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Kroger offering $2-per-hour bonus to all associates

1 min ago

Kroger Co. is raising associate pay by $2 per hour between March 29 and April 18. The premium, which the grocer is calling a "hero bonus," will be paid out each week "to ensure associates have access to additional cash." Kroger has previously given its staff a one-time bonus of $300 for full-time and $150 for part-time workers. Kroger has previously announced a number of measures to protect workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, including the installation of plexiglas partitions. The company has also recently added 30,000 new hires. Kroger stock has rallied 23% over the past year while the S&P 500 index has slumped nearly 10%.

The Dow's 30 stocks are all falling, led by Boeing's 6+% selloff

3 min ago

Shares of all 30 components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average are all falling in premarket trading Wednesday amid a broad stock market selloff, with Boeing Co.'s stock leading the way down by sinking 6.2%. Boeing's stock is starting the second quarter the way it ended the first quarter, in which it plummeted 54.2% to suffer its worst-ever quarterly performance. The stock's implied price decline ahead of Wednesday's open would shave about 63 points off the Dow's price, while Dow futures sank 727 points, or 3.3%. The next biggest loser was J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. shares , which shed 4.8%. Among the most active components, shares of Microsoft Corp. lost 2.7% and Apple Inc. gave up 2.6%. The best performer was Walmart Inc.'s stock , which declined just 1.0%.

Centene to cover cost of COVID-19 care for Medicare, Medicaid patients

22 min ago

Shares of Centene Corp. fell 3% in premarket trading on Wednesday after the company said it will cover the cost of COVID-19-related screening, testing, and for people who have its Medicare, Medicaid and health insurance exchange plans. It is also eliminating COVID-19-related copays and prior authorization requirements. A number of other health insurers have made similar announcements, including UnitedHealth Group easing prior authorization rules and Anthem Inc. has suspended prior authorization requirements and audit protocols. Humana Inc. has waived all consumer costs for COVID-19 treatments for its Medicare Advantage, fully insured commercial, Medicare Supplement and Medicaid plans. Year-to-date, Centene's stock is down 5.5%, while the S&P 500 has tumbled 20%.

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers draws down full $300 million credit facility, withdraws 2020 guidance

42 min ago

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc. said Wednesday that it has drawn down what remains of its $300 million credit facility. The restaurant chain has a cash balance of $91 million as of the end of its last fiscal week on March 29. The company has also suspended its guidance for 2020 and the long-term, reduced executive base salaries and board retainer fees by 20% as of March 30, and postponed capital expenditures. Red Robin is still marketing its off-premise business, largely through digital channels. Paul Murphy, Red Robin's chief executive, said in a statement the company's off-premise business, which includes takeout, has more then doubled in the past two weeks. Like other restaurants, dine-in has been suspended at Red Robin due to coronavirus. Red Robin stock has lost more than 70% of its value over the last year while the S&P 500 index is down nearly 10% for the period.

Gannett suspends dividend and negotiates with creditors, to cut jobs and executive salaries

53 min ago

USA Today-parent Gannett Co. Inc. said Wednesday it is suspending its quarterly dividend, in an effort to perserve liquidity during the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In late February, the media company said it planned to resume paying a quarterly dividend of 19 cents a share. The company said given the COVID-19 related disruptions, revenue is expected to be "significantly impacted" as advertising and events revenue are expected to decline. Gannett said it was looking to cut expenses by an additional $100 million to $125 million through job cuts and furloughs, "significant" pay reductions for senior management and the cancellation of non-essential travel and spending. The company is working with its vendors, creditors and pension regulators to restructure or postpone certain obligations. The stock, which was still inactive in premarket trading, has plummeted 76.8% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 has declined 20.0%.

Apache to double planned cost savings to $300 million

1 hour ago

Apache Corp. said Wednesday it is doubling its estimate for annual cost savings as the oil and gas exploration company takes further action to combat a declining oil price. Houston, Tx.-based Apache said it now expects to achieve annualized general and administrative cost cuts of more than $300 million, up from its original target of $150 million announced in October of 2019. About $225 million of that total includes severance and reorganization costs it expects to achieve in 2020. Shares were not yet active premarket but have fallen 84% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 has fallen 20%.

