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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 10, 2020

UPDATE: COVID-19 case tally: 1.65 million cases, 100,376 deaths
The number of cases of COVID-19 around the world rose to 1.65 million on Friday, while the number of fatalities rose to 100,376 according to aggregated data from Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering's Centers for Systems Science and Engineering.. At least 365,722 people around the world have recovered from the novel coronavirus that has sickened people in 185 countries, the data show. The U.S still has the most cases at 473,093 and 17,836 deaths. At least 26,570 Americans have recovered. In Europe, Spain has 157,022 cases and 15,843 deaths. Italy has 146,626 cases and 18,279 fatalities, making it the highest in the world. Germany has 119,401 cases and 2,607 deaths. France has 118,790 cases and 12.228 deaths. China has 82,941 cases and 3,340 deaths. Iran, another hot spot, has 68,192 cases and 4,110 deaths. The latest country to report a case in Yemen, with one patient.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 10, 2020

New York Gov. Cuomo cautiously optimistic that rate of coronavirus infection is slowing
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday he was cautiously optimistic that the rate of infection by the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is slowing, as the number of deaths in a single day fell for the first time in four days. Cuomo said 777 New Yorkers died on Thursday, below the 799 who died a day earlier. The average number of people being hospitalized is also down over a three-day period, while the number of admissions to intensive-care units was negative for the first time since New York adopted strict measures to contain the spread. Intubations ticked higher on the day but were lower over a three-day period, he said. The patients who are dying of the illness are those who were hospitalized at the height of the crisis and who were being kept alive by ventilators. The New York death rate now stands at 7,844, almost three times the 2,753 lives that were lost in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. New York is tracking well below the estimates of experts who created models to predict the spread of the virus, which Cuomo said is due to the fact that New Yorkers are obeying restrictions on movement and social-distancing guidelines. "In fairness to experts, nobody has been here before; there was no model to track against," he said. New York now needs millions of tests for antibodies and diagnostics to understand how and when people can go back to work, said the governor, who warned that it will be a gradual and phased process that will rely on mass testing. "If I had a Defense Production Act, I would use it," he said, urging the federal government to intervene. "We need an unprecedented mobilization where the government can produce these tests in the millions."

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 10, 2020

Boeing bonds downgraded by Moody's; coronavirus 'greater pressure point' than 737 Max crisis
Moody's Investors Service on Friday cut its rating on Boeing Co. debt to Baa2, from Baa1, saying it expects "additional strain" on the aerospace and defense company's balance sheet in the next few years because of the "harsh impact" the coronavirus will have on demand for new commercial aircraft and the potential for order deferrals and cancellations. "The coronavirus is likely to become a significantly greater pressure point on Boeing than the long-running 737 Max crisis," Moody's analyst Jonathan Root said in a statement. "We now estimate external funding needs in 2020 to at least double -- to $30 billion -- compared to our pre-coronavirus expectations," he said. Boeing already funded about half of that need with a $13.8 billion term-loan draw in February. The debt ratings agency also has a negative outlook on the Boeing bonds, reflecting "the uncertainty around the duration and impact of the covid-19 pandemic on global economic activity and aircraft demand," it said. Boeing's rating remained in the middle of the investment-grade pack as the company is one of only two makers of large commercial aircraft and a prime U.S. defense contractor, Moody's said, and it is expected to get U.S. government support to weather the crisis.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 10, 2020

Taiwan Semi says March sales jumped 42% from a year ago
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. said Friday that its March sales totaled NT$113.52 billion ($3.78 billion), marking a 42.4% rise from a year ago and a 21.5% increase from February. Revenue for the semiconductor company's March quarter came in at NT$310.60 billion, up 42% from a year earlier, according to a 6-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Taiwan Semi shares have lost 11.3% over the past month, as the S&P 500 has fallen 3.2%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 10, 2020

Boeing to deliver face shields to health workers treating coronavirus patients
Boeing Co. will deliver its first batch of reusable, 3D-printed face shields to healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients, the company said Friday. The Department of Health and Human Services has accepted an initial shipment of 2,300 face shields on Friday, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will deliver the shields to a convention center in Dallas, designated as an alternate care site to treat patients with COVID-19. "Boeing is set to produce thousands more face shields per week, gradually increasing production output" to meet the growing need for personal protective equipment in the U.S., the company said. Boeing will coordinate the distribution of additional face shields with U.S. officials, it said. The company is making the face shields at several of its production sites across the U.S. A Boeing supplier provided the clear film for the face shields, and another supplier donated the elastic used for the adjustable headbands, the company said. Boeing has halted aircraft production in several of its plants, including major ones in the states of South Carolina and Washington, to respond to social-distancing and non-essential work guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic, which also has caused air travel to grind to a standstill. Boeing is still working on getting its 737 Max aircraft back to service after the plane family's groundings in March 2019 following two deadly crashes linked to a faulty anti-stall system.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 10, 2020

GE's credit outlook revised to negative at S&P Global
The outlook for General Electric Co.'s credit rating was revised Friday to "negative" from "stable" at S&P Global Ratings, which citing greater uncertainty in the pace of deleveraging amid the negative impacts on its aviation business from the COVID-19 pandemic. That means GE's BBB rating, which is three notches above "junk" territory, is at greater risk of a downgrade. "The outlook revision reflects the potential that GE may be unable to reduce debt leverage to below 3.5X in 2021, should aviation markets fail to start recovering later this year, perhaps in conjunction with a deeper-than-expected economic recession and lengthy recovery worsened by lingering social distancing dynamics," S&P Global said. "In this scenario, the 737 Max fails to return to service this year with resulting further reductions in GE's engine production for the Max." On Thursday, GE said it expected first-quarter adjusted earnings per share to be "materially below" previous guidance, while free cash flow was expected to be "near" guidance. GE's stock dropped 2.2% on Thursday, reversing an intraday gain of as much as 3.3%. Over the past three months, the stock has tumbled 38.8% while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost 17.7%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 10, 2020

3M sues Performance Supply alleging illegal price gouging of N95 face masks
3M Co. said Friday it has filed suit in federal court against Performance Supply LLC, alleging illegal price gouging and deceptive practices in the sale of N95 respirators that provide protection against the COVID-19 pandemic. 3M alleges that the New Jersey-based company, which falsely claimed to be a 3M affiliate, had offered to sell $45 million worth of N95 face masks to New York City at prices that were 6 to 7 times (500% to 600%) above 3M's list price. 3M said any damages recovered as a result of the lawsuit will be donated to COVID-19-related nonprofit organizations. 3M said it has not changed prices on face masks since the COVID-19 outbreak. "3M does not - and will not - tolerate price gouging, fraud, deception, or other activities that unlawfully exploit the demand for critical 3M products during a pandemic," said Denise Rutherford, senior vice president of corporate affairs. 3M's stock has lost 18.1% over the past three months, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has declined 17.7%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 10, 2020

Marathon Oil proxy shows CEO Tillman received total pay increase for 3rd-straight year
Marathon Oil Corp. filed late Thursday its 2020 proxy statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which showed that Chief Executive Lee Tillman total compensation increased in 2019 for a third-straight year. Tillman's base salary rose 4.4% to $1.19 million, after rising 4.6% in 2018 and increasing 3.8% in 2017. His total compensation grew 15.1% in 2019 to $14.05 million, after rising 20.7% in 2018 and 17.3% in 2017. Meanwhile, the total compensation for the media employee increased 24.7% to $144,720 in 2019, after falling 11.9% to $116,041 in 2018. The CEO pay ratio declined to "97 times" in 2019 from 105 times in 2018. Marathon Oil's stock had declined 5.3% in 2019 after falling 15.3% in 2018. In comparison, the SPDR Energy Select Sector ETF rose 4.7% in 2019 after shedding 20.6% in 2018, while the S&P 500 rose 28.9% in 2019 after falling 6.2% in 2018. Earlier this week, Marathon said it was cutting 2020 capital expenditures to about half of 2019's levels, and implementing "frac holidays" in certain basins.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 10, 2020

Lear to defer 20% of salaried employees pay, cut CEO's salary by 10%
Lear Corp. said Friday it was implementing a temporary 20% salary deferral for all salaried employees in the U.S. and Canada. The auto parts maker said Chief Executive Ray Scott's salary will be reduced by 10% for the rest of 2020, and other named executive officer salaries will be cut by 5%. To put Scott's salary cut in context, Scott's base salary was $1.20 million in 2019, representing 8.7% of total compensation of $13.72 million, which included $1.10 million in non-equity incentive plan compensation and $442,453 in other compensation. Lear has recently announced measures it was taking in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including making face masks and temporarily suspending its dividend and share repurchases. The stock has dropped 33.2% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 has declined $17.7%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 10, 2020

Textron delays release of earnings by about one week
Textron Inc. said Friday that it will delay the release of its first-quarter earnings report by about a week, citing the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on its workforce. The aviation, defense and industrial company said it will now report results on April 30, versus the original schedule of April 22. The Securities and Exchange Commission said last month that it was extending the deadline for companies to provide certain disclosure reports by 45 days, but none of the Dow Jones Industrial Average components that responded to a survey conducted by MarketWatch said they would delay reporting results. Textron's stock has lost 33.5% over the past three years, while the Dow has declined 17.7%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 10, 2020

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink takes a pay cut in 2019 for 2nd-straight year
Investment management giant BlackRock Inc. filed late Thursday its 2020 Proxy Statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, showing that Chief Executive Larry Fink has taken a pay cut for the second-straight year in 2019. Fink's base salary for 2019 was $1.50 million, the same as 2018, but total compensation fell to $24.31 million from $26.54 million, which was down from $27.74 million in 2017. While Fink's bonus remained at $7.75 million in 2019, which was down from $10.00 million in 2017, the "fair value" of hits stock awards fell to $14.75 million from $17.05 million in 2018 and $16.60 million in 2017. Meanwhile, the median annual total compensation of BlackRock employees, excluding Fink, fell to $133,644 from $136,313 in 2018, and the ratio of the CEO pay to median employees fell to 182 to 1 from 195 to 1. BlackRock's stock has lost 6.2% year to date, compared with the S&P 500's 13.7% decline. The stock rose 28.0% in 2019 and dropped 23.5% in 2018, while the S&P 500 rose 28.9% in 2019 and slipped 6.2% in 2018.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 10, 2020

