Coronavirus, Tesla, Wells Fargo, Sprint and Dropbox - 5 Things You Must Know Friday

Stock futures decline after the number of new coronavirus cases outside of China spikes; Wells Fargo is close to a settlement over its sales practices; Tesla gets OK to clear trees at the site for its factory in Germany.
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Here are five things you must know for Friday, Feb. 21:

1. -- Stock Futures Fall as Virus Cases Jump in South Korea

Stock futures declined Friday and Asian shares tumbled after the number of new coronavirus cases outside of China spiked.

South Korea's report of 100 new cases of the coronavirus and a total of 204 renewed worries that the infection was spreading rapidly to other Asian economies despite efforts by the Chinese government to control the outbreak. Stocks in South Korea fell 1.5% on Friday.

China's National Health Commission reported a total of 75,465 confirmed cases of the virus and 2,236 deaths. Also in China, car sales plunged 92% during the first two weeks of February as dealerships remained closed and buyers stayed away during the virus outbreak.

Contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 72 points, S&P 500 futures were down 9.45 points and Nasdaq futures dropped 30.75 points.

Stocks in the U.S. fell Thursday, led by companies in the tech sector, as Wall Street grappled with concerns over the impact from the coronavirus on corporate profits.

The economic calendar in the U.S. Friday includes the PMI Composite Flash for February at 9:45 a.m. ET and Existing Home Sales for January at 10 a.m.

Deere  (DE) - Get Report , the agriculture and turf equipment maker, posted fiscal first-quarter earnings that handily beat analysts’ forecasts and reiterated its fiscal 2020 profit guidance amid signs of sunny skies ahead for the U.S. farming sector.

2. -- Sprint and T-Mobile Amend Terms of Merger

Sprint  (S) - Get Report and T-Mobile  (TMUS) - Get Report announced revised terms of their $26 billion merger agreement which they said could be completed as soon as April 1.

Under the revised deal, T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom will hold 43% of the newly created company, while SoftBank, the controlling holder of Sprint, will end up with 24%.

Ordinary shareholders will see no difference in the exchange ratio for their stock - 9.75 Sprint shares for each T-Mobile share.

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero approved the long-delayed deal last week, and a group of state attorneys general doesn’t plan to appeal the ruling. California regulators must still approve the plan.

SoftBank decided to give Deutsche Telekom a larger stake in the combined entity because of declines in Sprint’s financial situation during the two years the deal has been under review, CNBC reported, citing unnamed sources. The agreement allows SoftBank to recover the originally agreed upon stake if the newly combined company meets financial milestones over the next five years, according to the report. 

The merger agreement between Sprint and T-Mobile originally was valued at more than $26 billion when they reached a deal in April 2018.

3. -- Wells Fargo Close to Settlements Over Sales Practices

Wells Fargo  (WFC) - Get Report is nearing a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department over the bank's sales scandal, The New York Times reported.

The settlements could be announced as soon as Friday, the Times reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The Times said the size of the penalties couldn't immediately be determined, but noted that Wells Fargo has set aside $3.1 billion to pay legal costs related to the sales practice matters.

A Wells Fargo spokeswoman declined to comment on the report.

The bank has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in fines and penalties for encouraging employees to open up millions of fake accounts in order to meet unrealistic sales goals.

4. -- Tesla Gets OK to Cut Trees at Germany Site

A German court ruled that Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Report can resume cutting down trees so the electric vehicle company can build its first electric car factory in Europe.

A Berlin-Brandenburg court had issued an injunction last weekend to give it time to consider the case after an environmental group challenged a lower court’s ruling that Tesla could go ahead with clearing the trees, the Associated Press reported. Final planning approval for the factory has yet to be granted.

The ruling puts Tesla on track to start construction in  Gruenheide before the start of a crucial breeding period for local wildlife in March, Bloomberg noted.

Tesla’s goal is to have the plant operating by the middle of next year. The company plans to eventually produce as many as 500,000 cars a year at the site and employ 12,000 people, according to Bloomberg.

5. -- Dropbox Jumps on Earnings Beat

Dropbox  (DBX) - Get Report, the San Francisco file-sharing service, was rising 14.35% to $21.40 in premarket trading after reporting fourth-quarter adjusted earnings that beat analysts' estimates.

The company posted adjusted profit in the period of 16 cents a share, 2 cents ahead of analysts. Revenue rose 19% to $446 million and beat forecasts of $443.3 million.

Dropbox reported 14.3 million paying users at the end of the fourth quarter, up 13% from 12.7 million a year earlier. Average revenue per paying user was $125, up 4.5% from $119.

CEO Drew Houston, on a conference call, said it was the company's goal to be profitable on a GAAP basis by the end of 2020.