Coronavirus throws markets, lives into upheaval: news from week of March 9

coronavirus over crowd of people
Coronavirus continued to cause wild swings in the global financial markets and affect business outlooks and supply chains in electronics and other high-tech industries. (Pixabay)

Much of the coronavirus coverage in FierceElectronics and other tech content sites has focused on production and supply-chain disruptions at electronics companies with China operations and companies lowering quarterly business guidance. But with coronavirus cases skyrocketing in the U.S., the disruptions are now becoming part of our daily lives, with greater travel restrictions, school closings and cancellation of almost all sporting events.

COVID-19’s effects on the global economy continue to increase. On Thursday, the Fed injected $2 trillion into short-term notes in the hope of easing investor anxiety and disruptions in the financial markets. The move was an attempt to calm a wildly fluctuating stock market, which remains a roller coaster. On Thursday, the stock market posted its largest percentage decline since the 1987 crash, with many tech stocks falling. However, the market again bounced back somewhat Friday morning, adding 700 points in early trading.

Reverberations among electronics and telecom companies continue to be felt. On Thursday, Broadcom reported it saw no material impact on its businesses due to COVID-19 in its first fiscal quarter ended Feb. 1. However, the company said it would not provide annual guidance due to uncertain demand.

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Earlier in the week, ON Semiconductor said it would reduce its first quarter guidance and announce restructuring moves in the wake of coronavirus.

Although many factories in China have resumed production, the effects of coronavirus are expected to be felt for a while in devices such as wearable consumer electronics. IDC analyst said it expects a decline in first-quarter shipments of many wearable electronics, such as Apple’s Air Pods.

With a big push for telework with quarantines, FierceElectronics talked to engineers about how they work at home, with some offering surprising tips. 

Elsewhere, the Federal Aviation Awidministration (FAA) came down hard on Boeing early in the week, proposing a $19.7 million penalty for allegedly installing unapproved sensors on 791 aircraft between 2015 and 2019. The penalty is being levied after the U.S. House Transportation Committee issued a 13-page preliminary investigative report on two Boeing 737 MAX crashes that killed 346 people. The report said Boeing concealed a number of details regarding its sensors.

Intel, which like other companies has imposed travel restrictions on its employees due to the coronavirus, made the news this week due to a chip flaw. According to Intel and security researchers, the chip flaw, in the ROM of Intel’s Converged Security and Management Engine (CSME), could allow hackers to bypass encryption and install malware.

So far, no hacks have come to light using the flaw, nor has the problem affected Intel’s chips sales.

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