FDA grants emergency authorization to two blood purification systems
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday issued emergency use authorizations to blood purification devices manufactured by Terumo Corp. and Marker Therapeutics Inc. in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Terumo is a Japanese medical device maker. Marker is a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company based in Houston. An EUA does not mean that that the device has been approved by the FDA; it is an authorization granted during an emergency when there are no other treatment options available. The regulator said that the devices can be used for adult patients with COVID-19 who are being cared for in the intensive care unit and have confirmed or imminent respiratory failure to reduce the amount of cytokines in those patients. Some severely ill COVID-19 patients have had "cytokine storms" that can lead to organ failure and death. Year-to-date, Terumo's stock is down 3.9%, while shares of Marker have dropped 39.2%. The S&P 500 has dropped 13.6% since the beginning of 2020.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 10, 2020

Scotts Miracle-Gro to make face shields for coronavirus first responders
Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. said Friday it is shifting production at its Temecula, California facility to produce face shields for first responders in the coronavirus pandemic. The Marysville, Ohio-based fertilizer, seeds and nutrients producer said it expects to donate the first batch of 9,000 face shields to workers, including police officers and hospital stafff, in Temecula, Nassau County in New York and New York state, the current epicenter of the U.S. outbreak. The Temecula plant usually makes durable products such as lawn spreaders. "Our country is facing a challenge unlike anything it's ever seen before, " said Jim Hagedorn, chairman and CEO, in a statement. The U.S. has 466,299 cases of the virus and at least 16,686 people have died, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University. New York has 159,937 confirmed cases of the virus, according to the New York Department of Health. At least 7,067 New Yorkers have died, according to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Scotts Miracle-Gro shares were not yet active premarket, but have gained 4.8% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 has fallen 14%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 10, 2020

United Airlines files proxy statement, helps put executive salary cuts in context
United Airlines Holdings Inc. filed late Thursday its 2020 proxy statement, which details what its executives were paid in 2019, and helps put in context the executive salary cuts the air carrier has announced in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. United has said that Chief Executive Oscar Munoz and President Scott Kirby have waived 100% of their base salaries from March 10 through at least June 30. In 2019, Munoz's base salary was $1.25 million, which represented 9.9% of his total compensation of $12.64 million, including $2.89 million in non-equity incentive plan compensation and $442,933 in other compensation. Kirby's 2019 base salary was $875,000, or 5.2% of total compensation of $16.78 million, which included $1.38 million in non-equity incentive plan compensation and $232,484 in other compensation. The proxy statement also said that the estimated median compensation of all employees in 2019, excluding the CEO, was $74,750 making the ratio of the CEO's pay to all employees 169 to 1. United's stock has tumbled 63.9% over the past three months, while the Dow Jones Transportation Average has dropped 24.9% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost 17.7%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 10, 2020

CDC extends No Sail Order for cruise ships
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) late on Thursday extended the No Sail Order for cruise ships, saying that there are at least 10 ships that have reported that crew members or passengers have COVID-19 or symptoms similar to those people who do have the disease. At least 20 additional ships at port in the U.S. have COVID-19 cases among crew members. The CDC had issued the first No Sail Order on March 14. This order will be in place for roughly three months. Year-to-date, shares of Carnival Corp. have tumbled 75.5%, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.'s stock has dropped 69.8%, and shares of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. is down 77.5%. The S&P 500 has fallen 13.6% since the start of the year.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 10, 2020

Tapestry to extend store closures for two weeks
Coach and Kate Spade brands parent Tapestry Inc. said Friday that it will extend store closures in North America and Europe by two weeks through April 24 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The luxury retailer, which brands also includes Stuart Weitzman, said it will assess store closure decisions every two weeks. The company said employees at closed stores will receive pay and benefits. In China, Tapestry said "essentially all" of its stores have re-opened, with results "slowly and steadily" improving, while in South Korea, all store have resumed normal operating hours. The company said most distribution stores remain open, with only one in Malaysia and a third-party facility in New Jersey closed temporarily. Tapestry will provide a financial update on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic when it reports fiscal third-quarter results on April 30. The stock has tumbled 42.8% over the past three months, while the SPDR S&P Retail ETF has lost 25.6% and the S&P 500 has declined 14.6%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 10, 2020

Advance Auto boosts pay and paid sick time for workers, withdraws guidance and suspends buybacks
Advance Auto Parts Inc. said it is offering workers emergency pay that includes additional paid sick time of 80 hours for full-time workers and 44 hours for part-time workers to help them during the coronavirus pandemic. The after-market car parts provider is also offering team members a grant of up to $300 to help with living expenses, such as child-care costs. Raleigh, N.C.-based Advance Auto is offering customers curbside pickup ad same-day delivery via its mobile app. In an effort to rein in costs during a period of reduced business with many drivers subject to stay-at-home orders, the company is reducing capital spending for 2020 by 50%. It has closed some stores temporarily and reduced hours at others. The company is withdrawing financial guidance for 2020 provided on Feb. 18 and has suspended its share buyback program. Same-store sales for the twelve weeks ended March 21 fell 3.2% from a year ago, but fell about 28% in each of the two following weeks. "COVID-19 has had a greater impact on the company's professional business than DIY omnichannel and has been particularly acute in major urban markets such as New York, Detroit and the San Francisco Bay Area," said the company. In March, Advance Auto drew down $500 million from an undrawn $1 billion revolving credit facility, which may be increased to $1.25 billion. As of April 4, the company had about $744 million in cash on hand, including the dividend paid on April 3. Shares were not yet active premarket, but have fallen 33% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 has fallen 14%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 10, 2020

Prudential to sell Prudential of Korea for $1.9 billion
Prudential Financial Inc. said Friday that it has agreed to sell its Prudential Life Insurance Company of Korea Ltd. business for 2.3 trillion Korean won, or $1.9 billion, to KB Financial Group Inc. The deal is expected to close by the end of 2020. "This transaction is consistent with Prudential Financial's strategic focus internationally on Japan and higher-growth emerging markets around the world," Prudential said in a statement. Prudential said it expects to use the proceeds from the sale for general corporate purposes. The stock has dropped 37.4% year to date, while the SPDR S&P Insurance ETF has declined 21.9% and the S&P 500 has lost 13.7%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 10, 2020

COVID-19 case tally: 1.61 million cases, 96,783 deaths
The number of cases of COVID-19 around the world rose to 1.61 million on Friday, while the number of fatalaties rose to 96,783 according to aggregated data from Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering's Centers for Systems Science and Engineering.. At least 356,161 people around the world have recovered from the novel coronavirus that has sickened people in 184 countries, the data show. The U.S still has the most cases at 466,299 and 16,686 deaths. Another 26,522 people have recovered. In Europe, Spain has 153,222 cases and 15,843 deaths. Italy has 146,626 cases and 18,279 fatalaties, making it the highest in the world. France has overtaken Germany in case numbers at 118,785 and 12,228 deaths, while Germany has 118,235 cases and 2,607 deaths. China has 82,924 cases and 3,340 deaths. Iran, another hot spot, has 66,220 cases and 4,110 deaths.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 10, 2020

Kemper joins the list of insurers giving refunds to auto insurance holders
Kemper Corp. said Friday it will provide a 15% credit toward April and May premiums to holders of personal auto insurance, as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The insurer said customers with auto insurance in force as of April 30 will receive a 15% credit of their April premium in May, and those with auto insurance in force as of May 31 will receive a 15% credit in June. The company said the credits will total $100 million, and are subject to approval by regulators. A number of insurers have announced refunds for auto insurers as stay-at-home practices has led to less driving and fewer accidents. Kemper's stock has slipped 5.9% over the past three months, while the SPDR S&P Insurance ETF has dropped 21.9% and the S&P 500 has lost 14.6%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

Trump says airline bailout proposal could be unveiled this weekend
President Donald Trump said Thursday that his administration's proposed bailout program for the airline industry may be unveiled this weekend. "I think it's going to be a very acceptable package. It's a very big package," Trump said at a White House press briefing on the coronavirus outbreak, adding the plan will be "good for the airlines." Airlines have been particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, as most passenger flights have been grounded. The $2.3 trillion stimulus package approved last month includes about $32 billion in grants for airlines, airports and cargo operators. Reuters reported Thursday that about 275 companies have already applied for aid.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

OPEC deal to curb oil production held up by Mexico: report
Mexico is holding up a deal by the world's largest oil producers, including Saudi Arabia and Russia, to curb production, Bloomberg News reported late Thursday. A tentative agreement to cut 10 million barrels a day in May and June was reportedly reached by the OPEC nations earlier in the day, apparently ending a months-long price war, but Bloomberg reported Mexican officials refused to go along with the proposed cuts to its production, and walked out of marathon videoconference negotiations. Delegates told Bloomberg they hope to convince Mexico in further talks Friday. The proposed deal required all parties to cut production by 23%, Bloomberg said. Crude prices sank Thursday after investors worried the deal wouldn't be enough to offset a sharp drop in demand due to coronavirus-related shutdowns around the world.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

Amazon readies plan to test its workers for COVID-19
Amazon.com Inc. said it plans to test front-line workers and eventually all of its workers for COVID-19. "Regular testing on a global scale across all industries would both help keep people safe and help get the economy back up and running," the company said in a blog post. The online-retail powerhouse has started assembling equipment to build its first lab. The Seattle-based company, which employs about 800,000 worldwide, is in the process of hiring another 100,000 full- and part-time employees in the U.S. to help at its fulfillment centers and delivery services.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

