Friday Morning Reads
- Where To Next?
- Getting ‘Primed’
- Tanker Storage
- Frantic for Coronavirus Gear
- Opening Cash Spigot
- Jobless Numbers Are ‘Eye-Watering’
- Google Will Require Proof of Identity From All Advertisers
- Here’s Why You Can’t Find Frozen Fries
- Letting States Default is Very Dangerous Thinking
- Should You Take the Money Or Not
- Why Aren’t Stocks Down More?
- Futures inch up as economic package approved
- Continental Resources halts shale output
- Tesla raises China prices after subsidies cut
- American Express EPS beats by $0.31, misses on revenue
- Auto restart in Detroit 'too risky'
- Boeing to cut 787 Dreamliner output
- Glaxo PD-1 inhibitor shows positive action in endometrial cancer
- DraftKings goes public with no live sports
- Using blockchain to tackle COVID-19
- J&J to partner with Emergent Bio on coronavirus vaccine candidate
- Energy Transfer reportedly weighs crude storage in idle pipelines
- Zoom to join Nasdaq 100 on April 30
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a $484B coronavirus aid package last night that will replenish funding for PPP loans and SBA disaster assistance, as well as grants to hospitals and COVID-19 testing. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will also require public companies deemed critical to national security that seek a share of $17B in virus-related relief to offer an equity stake to the government. For private companies, Mnuchin "may, in his discretion, accept senior debt instruments" or other financial interests.
U.S. stock index futures are ahead by 0.5%, with President Trump scheduled to pass the follow-on bill for the CARES Act and 16 states unveiling plans to lift coronavirus restrictions. Data yesterday showed 4.4M Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the 5-week total to more than 26M and wiping out all job gains since the global financial crisis. On the earnings front, stay on the lookout this morning for corporate outlooks from Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and American Express (NYSE:AXP).
Gilead (NASDAQ:GILD) shares were whipsawed on Thursday for the second time in a week after a summary of its remdesivir trial appeared to show that it was a failure against COVID-19. Fighting back, the drugmaker said that the results were mistakenly published and removed from the WHO's website, and referred to the findings as "inappropriate characterizations." Gilead's own clinical trial of the therapeutic is slated to be released at the end of the month.
Continental Resources (NYSE:CLR), the company controlled by billionaire Harold Hamm, has ceased production in North Dakota and shut in most of its wells in the state's Bakken shale field. According to Bloomberg, the producer also declared force majeure on at least one of its contracts this week after crude went negative. Betting economic growth would lift prices, Continental was more exposed to weak prices because it didn't hedge future production with derivatives, a common strategy within the industry.
The closings of the nation's meat processors are picking up steam, with Tyson's (NYSE:TSN) Waterloo, Iowa plant being the latest. The situation has gotten so dire in the state that the National Guard has been activated to protect supplies. It's also led to some weird action, with prices for hogs headed sharply lower but prices for pork belly (used to make bacon) doubling in the last four days. That means soaring margins for slaughterhouses, with one outfit figuring pork margins as up 340% since the start of the month.
It's "too soon and too risky" to reopen auto plants and Michigan's economy in early May, according to UAW President Rory Gamble, who cited insufficient scientific data and coronavirus testing to assure workplaces are safe. The statement appeared to derail plans by the Detroit Three that aimed to return UAW workers to manufacturing lines on May 4. As part of a restart, GM (NYSE:GM), Ford (NYSE:F) and Fiat Chrysler (NYSE:FCAU) outlined training programs and new safety protocols designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Companies can test employees for COVID-19 before permitting them to enter the workplace as long as the tests are accurate and reliable. That's according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. agency that enforces civil rights laws against disability discrimination. Mandatory medical testing is generally prohibited by the ADA, but is allowed if it is "job related and consistent with business necessity."
As of today, United Airlines (NASDAQ:UAL) flight attendants will be required to wear face coverings while on duty, a measure aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19. The airline will provide flight attendants with surgical masks, but they are also permitted to don their own cloth masks. The Association of Flight Attendants wants the order to go further, asking federal authorities to require travelers to wear masks to reduce the risk of spreading disease.
Blockchain technology schemes are being developed by companies like IBM (NYSE:IBM) and Ernst & Young to help with different aspects of the coronavirus pandemic. Applications? The projects can be an efficient way of connecting healthcare providers in need of medical equipment or help validate a person's immunity. Programs could run into challenges, however, if the data that goes on the blockchain is inaccurate and difficult to verify.
Credit card companies are offering customers relief in the form of waiving fees and adjusting payment schedules, but they're also keeping a tighter rein on spending limits. Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS) is tightening underwriting strategies for new accounts as well as credit line management amid coronavirus uncertainty. Meanwhile, Synchrony Financial (NYSE:SYF), which handles credit card programs for J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP), Gap (NYSE:GPS) and American Eagle (NYSE:AEO), is using "internal and credit bureau triggers to dynamically reevaluate customers' creditworthiness."
What else is happening...
Blackstone (NYSE:BX) +4.5% keeping dividend despite performance hit.
Capital One (NYSE:COF) -0.8% AH as reserve build led to quarterly loss.
Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) +2.1% beating expectations.
Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) -6% AH on soft EPS outlook for Q2.
Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP) +3.5% following an earnings topper.
In Asia, Japan -0.9%. Hong Kong -0.6%. China -1.1%. India -1.7%.
In Europe, at midday, London -0.8%. Paris -0.8%. Frankfurt -0.8%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow +0.4%. S&P +0.5%. Nasdaq +0.3%. Crude -0.6% to $16.40. Gold +0.6% to $1755.30. Bitcoin +6% to $7517.
Ten-year Treasury Yield flat 0.61%