Market Brief: May 7, 2020

A daily summary of news, analysis and data shaping the market.
Market Brief
Thursday, May 7, 2020
Nasdaq in the Green. U.S. stocks closed higher Thursday, crossing some important milestones, even as job losses from the coronavirus pandemic topped 33 million. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added about 211 points, or 0.9%, to close near 23,876, while the S&P 500 closed higher by about 33 points or 1.2%, at about 2881. The Nasdaq Composite closed at about 8980, up 125 points or 1.4%, and erasing its pandemic-induced losses. The technology-heavy index is now in positive territory—up 0.8%—in 2020. The Nasdaq had crossed the psychologically important 9,000 threshold earlier, but stocks gave back some of their early gains after concerns about demand for oil weighed on crude prices.
DJIA 23,875.89 211.25
S&P 500 2,881.19 32.77
NASDAQ 8,979.66 125.27
US 10-Year Note 0.64 -0.06
Dollar Index 99.87 -0.22
Crude Oil 23.46 -0.53
Gold 1,726.40 37.90
Global Dow 2,594.61 21.44
Powered by Dow Jones Research, FactSet, Eurostat, SIX Financial Information.
3.2 Million More Americans Claimed Jobless Benefits
The coronavirus pandemic claimed an additional 3.2 million jobs last week, the fewest since lockdowns began in earnest but a number that remains historically high as layoffs continue across the economy.

Thursday’s figures bring the total number of first-time claims for unemployment insurance to more than 33.5 million since mid-March. The Labor Department last week reported an increase of 3.8 million initial claims on a seasonally adjusted basis.

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Neiman Marcus’s Bankruptcy Just Pushed Retailer Defaults to an All-Time High
Neiman Marcus Group has filed for bankruptcy in a restructuring that will transfer majority ownership of the retailer to its creditors. Its filing has pushed the default rate for retailers to an all-time high, as the coronavirus pandemic further destabilizes the sector.

The Dallas-based department store has secured $675 million of “debtor-in-possession financing,” or loans meant to fund its operations as it goes through the bankruptcy process. Creditors have also committed $750 million in exit funding, a sum that includes a full refinancing of the debtor-in-possession financing.

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Uber Loses Nearly $3 Billion in 3 Months
Uber Technologies Inc. announced a quarterly loss of nearly $3 billion Thursday afternoon, including a write-down of more than $2 billion related to its investments in Asian partners, as the ride-hailing industry suffers from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Uber reported a first-quarter loss of $2.94 billion, or $1.70 a share, compared with a loss of $1.01 billion in the year-ago period. Revenue swelled 14% to $3.54 billion from $3.1 billion in the year-ago period. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had estimated a loss of 84 cents a share on revenue of $3.55 billion on average.

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Lyft’s Results Are Stronger Than Expected
Lyft late Wednesday reported stronger-than-feared first quarter financial results.

The ride-sharing company posted revenues of $955.7 million, up 23%, and ahead of the Wall Street analyst consensus at $898 million. In what will likely come as a pleasant surprise to the Street, Lyft posted an adjusted Ebitda, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, loss of $85.2 million, narrower than the company’s original projected loss of $140 million to $145 million.

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Norwegian Cruise Line CEO: We Have Enough Cash for More Than 18 Months of No Revenue
Having raised about $2.4 billion of new capital this week, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has enough liquidity to last more than 18 months even with zero revenue, CEO Frank Del Rio told Barron’s.

Thanks to the capital raise, he said, Norwegian now has about $3.5 billion of liquidity. “The future is certainly brighter for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and the industry than it was just a few days ago,” he added.

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Liberty Global and Telefónica Plan $38 Billion Telecom Merger in U.K.
The U.S.’s Liberty Global and Spain’s Telefónica on Thursday agreed to merge their British operations Virgin Media and O2 in a £31.4 billion ($38.45 billion) deal that will dramatically reshape the United Kingdom’s telecom market and intensify the battle with BT Group.

The new 50-50 joint venture will have £11 billion in combined revenue and 46 million customer accounts across mobile, broadband, and pay-TV platforms. Mike Fries, CEO of Liberty Global and José María Álvarez-Pallete López, chairman and CEO of Telefónica, said the two companies plan to invest £10 billion in the U.K. over the next five years.

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Moderna Speeds Up Timeline for Covid-19 Vaccine, Gets All-Clear for Phase 2 Trial
Shares of the biotech firm Moderna jumped after the company said that the Food and Drug Administration had approved its application to run a Phase 2 study of its experimental Covid-19 vaccine, and that the trial would begin “shortly.”

In an investor call Thursday morning, the company laid out an updated timeline for development of the Covid-19 vaccine, which is faster in key ways than the timeline that had been previously described. The company says it hopes for approval of the drug next year.

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JetBlue Posts a Loss and Revenue Falls Short
JetBlue Airways is the latest airline to report results that missed analysts’ estimates for the first quarter, but its shares traded higher on signs that its finances have stabilized with aggressive cost-cutting and cash conservation efforts.

The company should have enough liquidity to last 10 months—signs that the industry is stabilizing, albeit at sharply reduced capacity. Shares closed Thursday up about 2% after logging bigger gains during the session.

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Grubhub Stock Slumps as It Vows to Spend Heavily to Support Restaurants
Grubhub late Wednesday reported first-quarter results that were better than Wall Street estimates. Revenue was $363 million, up 12% year over year, and ahead of analysts’ consensus estimate of $357.2 million. The company roughly broke even on an earnings-per-share basis, while the Street had expected a loss of four cents a share.

But the food delivery company also said it planned to spend almost all of its potential profits in the second quarter “to drive more sales for restaurants and, to a lesser extent, policies and products to keep our restaurants, drivers, and diners safe.” Shares slumped about 12% Thursday in the wake of the earnings report.

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Teva’s CEO on Why the Generic Drugmaker Is Confident Despite Covid-19
Drugmakers have fallen into two categories this earnings season: those that maintained the revenue projections they set out early this year, and those that have cut those forecasts in light of the pandemic.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, the large manufacturer of generic drugs, joined the former group Thursday morning, sticking to its previously issued guidance of between $16.6 billion and $17 billion in revenue this year. Investors rewarded the company, sending Teva shares up nearly 10%. In an interview with Barron’s, CEO Kåre Schultz said Teva expects the Covid-19 pandemic to be a wash for its business.

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