ON Semiconductor to lay off 475 workers to cut costs
ON Semiconductor Corp. said late Thursday it was laying off 475 employees as part of a cost-savings measure. The chip maker, which employs nearly 35,000 people worldwide, said the "targeted cost reductions are structural in nature and are not expected to impact the Company's ability to respond to a significant recovery in demand." Severance costs are expected to be $43 million to $47 million over the first and second quarters with the reductions saving about $65 million to $70 million a year. ON shares rose 2% after hours, following flat trade during the regular session to close at $13.73.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

White House official says Trump spoke with Putin and King Salman
Dan Scavino Jr., an assistant to President Donald Trump, tweeted late Thursday that the president spoke by phone to Russian President Vladimir Putin and King Salman of Saudi Arabia to discuss the oil deal among producers. OPEC and its allies, meeting by video conference, agreed to cut production by about 10 million barrels a day in May and June, Reuters reported, citing a statement from the group. The size of the cuts will ease to 8 million barrels per day from July through December of this year, and OPEC would then reduce the cut to 6 million barrels per day from January 2021 to April 2022. The U.S. is not part of OPEC , but many analysts have said that output cuts would not be successful without the participation of the U.S., which is the world's largest oil producer. June Brent oil settled at $31.48 a barrel, down $1.36, or 4.1% on Thursday ahead of the latest news.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

Noble Corp. withdraws 2020 guidance
Noble Corp. withdrew its 2020 guidance due to the double whammy caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the Saudi Arabia-Russia oil-price wars and oversupply. Given the ongoing uncertainty, it cannot predict the magnitude or duration of the impact and cannot predict the pace of a recovery. Noble on Wednesday said it will report first-quarter results on May 6. Shares of Noble rose 3% in the extended session after ending the regular trading day 15% higher. Analysts polled by FactSet expect Noble to lose $1.87 a share on sales of $1.04 billion in 2020.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

BioCryst stock rallies on start of coronavirus drug study
BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc. shares rallied in the extended session Thursday after the drug maker said it was starting a clinical trial to test its COVID-19 treatment. BioCryst shares surged 35% after hours, following a 3.5% rise to close the regular session at $2.07. The company said it opened a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial to test the drug galidesivir in treating patients with COVID-19. The study, which is being funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will be conducted in Brazil, the company said. Many drug companies have recently started development of either COVID-19 treatments or vaccines.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

Chesapeake sets reverse stock-split shareholder meeting for Monday
Chesapeake Energy Corp. said late Thursday it has set a special shareholder meeting to approve the details of its reverse stock split. The meeting will be held Monday, the natural-gas producer said. The company's reverse stock split proposal includes ratios between one for 50 shares and one for 200 shares. If shareholders approve the plan, the final ratio will be determined by the board, Chesapeake said. The reverse stock split is expected to be effective at the end of business on Tuesday, and shares will begin trading on a split-adjusted basis the following day. Chesapeake shares have fallen under the minimum $1 bid price to continue to trade on the NYSE and the reverse stock split is intended to increase the share price, among other goals. Shares of Chesapeake rose 1.2% in the extended session Thursday after ending the regular trading day down 0.6%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

Stocks end week with double-digit gains after Fed ramps up emergency lending programs
U.S. stocks capped significant weekly gains on Thursday after the Federal Reserve made a surprise announcement that it would deploy $2.3 trillion of funds through its lending programs to support the broader economy. Equity exchanges will be closed tomorrow in observance of the Good Friday holiday. The S&P 500 was up 1.4% to end at 2,790. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 286 points, or 1.2%, to finish around 23,719, based on preliminary numbers. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.8% to finish around 8,154. For the week, the S&P is up 12.1%, the Dow is up 12.7%, and the Nasdaq is up 10.6%. Data showed another 6.6 million Americans claimed unemployment benefits in the latest week. But the disappointing news on the labor-market was offset by the Fed's lending announcements, with the central bank's unrolling of its $600 billion Main Street Lending program for small and medium sized businesses capturing the attention of investors.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

Oil ends wild trading session 9.3% lower as OPEC gathering fails to quell demand-shock worries
U.S. crude-oil prices staged an about-face on Thursday, closing 9.4% lower after enjoying double-digit gains at the session peak, as the energy market reacted to torrid updates on expected production cuts by major oil producers to stabilize battered prices. West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery ended down 9.3% at $22.76 a barrel after rising more than 10% earlier in the session. Those losses came as crude investors worried that the proposed cuts from the virtual meeting of OPEC were viewed as insufficient to address a major hit to demand due to the pandemic derived from the novel strain of coronavirus. Although, reports have indicated that Saudi Arabia and Russia will cut 10 million barrels a day of oil output for two months. Bloomberg News reported that reduction compares with estimates for demand loss of as much as 35 million barrels a day. OPEC and other producers will meet again on Friday to extract further cuts in output.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

GE's stock pulls a U-turn into negative territory, CFRA downgrades
Shares of General Electric Co. fell 2.3% in afternoon trading Thursday, a reversal from earlier gains as of as much as 3.3%. Earlier, GE's stock had rallied after the industrial conglomerate warned that first-quarter adjusted earnings per share was expected be "materially below" previously provided expectations, given the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, but said the widely watched free cash flow will be "near" prior estimates. GE is scheduled to report first-quarter results on April 29. CFRA analyst Colin Scarola followed by downgrading GE to hold from buy, and by halving his stock price target to $7 from $14. "Previously, we thought GE's long-term earning power would increase with deleveraging, but we now see significant risk that Biopharma sale proceeds earmarked for debt reduction will be diverted to backstop large operating losses in Aviation, Power, and Renewable instead," Scarola wrote in a note to clients. "Despite the cash burn we expect in 2020, our lower rating is ultimately due to a highly uncertain outlook for GE's balance sheet and earning power in 2021 and beyond." GE's stock has tumbled 40.2% over the past three months, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has declined 18.5%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

UPDATE: COVID-19 case tally: 1.54 million cases, 93,425 deaths
The number of cases of COVID-19 around the world rose to 1.54 million on Thursday, while the number of fatalaties rose to 93,425 according to aggregated data from Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering's Centers for Systems Science and Engineering.. At least 346,376 people around the world have recovered from the novel coronavirus that has sickened people in 184 countries, the data show. The U.S still has the most cases at 451,491 and 15,938 deaths. Another 24,790 people have recovered. In Europe, Spain has 152,446 cases and 15,238 deaths. Italy has 146,626 cases and 18,279 fatalaties, making it the highest in the world. Germany has 114,257 cases and just 2,451 deaths. France has 83,080 cases and 12,228 deaths. China has 82,883 cases and 3,339 deaths. Iran, another hot spot, has 66,220 cases and 4,110 deaths.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

Newmont's stock soars toward 7 1/2-year high after bullish call from analyst, gold price rallies
Shares of Newmont Corp. soared 11% toward a 7 1/2-year high in afternoon trading Thursday, after J.P. Morgan called the gold miner a "rare find" in an industry that can often struggle to replace reserves. Analyst Tyler Langton initiated coverage of Newmont with an overweight rating $61 stock price target, which is about 9% above current levels. "[Newmont] should generate strong free cash flows at current gold prices and still fund its healthy dividend (2.0% yield), sustaining [capital expenditures] and development capex even at $1,200/oz. gold (vs. $1,650 currently)," Langton wrote in a note to clients. Gold futures settled up 4.1% at a 7 1/2-year high, as the the U.S. dollar fell following the Federal Reserve's new lending plan. Newmont's stock, which is on track to close at the highest level since October 2012, has soared 34.6% over the past three months, while the VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF has gained 0.6%, gold futures have rallied 11.4% and the S&P 500 has lost 15.2%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

Oil turns lower as traders weigh reports of an OPEC output-cut deal
Oil futures traded lower Thursday, giving up earlier gains, as news reports said Saudi Arabia and Russia have reached a preliminary deal to cut crude production. Some news reports say that the Saudis and Russians each agreed to limit their production to 8.5 million barrels a day each from May through June. Other reports say the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies, collectively known as OPEC , have agreed to a 10 million barrel-per-day cut. Virtual discussions among OPEC continue. Ahead of the day's settlement, May West Texas Intermediate crude was down $1.44, or 5.7%, at $23.65 a barrel after an earlier high of $28.36. June Brent crude fell 99 cents, or 3%, to $31.85.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

Energy stocks turn down, as crude oil swings from big gain to a big loss
Energy stocks fell into the red in afternoon trading Thursday, as crude oil prices swung from a big gain to a big loss amid volatile trading amid reports that Saudi Arabia and Russia had reached agreement on output cuts. The SPDR Energy Select Sector ETF dropped 1.2%, after being up as much as 6.5% earlier, as crude oil futures flipped from a rally of as much as 13.0% to a decline of 6.6%. Among the more active components of the energy ETF, Exxon Mobil Corp.'s stock slipped 0.3%, to pare earlier gains of as much as 12.2%; Marathon Oil Corp. shares erased an intraday gain of as much as 15.2% to be up 1.9%; Apache Corp.'s stock was up 4.8% after being up 32.8% at its intraday peak; Halliburton Co.'s stock swung from a gain of as much as 11.2% to be down 5.1%; and Devon Energy Corp. slipped 0.2% after being up 12.2%. The energy ETF has now lost 43.8% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 has declined 14.8%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

Microsoft Teams continues to grow at a blistering pace
Microsoft Corp.'s collaborative-communications platform, Teams, continues to post huge gains in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The company on Thursday said a record of 2.7 billion meeting minutes were logged on March 31, an increase of 200% from 900 million in mid-March. Total video calls grew 1,000% in March. And the Pentagon recently launched a Microsoft-based teleworking service for 4 million employees. Microsoft, which is locked in competition with Slack Technologies Inc. , last month said Teams reached 44 million people on a daily basis - up from 32 million on March 11 and 20 million in November. Microsoft shares are up 4.5% in the last year. The broader S&P 500 index is down 3% in the last year.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

