post of executive chairman and direct the company’s “creative endeavors” until his contract ends on Dec. 31, 2021, Disney said. Chapek, who will be the seventh CEO in the company’s nearly 100-year history, has most recently served as the chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. In his new role as a CEO he will directly oversee all of Disney’s business segments and corporate functions. Shares of Disney, which ended the day down 3.6%, fell another 2.2% after the markets closed.
2. Anwar may become next Malaysian prime minister
Anwar Ibrahim’s name has been put forward for Malaysian prime minister by his supporters after the unexpected resignation of his alliance partner and rival Mahathir Mohamad, members of Anwar’s party said on Wednesday. To try to end the occurred crisis, the country’s king has been meeting all 222 elected members of parliament over two days. Those in the meetings said they were asked to name their favored prime minister or whether they wanted fresh elections. The members of Anwar’s Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), or the People’s Justice Party, said that his name had been submitted to the king. The party has 39 seats and alliance partners could potentially give it another 62. However, Anwar did not comment on whether or not he had been nominated.
3. Panasonic to stop solar cell production at Tesla
Panasonic Corp set to exit solar cell production at Tesla Inc’s New York plant in a Japanese company’s move to divest of unprofitable businesses. However, Tesla has informed that Panasonic’s withdrawal “has no bearing on Tesla’s current operations”. The firm employs over 1,500 jobs in the city of Buffalo, clearing its 1,460 commitment before April – and thereby avoiding a $41 million penalty. Meanwhile, Panasonic will retain its automotive battery joint venture with Tesla in the U.S. state of Nevada, which just reported its first quarterly profit after years of production problems and delays. Shares of Panasonic closed down 0.9% after trimming losses when the Nikkei business daily first reported the withdrawal on Wednesday.
4. Markets face selloff amid coronavirus spread
Global stocks fell on Wednesday after Asia reported hundreds of new coronavirus cases, including the first U.S. soldier to be infected amid the United States’ warnings that a pandemic and outbreaks in Italy and Iran spread to more countries. The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average both decreased more than 3% on Tuesday in their fourth straight session of losses. That led MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan down 1.1%. Japan was among the worst performers in the region with 0.92% drop due to growing concerns the virus could force the cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics. Euro Stoxx 50 futures lost 0.36%, German DAX futures fell 0.53%, while FTSE futures traded 0.4% lower.