Express to furlough most store associates, cut costs, eliminate merit pay until stores reopen

1 hour ago

Fashion clothing retailer Express Inc. announced a fresh set of measures to combat the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday, saying it is furloughing most of its store workers as well as some corporate workers until its stores are able and allowed to reopen. The company said it is pausing pay for those workers but will continue to pay health care benefits. The company is significantly cutting costs and spending, is suspending merit pay increases for 2020 and freezing hiring. Shares were not active premarket, but have fallen 69% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 has fallen 20%.

BorgWarner still sees value in Delphi buyout but can't assure closure after Delphi's 'breach'

1 hour ago

BorgWarner Inc. said Wednesday it still sees long-term value in a proposed acquisition of Delphi Technologies PLC and continues to work toward closing the deal in the second half of 2020. The auto parts maker's disclosure comes after Delphi said Tuesday that it received notice from BorgWarner that drawing on its credit facility represented a material breach of the buyout agreement. Delphi said it was negotiating to resolve the matter, but BorgWarner said Wednesday that it can't assure a deal will close. Separately, BorgWarner said it approved a temporary 20% reduction in base salaries for its named executives through the second quarter of 2020, and has the ability to extend the reduction for an additional quarter. BorgWarner's stock has tumbled 43.8% over the past three months while Delphi shares have shed 37.3% and the S&P 500 has lost 20.0%.

British American Tobacco says it is working on a potential vaccine for COVID-19

1 hour ago

British American Tobacco said a subsidiary, Kentucky BioProcessing, is working on a potential COVID-19 vaccine. The company said it is using tobacco plant technology and pre-clinical testing is under way. KBP recently cloned a portion of COVID-19's genetic sequence and inserted the antigen into tobacco plants. British American Tobacco said its work around the COVID-19 vaccine project will be carried out on a not-for-profit basis, and if testing goes well, could produce between 1 and 3 million doses per week, beginning in June, with partners.

COVID-19 case tally: 862,234 cases, 42,404 deaths

1 hour ago

The number of cases of COVID-19 rose to 862,234 on Wednesday, while the number of deaths rose to 42,404 according to aggregated data from Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering's Centers for Systems Science and Engineering. About 178,836 people have recovered from the novel coronavirus that has sickened people in 180 countries. The U.S has the most number of cases worldwide, at 189,633, and 4,081 deaths. Italy has the second highest number of cases at 105,792 and at least 12,428 deaths. Spain takes third place with 95,923 cases and at least 8,464 deaths. Spain recorded 864 deaths from the virus on Wednesday, another daily record. China, where the virus was first detected in December, has 82,308 cases and 3,316 deaths. Germany has 71,808 cases and 775 deaths; France has 52,837 cases and at least 3,532 deaths. Iran has 44,605 cases and at least 2,898 deaths.

Papa John's upgraded to buy at MKM

1 hour ago

MKM Partners upgraded Papa John's Inc. stock to buy on Wednesday, and said pizza makers are better positioned than rivals during the coronavirus pandemic given their emphasis on and infrastructure for digital and delivery. Analyst Brett Levy cut his stock price target to $64 from $67, lowered his fair value estimate for Domino's Pizza to $340 from $350 and lowered his fair value estimate for Pizza Hut parent Yum Brands Inc. to $75 from $115. The upgrade of Papa John's is driven by evidence of same-store sales picking up ahead of structural changes to restaurant operations, the analyst wrote in a note to clients. ".. the market share gains in 1Q20 represented the first time in at least 5-years PZZA's domestic SSS outpaced DPZ's results; and 3) we believe management can further support its franchisees structurally or financially (the willingness to offer assistance in recent years is met by untapped credit facilities - leaving mgmt. with additional flexibility, if needed)," said the note. Papa John's shares were not active premarket, but have fallen 15% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 has fallen 20%.