Gold settles at highest since October 2012
Gold futures climbed by 4% on Thursday to mark their highest settlement in seven-and-a-half years. Even before the pandemic panic, "an economic, financial and monetary crisis was inevitable anyway and the pandemic is accelerating and exacerbating this inevitable crisis," said Mark O'Byrne, research director at GoldCore. "Gold is outperforming other assets and has delivered a 12% dollar return in 2020 year to date, and that outperformance will continue in the coming months and years." June gold rose $68.50, or 4.1%, to settle at $1,752.80 an ounce. That was the highest finish for a most-active contract since October 2012, according to FactSet data. Markets will be closed for Good Friday. Gold futures rose about 7% for the holiday-shortened week.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

Bearish individual investors decline for 2nd week, with S&P 500 showing similar bounce off 2009 bottom
Bearish sentiment among individual, or retail investors, fell for a second straight week, as the S&P 500 extended its rally off the near 3 1/2-year closing low on March 23. According to a survey conducted by the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII), 44.7% were bearish for the week ended April 8, indicating they expected stock prices to fall over the next six months, down from 49.7% the week before. The week before snapped a three-week streak in which more than half of surveyed investors were bearish, according to AAII, culminating in a 7-year high of 52.1% for the week ended March 26. That last time more than half of the investors surveyed were bearish for three weeks in a row was the four-week streak ended March 12, 2009, according to AAII data. That week included the time when the S&P 500 marked its financial crisis bottom on March 9. Back then, at the end of the second-straight week below 50% bears, the S&P 500 had rallied 23.1% off its March 9 low. Fast forward, as of Wednesday's close, the S&P 500 had run up 22.9% off its March 23 closing low.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

Baker Hughes reports a hefty, fourth-straight weekly drop in the U.S. oil-rig count
Baker Hughes on Thursday reported that the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil dropped by 58 to 504 this week. Data were released a day earlier because Friday is a holiday for the stock market. The oil-rig count declined by 62 the week before. The total active U.S. rig count, meanwhile, also declined by 62 to 602, according to Baker Hughes. Oil prices held onto modest gains ahead of the outcome of a virtual meeting of major oil producers. May West Texas Intermediate crude was up 30 cents, or 1.2%, at $25.39 a barrel.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

NIH starts trial testing safety, effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) said Thursday it started a clinical trial that will test the safety and effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine in more than 500 hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Hydroxychloroquine is a decades-old malaria drug that is also approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. It has not been approved to treat infections caused by the novel coronavirus; however, some small studies have pointed to its effectiveness in COVID-19 patients, and it is being used on a compassionate use basis and in clinical trials for some people with COVID-19. The NIH's blinded, placebo-controlled randomized clinical started enrolling participants at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. The patients who are randomized will also get hydroxychloroquine. "Many U.S. hospitals are currently using hydroxychloroquine as first-line therapy for hospitalized patients with COVID-19 despite extremely limited clinical data supporting its effectiveness," Dr. Wesley Self, an emergency medicine physician at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said in a statement.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

New York state's death tally from coronavirus sets record for a third straight day at 799 fatalities
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday the state suffered its biggest one-day increase in fatalities from the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 on Wednesday, when 799 New Yorkers died, up from 779 in the previous 24-hour period. The death toll for the state now stands at 7,067, he said. "These numbers are shocking, they're breath-taking ... I don't even have the words," Cuomo told reporters at a daily briefing. New York lost 2,753 lives in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, so the virus has far exceeded that toll. The governor said hospitalizations have started to slow, however, with just 200 net increases in the 24-hour period, the lowest level "since this nightmare started." Intubations and admissions to intensive care units have also been trending down, he said, suggesting the extreme measures to contain the illness are working and the curve of infections is flattening. The rise in deaths over the last few days is partly due to patients who have been on ventilators for the past few weeks and are now dying, he said. The New York economy is being hit hard too, he said, with more than 800,000 people applying for jobless claims in the past three weeks and overwhelming the system. The state budget is facing a deficit of $10 billion to $15 billion. Asked if he had confidence in the federal government coming up with a program to alleviate the stress, Cuomo said, "I'm not that confident."

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

'Fallen angel' ETF takes flight on Fed announcement
An exchange-traded fund that tracks corporate bonds that have just lost their investment-grade rating surged nearly 6% Thursday after the Federal Reserve announced it would buy some bonds and ETFs that meet that description. The VanEck Vectors Fallen Angel High Yield Bond ETF moved higher, but remains more than 8% lower for the year to date. The central bank said it would now buy debt from "junk"-rated companies, as long as they were rated as investment-grade at least one day before the Fed's programs were first announced on March 23. The Fed will set up another facility that might buy ETFs with such debt.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

AMC's stock sinks to snap win streak after MKM analyst says sell, citing liquidity concerns
Shares of AMC Entertainment Holding Inc. dropped 6.4% in midday trading Thursday, to put it on track to snap a four-day win streak, after MKM Partners analyst Eric Handler recommended investors sell, saying "bankruptcy appears likely." The movie theater operator's stock had rocketed 47% over the past four days, since closing at a record low of $2.24 on April 2. Handler cut his rating to sell, after being at neutral since September 2018, and slashed his stock price target to $1.00 from $7.50. "Based on our view that theaters will be closed until at least August and our belief that AMC lacks the liquidity to stay afloat until that time, we expect the company will soon be faced with filing for bankruptcy," Handler wrote in a note to clients. He said AMC's decision to stop paying rent to landlords further fueled his liquidity concerns. "Even if AMC is able to tap government bailout funds, we believe the weight of its balance sheet will make for tough sledding given the company's high leverage,...thus making a reorganization inevitable." The stock has plunged 57.3% year to date, while the S&P 500 has declined 13.1%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

Gilead increases number of participants in two trials for experimental COVID-19 treatment
Gilead Sciences Inc. increased the number of participants in two ongoing clinical trials for remdesivir, its experimental treatment for COVID-19. According to ClinicalTrials.gov, the drugmaker upped the number of participants in a global, randomized, open-label Phase 3 trial for people with moderate forms of the disease to 1,600 from 600. It did the same for a similar trial evaluating remdesivir in patients with severe COVID-19, to 2,400 participants from 400. The first results from those trials are expected in May. Over the weekend, Gilead CEO Daniel O'Day said the company aims to have 500,000 treatment courses of remdesivir manufactured by October and 1 million by the end of 2020. Remdesivir has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for COVID-19; however, it is being used on an expanded use and compassionate use basis in the U.S. Gilead's stock was down 1.8% in trading on Thursday. Since the start of 2020, shares of the company have gained 13.2%, while the S&P 500 has dropped 14.8%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

UPS downgraded by UBS on loss of higher-margin business
Analysts at UBS on Thursday downgraded their rating on United Parcel Service Inc. stock to neutral from buy, saying that headwinds from the economic collapse caused by the coronavirus pandemic are likely to cancel out the uptick in ecommerce-related deliveries. "We expect the impact of COVID-19 to drive a sharp reduction in (business-to-business) volumes with the most notable decline in UPS's highest-margin customer group of small and mid-sized businesses," the analysts said. That sharp decline in higher-margin business from small and mid-sized businesses plus the growth in business-to-consumer deliveries "could exert a significant mix/margin headwind," the analysts said. Shares of UPS have lost about 13% in the past 12 months, compared with losses around 3% for the S&P 500 index

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

Saudis, Russians reach agreement in principle to cut oil production: WSJ
Saudi Arabia and Russia have reached an agreement in principle to cut oil production, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is holding a virtual meeting with its allies, which include Russia, with a goal to help balance the oil market that has suffered from a drop in demand tied to efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and a price war between Moscow and Riyadh that has flooded the world with crude. Under the agreement in principle, Saudi Arabia would remove 4 million barrels a day from its April production levels, while non-OPEC member Russia would cut 2 million barrels a day, The Wall Street Journal reported. Iraq and other major oil exporting nations in the OPEC have not yet agreed on specific oil production cuts. May West Texas Intermediate crude was up $1.02, or 4.1%, to $26.11 a barrel. June Brent crude rose 70 cents, or 2.1%, to $33.54.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

Apple's stock price target raised at Instinet, but analyst expresses 'angst' over neutral rating
Shares of Apple Inc. gained 0.3% in morning trading Thursday, after Instinet analyst Jeffrey Kvaal raised his price target to $240 from $225, saying a bullish view based the technology giant's "robust" ecosystem, multiple expansion and a "strong" balance sheet holds merit. He kept his rating at neutral, however, as "a looming recession and inflated supercycle expectations sufficiently undermine the bull case to restrain our rating to neutral." Meanwhile, Kvaal said the COVID-19 pandemic's ability to "rapidly shift pressure points on Apple," from supply, to near-term demand to long-term macroeconomic concerns, "has scrambled our investment view and heightened our already elevated angst over our neutral view." He cut his fiscal 2020 earnings-per-share estimate to $12.38 from $13.20--the FactSet consensus is $12.61--and his 2021 EPS outlook to $13.86 from $15.35. The stock has lost 9.1% year to date, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has declined 16.2%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

EIA reports a slightly larger-than-expected weekly climb in U.S. natural-gas supplies
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported Thursday that domestic supplies of natural gas rose by 38 billion cubic feet for the week ended April 3. Analysts, on average, expected an increase of 25 billion cubic feet, according to a poll conducted by S&P Global Platts. Total stocks now stand at 2.024 trillion cubic feet, up 876 billion cubic feet from a year ago, and 324 billion cubic feet above the five-year average, the government said. May natural gas was up a half cent, or 0.3%, at $1.788 per million British thermal units. It was trading at $1.761 before the data.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

Big Lots shares soar 29% after $550 million sale and leaseback agreements, stock upgrade
Big Lots Inc. shares soared 29.4% in Thursday trading after the retailer announced sale and leaseback agreements that will yield net proceeds of $550 million after taxes and expenses and the stock was upgraded at JPMorgan. The transaction with Oak Street Real Estate Capital, LLC involves distribution centers in Columbus, OH, Durant, OK, Montgomery, AL, and Tremont, PA. The transaction is expected to close in the fiscal second quarter. Big Lots will use the proceeds to fully pay down debt on its revolving credit facility and provide additional liquidity. The company said it could also use some of the proceeds for share buybacks and growth efforts once the markets normalize. JPMorgan moved Big Lots shares to neutral from underweight and raised its price target to $21 from $14. After a conversation with management, analysts estimate there will be about $250 million left after debts are paid. JPMorgan also thinks that Big Lots customers, which have an average income in the range of $70,000 to $75,000, will be well positioned after receiving government stimulus checks from the CARES Act and will take advantage of the retailer's value proposition in areas like furniture. Despite the news, two investor groups, Macellum Advisors GP, LLC and Ancora Advisors, LLC say "shareholders should not look at this transaction as evidence that the board is now functioning well," and the company wouldn't have entered into the deal if not for the threat of a proxy contest. "The investor group further believes that there remains roughly $427 million (approx. $11 per share) more in real estate value that can also be monetized, which the Company has not disclosed to shareholders," the statement says. These investors think the board should not be in charge of the proceeds after the deal closes "given its poor track record of capital allocation" and that the board is in need of a "refresh." The group says it has nominated nine board members. Big Lots stock has slumped 47.2% over the past y

MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

Bond ETFs surge as Fed pledges more support
Exchange-traded funds that track bonds from across the credit spectrum surged higher after the Federal Reserve announced plans to buy more debt, including taking the unprecedented step of buying some ETFs with bonds that have ratings below investment grade. The iShares iBoxx Investment-Grade Bond ETF rose nearly 3% mid-morning, while the iShares iBoxx $ High-yield Corporate Bond ETF rocketed nearly 7% higher. The difference in the Thursday morning moves underscore the pressure high-yield, or junk, bonds have been under through the past few months of market volatility: HYG is down nearly 6% in the year to date, while LQD, which includes much safer bonds, is up 1.3%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

Dow, S&P retrace nearly half of COVID-19 related selloff
The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 545 points, or 2.3%, in morning trading Thursday, which puts it on track to retrace nearly half of the COVID-19-related selloff. The Dow had dropped 10,959.49 points, or 37.1%, from its Feb. 12 record close of 29,551.42 to its March 23 closing low of 18,591.93, and has since bounced 5,387 points, or 29.0%, to retrace 49.1% of the decline. With the S&P 500's 2.2% rally on Thursday, the index has now bounced 25.6% off its March 23 closing low of 2,237.40, and has retraced 49.9% of the decline from its Feb. 19 record close of 3,386.15. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite was rallying 1.6% to extend its gain off its March 23 low of 6,860.67 to 19.8%, and to retrace 46.0% of the decline from its Feb. 19 record close of 9,817.18.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

Dow rallies 300 points at open after Fed unveils $2.3 trillion coronavirus lending program
U.S. stocks opened sharply higher Thursday as Wall Street looks to close out a holiday-shortened week on a high note, after the Federal Reserve released the details of a plan to provide $2.3 trillion in new support for the economy in an effort to fight the impact of the coronavirus epidemic. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied 350 points, or 1.5% to trade around 23,782, the S&P 500 index jumped 37 points, or 1.4% to about 2,785 and the Nasdaq Composite index gained 66 points, or 0.8% to roughly 8,175. Investors were also surveying the damage that efforts to fight COVID-19 have dealt to the labor market, after the government said that another 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the first week of April, bringing the total to 16.8 million in just three weeks, indicating an unemployment rate well above 10%. The Fed program will include a new fund to buy debt from banks issued to small and medium sized U.S. businesses with up to 10,000 employees and another to buy short-term notes issued by U.S. states and municipalities. The major U.S. stock exchanges will be closed Friday in observance of Good Friday.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

Baidu suspends updating content on certain channels, as result of regulator directives
Baidu Inc. said Thursday has suspended updating content on certain newsfeed channels within Baidu App and conduct maintenance, starting April 8, following directives from government regulators. The China-based internet search giant said the suspension could have an impact on marketing services revenue. The move follows reports that China's cyberspace regulator said some of Baidu's reviews of news feed channels weren't strict, and therefore had a bad influence on society. Baidu said other measures it's taking to comply with regulator directives include monitoring and management over its platform, strengthening the integrity and quality of content and improving business practices. The stock rose 0.8% in premarket trading. It has lost 23.0% year to date, while the S&P 500 has dropped 14.9%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

Bilibili shares surge after Sony agrees to 5% stake
Chinese video-sharing company Bilibili Inc. announced Thursday that it has reached an agreement with Sony Corp. of America through which Sony will invest about $400 million in the company. Sony will receive roughly 17.3 million newly issued Class Z shares per the agreement and own about 4.98% of Bilibili's total issued shares upon closing. The company expects this transaction to close on or before April 10. The two companies also plan to collaborate on various opportunities in the Chinese entertainment industry, including as it relates to mobile games and anime. Bilibili's U.S.-listed shares are up 7.4% in premarket trading Thursday. They've surged 41% so far this year as the S&P 500 has decreased 15%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

GE sees profit 'materially below' but FCF 'near' prior expectations
General Electric Co. said Thursday it expects first-quarter adjusted earnings per share to be "materially below" guidance of 10 cents a share provided on March 4, as a result of the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The FactSet EPS consensus is 10 cents. The industrial conglomerate said it expects free cash flow (FCF) is expected to be "near" previously provided guidance of negative $2 billion. The company said adjusted EPS deteriorated more than FCF because of non-cash and timing items in its aviation, renewable energy and GE Capital businesses. GE withdrew its 2020 financial guidance, citing uncertainty over the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The stock rose 1.4% in premarket trading. "With net proceeds of about $20 billion from the BioPharma transaction now in hand, we have more flexibility to de-risk and further strengthen our balance sheet," said Chief Executive Lawrence Culp. "We are committed to bringing down our leverage over time as we navigate this period of uncertainty and position ourselves for the future." The stock has dropped 38.7% over the past three months through Wednesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost 19.1%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

Dow futures pare loss, turn positive after Fed announces $2.3 trillion program after 6.6 million jobless claims
Dow futures jumped into positive territory on Thursday morning after the Federal Reserve announced a fresh round of stimulative efforts, providing $2.3 trillion in support for the economy that has been nearly shut down due to the novel strain of coronavirus. The announcement from the Fed came just as weekly jobless claims showed 6.6 million people seeking unemployment benefits coming a week after a similar number of people filed for claims. The Labor Department's report shows data from the week ended April 4 and brings the total number of those seeking benefits to about 16.8 million, a record. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 114 points, or 0.4%, at 23,346, those for the S&P 500 index advanced 0.2% at 2,739, while those for the Nasdaq-100 were up 0.1% at 8,196.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

Treasury yields pare decline after Fed stimulus offsets disappointing jobless claims data
Treasury yields bounced from their lows on Thursday after the Federal Reserve announced it would provide $2.3 trillion to support the economy. The news helped to offset a release of labor-market data showing the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits had increased by 6.6 million last week. The 10-year Treasury note yield fell 2.9 basis points to 0.735%. The 2-year note yield was down 1.7 basis points to 0.239%. The 30-year bond yields fell 1.1 basis points to 1.353%. Bond prices move in the opposite direction of yields. Investors are closely watching the pace of jobless claims, as it gives an up-to-date picture of the labor market's health and is therefore one of the more widely watched indicators of a recession.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

Yelp expects $8 million to $10 million in charges related to employee terminations, furloughs
Yelp Inc. issued a filing detailing the ways the company is responding to the COVID-19 outbreak Thursday, disclosing that it expects to incur $8 million to $10 million in costs related to the termination and furloughing of employees during the pandemic. The company expects $4 million to $5 million in charges related to the terminations of about 1,000 employees and another $4 million to $5 million in charges related to support for roughly 1,100 furloughed workers. The company had $491 million of cash, equivalents, and marketable securities as of the end of March and is "exploring additional opportunities to preserve cash, to increase liquidity and to protect its business as well as its financial health," according to the release. Chief Executive Jeremy Stoppelman will not receive a base salary during 2020 and he will forgo shares related to his 2020 restricted-stock-unit arrangement that were expected to vest during the balance of the year. Yelp's board also approved a 30% cut to the base salaries of other Yelp executives that will be effective from April 19 until the board of directors determines it is suitable to return to the old arrangement given the state of the COVID-19 outbreak. Yelp shares have lost 38% so far this year as the S&P 500 has dropped 15%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

John Wiley cuts profit, revenue outlook to include revised COVID-19 impact estimates
John Wiley & Sons Inc. lowered its fiscal 2020 financial outlook for adjusted profit and revenue, to include a revised estimate of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The research and educational materials publisher cut its adjusted earnings-per-share guidance range to $2.15 to $2.30 from $2.45 to $2.55, below the FactSet consensus of $2.50. The revenue guidance was cut to $1.805 billion to $1.825 billion from $1.855 billion to $1.885 billion, below the FactSet consensus of $1.87 billion. The previous free cash flow guidance of $210 million to $230 million was withdrawn. The company said the impacts from COVID-19 include declines in print book sales given the closing of bookstores; declines in businesses that rely on in-person engagement, such as test preparation and corporate training; delays in closing annual journal subscription agreements; and delays in customer payments. The company said it was suspending its previously announced $200 million stock repurchase program. The more-active Class A shares, which were still inactive in premarket trading, have lost 15.4% year to date, while the S&P 500 has declined 14.9%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

Pfizer discloses $185 million upfront payment to BioNTech for COVID-19 vaccine program
Shares of Pfizer Inc. were up 0.6% in premarket trading on Thursday after the drugmaker disclosed it is paying BioNTech $185 million for their COVID-19 vaccine development collaboration, with additional possible future milestone payments up to $563 million. BioNTech's stock gained 8.6% before the market opened. The program, which was first announced by the companies in March, aims to put a vaccine candidate into clinical trials in August. Separately, Pfizer had also told multiple media outlets that it is testing an unnamed investigational therapy as a treatment for people sickened by the novel coronavirus. Year-to-date, Pfizer's stock is down 11.7%, while BioNTech's stock has jumped 32.7%. The S&P 500 has fallen 14.9%.