Keros Therapeutics sets IPO terms, expects to raise up to $80 million

1 hour ago

Keros Therapeutics has set terms of its initial public offering, in which it expects to raise up to $80 million, and be valued at about $291 million. The biopharmaceutical company, which is developing treatments for hematological and musculoskeletal disorders, if offering 5 million shares for sale with the IPO expected to price between $14 and $16 a share. The stock is expected to be listed on the Nasdaq exchange under the ticker symbol "KROS." Jefferies, SVB Leerink and Piper Sandler are the joint book-running managers. The company recorded a net loss of $14.1 million on revenue of $10 million in 2019 after a loss of $2.3 million on revenue of $10 million in 2018. Keros is looking to go public at a time that the Renaissance IPO ETF has lost 15.3% over the past three months and the S&P 500 has dropped 20.0%.

Home Depot to close stores at 6 p.m., limit customers in stores and increased paid time off

1 hour ago

Home Depot Inc. announced Wednesday a number of new measures in an effort to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The home improvement retailer said it will close its stores early at 6 p.m., limit the number of customers allowed in its stores at one time, eliminate major spring promotions to avoid increasing traffic and distributing thermometers to employees in stores and asking for health checks before reporting to work. For its employees, the company said it was adding 80 hours of paid time off for full-time hourly employees, 160 hours of paid time off for full-time hourly employees aged 65 or older and 40 hours of paid time off for part-time hourly employees. The company is providing additional bonuses of $100 per week for full-time hourly in-store employees and $50 per week for part-time employees, and providing paid time off for employees who have contracted COVID-19 and to employees required to be quarantined. The stock, which is down 2.5% in premarket trading, has shed 14.5% over the past three months through Tuesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost 23.2%.

Eurozone manufacturing PMI slumps to 92-month low in March

3 hours ago

The IHS Markit eurozone manufacturing purchasing managers index fell in March to 44.5 from 49.2 in February. That's the lowest reading in 92 months but wasn't a surprise as the flash estimate was 44.8. Around Europe, Italy's manufacturing PMI fell to 40.3 from 48.7, that country's worst since April 2009, while Spain's fell to 45.7 from 50.4 and Greece's fell to 42.5. "Even the slide in the PMI to a seven-and-a-half year low masks the severity of the slump in manufacturing as it includes a measure of supply chain delays, which boosted the index," said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit.

U.K. banks fall sharply after halting dividends at Bank of England's request

4 hours ago

Shares of major U.K. banks fell sharply on Wednesday after several announced they would halt dividends for 2020 at the request of the Bank of England. Barclays PLC fell over 5% and shares of HSBC Holdings PLC tumbled 7% after those banks said they would suspend dividends. The Bank of England's deputy governor Sam Ross wrote to the heads of big U.K. banks asking them to suspend dividends to support the wider economy as it battles the coronavirus pandemic. Other U.K. banks also fell sharply, with Lloyds Banking Group PLC and Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC [S: uk:rbsa] fell 4% each as they also announced dividend halts.

European stocks open lower, U.S. equity futures fall amid grim coronavirus forecast

4 hours ago

European stocks opened sharply lower on Wednesday, with U.S. stock futures also under pressures after U.S. President Donald Trump warned of a "very painful" two weeks ahead in the country's coronavirus battle. Experts warned of a staggering 100,000 to 240,000 U.S. deaths even after adhering to social distancing guidelines. The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 2.3%, while Dow industrials futures fell over 600 points, or 2.8%. The first quarter marked the worst first quarter for the Dow and worst quarter European equities since 2002.

U.S. stock futures fall after grim coronavirus forecast

10 hours ago

U.S. stock index futures fell late Tuesday, indicating losses when the market opens to a new month Wednesday. As of 9:45 p.m. Eastern, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were down more than 260 points, or 1.2%, and S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 futures were also around down around 1%. Earlier in the day, the Dow closed down 410 points, closing out the first quarter down 14%, its worst quarterly performance since 1987. After the markets closed Tuesday, President Donald Trump warned the coming weeks would be "very painful," as the White House projected between 100,000 and 240,000 deaths from the coronavirus outbreak.

Madison Square Garden board approves sports and entertainment spinoff amid COVID-19 pandemic

11 hours ago

The Madison Square Garden Co. said late Tuesday that its board of directors had approved the spinoff of its sports and entertainment businesses. Madison Square Garden stock gained 1.7% during the extended session. The company said it expected the spinoff to completed in mid April. Madison Square Garden also said it was suspending construction of a venue in Las Vegas called MSG Sphere as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Madison Square Garden executive chairman James Dolan has tested positive for the coronavirus and is in self-isolation, according to the Associated Press.