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Apr 09, 2020

IMF sees 'partial rebound' in global economy in 2021 after worst downturn since 1930s, Georgieva says
The global economy will experience the worst downturn since the Great Depression this year but could see a "partial recovery" in 2021 if the coronavirus pandemic eases after June, said Kristalina Georgieva, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund on Thursday. "It is already clear, however, that global growth will turn sharply negative in 2020," Georgieva said in a speech ahead of the IMF's spring policy meeting next week. Governments around the world have announced a total of $8 trillion in fiscal spending to soften the blow of the pandemic, she said. "If the pandemic fades in the second half of the year-thus allowing a gradual lifting of containment measures and reopening of the economy-our baseline assumption is for a partial recovery in 2021," the IMF chief said. But the forecast is tremendously uncertain and things could get worse, she warned.

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Apr 09, 2020

Disney's stock surges to give the Dow a near 40-point boost after 'surprise' Disney subscriber data
Shares of Walt Disney Co. surged 5.4% to pace all of the Dow Jones Industrial Average's premarket gainers Thursday, in the wake of the media and theme park operator's announcement that paid subscribers for its Disney streaming service surpassed 50 million. The stock's implied price gain would add about 37 points to the Dow's price, while Dow futures were recently down 14 points. J.P. Morgan analyst Alexia Quadrani reiterated her overweight rating and $140 stock price target, saying she was "impressed" by the surprise announcement of Disney subscribers, and that it's clear that information was provided as analysts have been lowering estimates across other areas of Disney's business. "We view Disney as a core driver to the company's extensive ecosystem of consumer touchpoints, which we believe will benefit the Parks and Studio once normal operations resume," Quadrani wrote in a note to clients. The stock has dropped 30.1% year to date through Wednesday, while the Dow has declined 17.9%.

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Apr 09, 2020

Canada Goose bringing back up to 900 workers to manufacture medical gear
Canada Goose Holdings Inc. said Thursday that it will bring all eight of its manufacturing facilities back online and put up to 900 staff to work making medical gear for frontline workers. The outerwear company previously announced that 150 employees at the Toronto and Winnipeg facilities would produce 14,000 gowns and scrubs at no charge. That effort began this week. The new contract will be for up to 1.5 million gowns, at cost. Any additional profits will be donated to coronavirus relief funds. Canada Goose stock is down nearly 57% over the past year while the S&P 500 index has fallen 4.5%.

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Apr 09, 2020

Visteon to cut more jobs at certain sites, implements salary reduction program
Visteon Corp. said Thursday it will further reduce the number of employees at various sites, in addition to the cuts announced as part of its restructuring plan in January, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new plan is expected to cost between $11 million to $15 million and is expected to be substantially completed in mid-2021. The previously announced plan was expected to cost $18 million to $24 million. The auto parts maker announced a temporary four-month salary reduction program, which includes a 40% reduction in the CEO's salary, the executive committee's salaries will be reduced by 30%, cash compensation for non-employee directors will be lowered by 30% and all other employee salaries will be cut by 20%. Separately, Visteon said it is looking to deliver up to 50,000 face shields and other personal protective equipment to doctors and nurses. The stock, which is still inactive in premarket trading, has dropped 40.6% over the past three months while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost 19.1%.

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Apr 09, 2020

Buckle March sales fall 50% as COVID-19 takes its toll
Buckle Inc. said net sales for March fell 50.2% from a year ago to $41.0 million. The apparel, accessories and footwear retailer said sales for 9-week period ended April 4, or the first two months of the fiscal first quarter, sales dropped 26.6% to $104.0 million. The FactSet consensus for first-quarter sales of $143.2 million implies a 28.9% decline from a year ago. Since the company announced last month that all of its brick-and-mortar stores have been closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it will not report monthly same-store sales. The stock, which was still inactive in premarket trading, has lost 45.5% year to date, while the S&P 500 has declined 14.9%.

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Apr 09, 2020

Philip Morris says it will not terminate any workers during coronavirus pandemic (except for cause)
Philip Morris International Inc. said Thursday it will not terminate any workers during the coronavirus pandemic except for cause and will continue to pay all employees their regular compensation, even if they are unable to fulfil all of their professional duties due to stay-at-home mandates or other issues. The Marlboro cigarette maker said it's putting any restructuring plans on hold for now and will offer awards to workers who have to be physically present at their jobs, such as those who work in factories, warehouses, in the field of in offices, where local regulations still allow that. Shares were slightly lower premarket.

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Apr 09, 2020

COVID-19 case tally: 1.49 million cases, 88,982 deaths
The number of cases of COVID-19 around the world rose to 1.49 million on Thursday, while the number of fatalaties rose to 88,982 according to aggregated data from Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering's Centers for Systems Science and Engineering. At least 332,486 people around the world have recovered from the novel coronavirus that has sickened people in 184 countries, the data show. The U.S still has the most cases at 432,438 and 14,808 deaths. Another 24,125 people have recovered. In Europe, Spain has 148,220 cases and 14,792 deaths. Italy has 139,422 cases and 17,669 fatalaties, making it the highest in the world. Germany has 113,296 cases and just 2,349 deaths. France has 83,080 cases and 10,887 deaths. China has 82,870 cases and 3,339 deaths. The Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus was first reported late last year, lifted travel restrictions Wednesday that had been in place since Jan. 23. Iran, another hot spot, has 64,586 cases and 3,993 deaths.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

Cognizant Q1 revenue set to top expectations, COVID-19 to reduce client demand further in Q2
Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. said Thursday it expects to report first-quarter revenue of $4.22 billion to $4.23 billion, which is up 2.7% to 2.9% from a year ago above the FactSet consensus of $4.18 billion. The business consultant after a strong first two months of the quarter, the COVID-19 pandemic increasingly affected results in March, as project fulfillment was delayed, particularly in India and the Philippines and client demand was reduced. The company expects its client demand to be further reduced in the second quarter. Cognizant said it has drawn $1.74 billion on its revolving credit facility, providing it with net cash of $2.2 billion with no significant debt maturities until 2023. The company said it was providing employees in India and the Philippines at the associate level and below with an additional payment of 25% of their base salaries for April. The stock, which was indicated down nearly 1% in premarket trading, has lost 15.9% over the past three months while the S&P 500 has declined 16.0%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

U.K. Treasury move to use Bank of England financing to take pressure off bill, repo markets: analyst
The move by the U.K. Treasury to reactivate its financing facility at the Bank of England will take the pressure of the bill and repo markets over the course of 2020 and 2021, according to Moyeen Islam, an analyst at Barclays. "These markets are primarily where the [Debt Management Office's] cash management operations show up," he said in a note to clients. The Treasury last tapped the facility in the first quarter of 2009, borrowing £20 billion. "The Bank emphasises the that the extension is temporary and short term in its nature. But recent experience tells us that what is temporary can often become permanent and expand - we need only to look at asset purchase to see this."

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

Credit Suisse lowers target prices on U.K. banks and downgrades HSBC
Credit Suisse lowered target prices on U.K. banks and downgraded HSBC to neutral from outperform. On HSBC, where the target price is now 515 pence, Credit Suisse said the bank has outperformed its U.K. peers by 20 percentage points year-to-date and has a premium valuation. Credit Suisse's new RBS target price is 175 pence, and it has an outperform rating due to its 16.9% CET1 ratio and limited unsecured credit exposure. It's still underperform on Standard Chartered with a 395 pence target given higher emerging market credit risk and lower core profitability. It's neutral on Barclays , with a 125 pence target, and Lloyds , with a 40 pence target.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

European stocks open higher after Wall Street rally
European stocks opened higher Thursday after a strong rally on Wall Street as policymakers globally discuss how to re-open their economies. The German DAX and the U.K. FTSE 100 each rose 1.4% in opening trade, while futures on the Dow industrials rose 233 points.

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Apr 09, 2020

Swiss regulator says it welcomes UBS and Credit Suisse move to delay half their dividends
The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority said it welcomed the move by UBS and Credit Suisse to postpone half of their planned dividend distributions for 2019 to the fourth quarter. "FINMA welcomes this significant step, which was taken after FINMA wrote to the boards of directors of both banks asking them to reconsider their dividend plans. FINMA views this precautionary measure taken by both institutions as a way of simultaneously dealing with the major uncertainties associated with the COVID-19 crisis and addressing shareholders' expectations," it said in a statement.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

U.K. builder Redrow says it can issue £300 million of commercial paper using Bank of England facility
U.K. homebuilder Redrow said it has been confirmed as an eligible issuer for the Bank of England's Covid Corporate Financing Facility with an issuer limit under the facility of £300 million, which is currently undrawn. Negotiations for the additional £100 million of headroom under the group's existing revolving credit facility are expected to be concluded by the end of April, which will take the facility to £350 million. Currently around 80% of the workforce has been furloughed under the government's job retention scheme, and its directors have volunteered to take a salary cut of 20%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 09, 2020

Diageo pulls financial guidance and halts buyback while going ahead with dividend
Diageo , the alcoholic beverage maker of Johnnie Walker whisky, Guinness beer and Captain Morgan rum, said it's halting its stock buyback program and suspending its financial guidance. Diageo said it will go ahead with its interim dividend due to be paid in April. In mainland China, Diageo said it's beginning to see a very slow return of on-trade consumption, while most bars are shut in the U.S. and in Europe, and on-trade accounts for 20% of U.S. sales and 50% of Europe business. In both regions it has seen some pick-up in the off-trade channel (retail stores) in recent weeks, although it is unclear whether this will be sustained.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 08, 2020

U.S. stock futures about flat after Wall Street's latest rally
U.S. stock index futures were about flat late Wednesday, after stocks closed sharply higher earlier in the day. After rising more than 120 points, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were down 20 points, or 0.1%, as of 10 p.m. Eastern, while S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq-100 futures also shrugged off earlier gains. In regular trading Wednesday, stocks rallied on investors' hopes for more support from the Fed and the potential for a sooner-than-expected rollback of containment measures put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. The Dow closed up nearly 800 points.

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Apr 08, 2020

Ex-Navy secretary's ill-fated trip to Guam cost taxpayers more than $240,000: report
The speech that cost former acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly his job also cost taxpayers nearly a quarter of a million dollars, USA Today reported Wednesday. Last weekend, Modly flew to Guam, where he gave a profanity-laced speech to the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt and called the aircraft carrier's former captain "stupid" after the captain's plea for help for his coronavirus-stricken ship was leaked to the press. Modly was forced to apologize, and resigned Tuesday under a firestorm of criticism. Citing a Navy official, USA Today said Modly flew a Gulfstream 550 jet on the 35-hour round trip, at a cost of $6,946.19 an hour. That would total $243,116.65. In a statement Wednesday, Adm. Mike Gilday, the Navy's chief of operations, said the past week has been "difficult" but "make no mistake, we are moving forward."

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 08, 2020

U.S. stock futures up after Wall Street's latest rally
U.S. stock index futures edged up late Wednesday, after stocks closed sharply higher earlier in the day. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were last up 90 points, or 0.4%, while S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq-100 futures were also up slightly. In regular trading Wednesday, stocks rallied on investors' hopes for more support from the Fed and the potential for a sooner-than-expected rollback of containment measures put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. The Dow closed up nearly 800 points.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 08, 2020

Starbucks says earnings cut roughly in half due to coronavirus effects
Starbucks Corp. said Wednesday that fiscal second-quarter earnings will be chopped roughly in half from a year ago due to the spread of COVID-19 in China and then the U.S. Starbucks revealed that it expects adjusted earnings of 28 cents to 32 cents a share for the second quarter, which would be down from 60 cents a share in the second quarter of 2019. "These estimates reflect the impact of lost sales for the period as well as incremental expenses for partner wages and benefits, store operations and other activities related to the COVID-19 outbreak," the company disclosed. "This includes inventory write-offs, honoring supplier obligations, store safety-related items, asset impairments and preliminary estimates of certain government stimulus program benefits." Analysts on average expect earnings of 39 cents a share, down from 66 cents a share at the end of 2019, according to FactSet. The company also rescinded its annual guidance. Starbucks shares fell 1% in after-hours trading immediately following the release of the information. Starbucks expects to report second-quarter earnings in full on April 28.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 08, 2020

Microchip sees temporary coronavirus sales rise, cuts costs
Microchip Technology Inc. said it is cutting costs even while sales rise given the uncertainty and economic volatility resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The chip maker said it expects quarterly revenue to rise 3% sequentially, up from a previous forecast of flat revenue. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast quarterly revenue of $1.29 billion, or a sequential decline of 3.3%. "Microchip, however, believes that the strength in bookings may be a result of customer concerns about supply chain disruptions due to the COVID-19 virus," the company said in a statement. "With economies around the world contracting rapidly, with millions of people getting laid off and with customer factory closures due to 'shelter in place' ordinances in various countries, we believe that product demand is likely to weaken significantly." The company said senior executives will take a 20% salary cut with non-factory employees taking a 10% cut. Some factory workers will have to take salary cuts with "others taking rotating time off depending on the factory loading levels for various locations," the company said. Board-member compensation is being reduced by 20%, the company said. Microchip shares rose 2.5% after hours, following an 8.4% rise to finish the regular session at $79.52.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 08, 2020

Eventbrite to lay off 45% of workforce because of coronavirus
Eventbrite Inc. , a ticketing and event management site among the hardest hit by coronavirus, on Wednesday said it will lay off 45% of its 1,000 to 1,100 workers. Company Chief Executive Julia Hartz made the announcement during a companywide meeting, according to report by Protocol. "To ensure the long-term durability of our mission, we have made the difficult decision to reduce our global workforce by 45 percent. This is a harsh reality to face and we are saddened to see many of our team members depart the company," an Eventbrite spokesperson said in an email to MarketWatch. The struggling San Francisco-based company in March said it was withdrawing its business outlook for its fiscal first quarter and 2020 "as a result of the growing impact of COVID-19 on global live events." Eventbrite shares are down 65% in the last year. The broader S&P 500 index is down 5% in the last year.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 08, 2020

Disney paid subscribers jump past 50 million
Walt Disney Co. on Wednesday said paid subscriptions to its Disney streaming service soared past 50 million. The service, launched in November, previously was at 28 million but has surged with the closure of schools and shelter in place edicts for millions of people because of the coronavirus pandemic. "We're truly humbled that Disney is resonating with millions around the globe, and believe this bodes well for our continued expansion throughout Western Europe and into Japan and all of Latin America later this year," said Kevin Mayer, chairman of Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International. Disney was rolled out in eight Western European countries including the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, and Switzerland in the past two weeks. Disney shares are up 4% in extended trading Wednesday but down 14% in the last year. The broader S&P 500 index is down 5% in the last year.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 08, 2020

Stitch Fix pulls forecast for year on coronavirus uncertainty
Stitch Fix Inc. said late Wednesday it was pulling its outlook for the year because of the "increasing uncertainty" arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Back in March, Stitch Fix forecast a lower-than-expected revenue outlook of $465 million to $475 million for the fiscal third quarter, and $1.81 billion to $1.84 billion for the year. At last check, analysts surveyed by FactSet were looking for third-quarter revenue of $461.8 million, and full-year revenue of $1.81 billion. The company said it had to close two of its distribution centers -- one in South San Francisco, Calif., and one in Bethlehem, Penn. -- to comply with local public health orders. "While we anticipated our business would be impacted, we did not have visibility into the extent to which it would disrupt our distribution centers," said Katrina Lake, Stitch Fix chief executive, in a statement. Stitch Fix shares declined 0.5% after hours, following a 1.7% rise to close the regular session at $13.57.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 08, 2020

Medtronic gets emergency authorization to sell compact ventilator in the U.S.
Medtronic Plc said late Wednesday it has received an OK from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to offer one of its ventilators in the U.S. by May. The device, described as a lightweight, compact model suitable for clinical and in-home uses, was introduced in 2010 and is sold in 35 countries around the world, Medtronic said. The compact ventilator sells for under $10,000 on average, the company said. In the same statement, Medtronic said it is making "solid progress" in the ramp-up of its ventilator production, as well as in "collaborating with technology partners and governments to drive new ventilator innovation and production, all in support of COVID-19 patients worldwide." Shares of Medtronic were flat in the extended session after ending the regular trading day up 5%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 08, 2020

Ulta Beauty to furlough retail, salon employees
Ulta Beauty Inc. announced Wednesday that it intends to furlough its retail workers as of April 19 due to the spread of COVID-19. "After thoughtful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to temporarily furlough many of our store and salon associates," Chief Executive Mary Dillon said in the announcement. Dillon will forego her base salary and has personally donated $500,000 to the Ulta Beauty Associate Relief Program, which will assist employees facing personal hardship from the coronavirus. Ulta continues to offer online sales, and is paying workers in its distribution centers an additional $2 an hour. The company also said it plans to donate 450,000 medical-grade gloves from its salons to hospitals nationwide in coordination with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 08, 2020

Dow closes up 780 points Wednesday, as the stock market recoups most of its massive Tuesday U-turn
U.S. stocks ended sharply higher Wednesday, with the main indexes delivering on a rally that had begun in earnest on Tuesday but was relinquished by the close of that session in a violent selloff in the final hour of action. On Wednesday, the market managed to build up its gains into the close and hold on, finishing near session peaks, as investors focused on optimism around the pathway forward for the economy from the COVID-19. A rebound in energy shares as investors watched for a major production cut among major crude producers on Thursday also helped to bolster the buying mood on Wall Street. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up about 780 points, or 3.4%, at 23,434, the S&P 500 index finished up 3.4% at 2,750, while the Nasdaq Composite Index closed with a 2.6% gain at 8,091. Tuesday's reversal represented the biggest blown lead for the S&P 500 and the Dow since 2008, according to Dow Jones Market Data. The White House's plans for reopening the U.S. economy and an account of the Federal Reserve's emergency actions taken last month were also a focus for investors. Minutes for the central bank's March 15 policy meeting showed that staffers viewed no major economic recovery until next year as a worst-case scenario of the coronavirus outbreak, according to minutes released Wednesday. Fed staffers also fretted about a lack of future ammunition to combat economic distress after the central bank took unprecedented monetary-policy actions in March and slashed rates to a range of 0% and 0.25%. Stocks also appeared to get a lift after Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders from Vermont exited the U.S. presidential race on Wednesday, opening up the path for Joe Biden to become the Democratic nominee.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 08, 2020

Nordstrom's salary cuts for CEO, president in perspective after proxy filing
Nordstrom Inc. said earlier Wednesday that Chief Executive Erik Nordstrom and Chief Brand Officer Peter Nordstrom have agreed to receive no base salary for at least six months, beginning March 29. That comes after the department store chain filed its fiscal 2020 proxy statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which showed that Erik Nordstrom's base salary in 2019 was $756,393, or 11.0% of total compensation of $6.87 million, which included non-equity incentive plan compensation of $708,591. Peter Nordstrom's base salary was also $756,393 in 2019, or 10.8% of total compensation of $6.98 million, which included $708,591 in non-equity incentive plan compensation. Nordstrom's stock surged 7.0% in afternoon trading, and has rocketed 48.0% since closing at an 11-year low on Friday. The stock has still tumbled 54.2% over the past three months, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost 18.6%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 08, 2020

UPDATE: New York state sees biggest one-day death tally from coronavirus at 779 fatalities
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state suffered its biggest one-day death toll from the coronavirus pandemic in the last 24 hours, as 779 people died. The state has now suffered 6,268 fatalities from the virus, far more than the 2,753 lives that were lost in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. But Cuomo said the number of people being hospitalized is coming down with more patients being released than were admitted in the past three days, suggesting the stay-at-home and social distancing measures the state has implemented are working. "This is not a time to get complaceent or do anything different,' he told reporters at a daily briefing. "Remember what happened in Italy when the entire health-care system was overrun. There's no doubt we're bending the curve and no doubt we have to keep doing it."

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 08, 2020

Travelers to credit auto insurance premiums for 2 months as part of stay-at-home program, to match Allstate's program
Travelers Companies Inc. said Wednesday that it will give its U.S. personal auto insurance a 15% credit on their April and May premiums, as part of is new stay-at-home program. The insurer said it working with regulators to obtain necessary approvals for the program. "Our customers are doing their part to stay at home and help stop the spread of COVID-19," said Chief Executive Alan Schnitzer. "Our new program recognizes their contribution to the effort we all need to make to protect our health and safety and the resulting decrease in miles driven and auto claims." Travelers's announcement comes two days after Allstate Corp. announced a program to credit its auto insurance customers 15% of their premiums in April and May, as part of its shelter-in-place program. Travelers's stock, which rose 3.8% in afternoon trading, has lost 23.6% year to date, while the SPDR S&P Insurance ETF has dropped 25.8% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has declined 18.2%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 08, 2020

Oil futures settle higher as traders expect OPEC to cut production
Oil futures settled higher on Wednesday, a day ahead of a meeting of major oil producers that's expected to produce an agreement to cut global crude production. May West Texas Intermediate oil rose $1.46, or 6.2%, to settle at $25.09 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, following a loss of 9.4% on Tuesday.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 08, 2020

Cruise stocks rally to extend recent rocket ride; Instinet analyst sees 'turning point' in Q1 2021
Shares of cruise operators rallied again Wednesday, with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. leading the way higher in afternoon trading. Royal Caribbean's stock ran up 10.4%, after rocketing 37.6% the over the previous two days; Carnival Corp. shares surged 5.0 after soaring 41.8% over the previous three sessions; and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.'s stock hiked up 4.6% after shooting 31.1% higher the previous three sessions. The gains comes as the S&P 500 rallies 3.0%. Instinet analyst Harry Curtis said based on his new cash burn and recovery forecasts for the cruise industry through 2023, he believes all three companies have enough liquidity and borrowing capacity to survive near-zero revenue through the first quarter of 2021. "Many times we've been asked about bankruptcy, and we believe it to be low," Curtis wrote in a note to clients. He expects a "modest" recovery for the industry to begin in the second half of 2020, with the first quarter of 2021 the possible "turning point." Curtis said there may be 70% to 90% upside in the stocks over the next three years.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 08, 2020

Fed staff's worst-case scenario: No major recovery until next year: minutes
The worst-case scenario of the staff of the Federal Reserve for the economy is no recovery until next year, according to minutes of the central bank's March 15 policy meeting released Wednesday. The staff told officials that there were two plausible scenarios for the U.S. economy grappling with the coronavirus. In one scenario, the U.S. economy would start to recover in the second half of the year. The more adverse scenario was that the economy entered a recession with no significant rebound until next year. Facing this uncertainty, Fed officials responded by slashing interest rates to zero and launching open-ended purchases of Treasury and asset-backed securities. Supporters of the full percentage point cut on March 15 called it "forceful." A few officials wanted to cut rates only by half-point, the minutes show. There was concern expressed that the public might think the central bank would be out of ammunition with its benchmark rate essentially at zero. But other officials noted the Fed had other tools to ease monetary policy.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 08, 2020

Gold prices settle slightly higher, then see volatile trade after Fed meeting minutes
Gold prices settled with a modest gain on Wednesday, then saw volatile moves in electronic trading, edging lower, then higher, following the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve's March 3 and March 15 meetings. The meeting minutes showed that Fed officials were concerned that, under a worse-case scenario, an economic recovery wouldn't take hold until next year. June gold was at $1,686.40 an ounce in electronic trading, following a settlement at $1,684.30, up 60 cents, or 0.04%, for the session.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 08, 2020

Delta's stock rallies, on track to end losing streak, again
Shares of Delta Air Lines Inc. rallied 3.5% in afternoon trading, which puts them on track, again, to snap a losing streak. The stock had plunged 29.8% amid an eight-session losing streak through Tuesday. But in five of those losing sessions, including the past four sessions, the stock had traded in positive territory intraday only to lose those gains at the close. On Tuesday, the stock was up as much as 15.8% at its intraday high of $25.85, only to close down 0.3%; at 2 p.m. ET on Tuesday, the stock was still up about 2.9%. The latest losing streak is only the longest suffered in less than two months, as the stock tumbled 22.4% amid an 11-session losing streak through Feb. 28. The stock has tumbled 60.9% over the past three months, while the U.S. Global Jets ETF has shed 54.9% and the S&P 500 has declined 16.5%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 08, 2020

Dow Jones CEO Will Lewis to leave company: DJ Newswires
The chief executive of Dow Jones, a unit of News Corp. , said Wednesday he is leaving the company, Dow Jones Newswires reported. Lewis said his contract is due to expire and will not be renewed. The executive has held the role since 2014. Dow Jones is the publisher of MarketWatch. News Corp. shares were last up 0.6%, but have fallen 37% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 has fallen 16%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 08, 2020

UPDATE: COVID-19 case tally: 1.46 million cases, 85,397 deaths and U.S. case tally tops 400,000
The number of cases of COVID-19 around the world rose to 1.46 million on Wednesday, while the number of fatalaties rose to 85,397 according to aggregated data from Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering's Centers for Systems Science and Engineering. At least 308,757 people around the world have recovered from the novel coronavirus that has sickened people in 184 countries, the data show. The U.S still has the most number of cases worldwide, at 403,923 and 13,007 deaths. Another 22,717 people have recovered. In Europe, Spain has 146,690 cases and 14,555 deaths. Italy has 139,422 cases and 17,669 fatalaties, making it the highest in the world. France has overaken Germany in case numbers at 110,070 and 10,343 deaths. Germany has 109,329 cases and just 2,096 deaths. China has 82,809 cases and 3,337 deaths. The Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus was first reported late last year, lifted travel restrictions Wednesday that had been in place since Jan. 23. Iran, another hot spot, has 64,586 cases and 3,993 deaths.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 08, 2020

New York state sees biggest one-day death tally from coronavirus at 799 fatalities
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state suffered its biggest one-day death toll from the coronavirus pandemic in the last 24 hours, as 799 people died. The state has now suffered 6,268 fatalities from the virus, far more than the 2,753 lives that were lost in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 08, 2020

Google is offering a 60-day free trial of Stadia, its streaming videogame venture
Alphabet Inc.'s Google is offering a 60-day free trial of Stadia, its streaming videogame venture. "Video games can be a valuable way to socialize with friends and family when you're stuck at home, so we're giving gamers in 14 countries free access to Stadia for two months. This is starting today and rolling out over the next 48 hours," Phil Harrison, vice president and general manager of Stadia, said in a blog post Wednesday.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 08, 2020

NMC Health says it can't oppose administration request made by creditor
NMC Health , the Middle Eastern hospital operator that was a FTSE 100 component, on Wednesday said it will be unable to oppose a filing by one of its creditors, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, to have it put into administration. NMC Health shares have been halted since late February on concern over unauthorized debts. "The Board has written to the Court indicating that, notwithstanding strenuous efforts to address Creditors' concerns, it has not been able to secure their alignment and support and has been advised by its counsel that it is not in a position to oppose the application successfully. Accordingly, it expects the Company to be placed into administration in due course," said NMC in a statement. NMC Health shares suffered after the short seller Muddy Waters drew attention to the firm.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 08, 2020

Caterpillar decides to maintain dividend, with next payment in scheduled in May
Caterpillar Inc. said Wednesday that it has decided to maintain its quarterly dividend of $1.03 a share, with the next dividend payable May 20 to shareholders of record on April 20. Based on current stock prices, Caterpillar's implied dividend yield was 3.34%, compared with the SPDR Industrial Select Sector ETF's yield of 2.51% and the implied yield for the S&P 500 of 2.20%. Many companies have suspended dividend payments to preserve cash amid uncertainties over the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Caterpillar's stock, which rose 1.3% in morning trading, has lost 16.4% year to date, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost 18.8%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 08, 2020

GM to make 30,000 ventilators for U.S. stockpile by August
General Motors Co. said Wednesday it is contracted to make 30,000 ventilators, at a price of $489.4 million, for the Strategic National Stockpile by the end of August. The production schedule is aiming for the delivery of 6,132 ventilators by June 1, the auto maker said. The contract is part of the Defense Production Act invoked in late March. Ventilators are needed for people suffering from the direst cases of COVID-19 and the U.S. and other countries have been scrambling to provide more of the life-saving devices. Shares of GM have lost about 43% in the past 12 months, compared with losses around 6% for the S&P 500 index.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



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