Macy's to leave the S&P 500 index

13 hours ago

S&P Dow Jones Indices said late Tuesday retailer Macy's Inc. will join the S&P SmallCap 600 and Otis Worldwide Corp. and Carrier Global Corp. will join the S&P 500. As the merger between United Technologies Corp. and Raytheon Co. is expected to close on Friday, United Technologies will remain in the S&P 500 and S&P 100 indices under its new name, Raytheon Technologies Corp. , under the ticker symbol RTX. Otis Worldwide and Carrier will be added to the S&P 500 at the open on Friday, with Otis replacing Raytheon and Carrier replacing Macy's, S&P Dow Jones said. Macy's and Raytheon will be removed from the broader index at the open on Monday. "Macy's has a market capitalization more representative of the small-cap market space," S&P Dow Jones said. Macy's has a market capitalization around $1.5 billion, from about $7 billion a year ago. The stock has lost about 80% in the last 12 months, compared with losses around 10% for the S&P 500 . The company on Monday said it was furloughing most of its workers after losing most of its sales amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Xerox drops hostile-takeover bid of HP

14 hours ago

Xerox Holdings Corp. has dropped its five-month hostile bid to acquire larger rival HP Inc. because the COVID-19 health crisis undermined the copier maker's ability to pull off the debt-laden merger, the company said in statement Tuesday. "The current global health crisis and resulting macroeconomic and market turmoil caused by COVID-19 have created an environment that is not conducive to Xerox continuing to pursue an acquisition of HP Inc.," a company spokesperson said in an email. The more than $30 billion tender offer was highlighted by a proxy fight to replace the printer and PC maker's board. In a statement late Tuesday, HP reiterated it has a "healthy cash position and balance sheet that enable us to navigate unanticipated challenges such as the global pandemic now before us, while preserving strategic optionality for the future." Shares of Xerox and HP were flat in extended trading Tuesday.

Match Group expects quarterly results to be at 'low end' because of coronavirus pandemic

14 hours ago

Count Match Group Inc. among the latest companies laid low by the coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday, it said earnings will be at low end of guidance amid fewer new users. "We expect our Q1 results to be around the low end of the ranges we previously shared publicly," company Chief Executive Shar Dubey warned in an SEC filing. "Predicting the rest of the year at this point is premature given the uncertain overall impacts of the virus. We expect the virus's impact may make it challenging to grow revenue from Q1 to Q2 this year, although we currently believe we will have year-over-year Q2 revenue growth. We hope to provide a better sense of Q2 expectations and our outlook for the year on our next public earnings call [scheduled for May 6], along with an overall business update." Match Group shares are up 16.5% in the last year. The broader S&P 500 index is down 10% in the last year.

Fed's Mester sees some improvement in financial-market functioning

15 hours ago

Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester on Tuesday said that she has seen some improvement in financial market functioning in the wake of central bank intervention since earlier in the month. "They have improved in certain respects," Mester said, in an interview on CNBC. "We're still monitoring to make sure there aren't pockets that we will need to keep our eye on," she added.

Children's Place furloughs salespeople, halts dividend

15 hours ago

Children's Place Inc. said late Tuesday it will furlough field managers and store employees starting April 5 "until they can safely return to their positions" and will suspend dividend and share buybacks, among other measures to shore up its balance sheet amid the coronavirus pandemic. Stores have been closed since March 18 and will remain closed until further notice, the retailer said. The company said it plans on a combination of temporary furloughs and pay cuts for most of its corporate staff. It said it will provide health benefits to furloughed sales associates, without specifying a timeframe. Chief Executive Jane Elfers will forgo her salary and executives will take a temporary 25% pay cut, the company said. The Children's Place is also cutting or deferring expenses and capital expenditures, working with vendors to extend payment terms, and triggering a feature on its revolving credit facility to get an additional $50 million in liquidity, it said. It is also "evaluating its options" on about 600 store leases up over the next 12 months, it said. "The company believes these actions ... will support the company in navigating through this unprecedented level of uncertainty and disruption," it said in a statement. As of Feb. 1, the company operated 924 stores in the U.S. and Canada plus its online store and international points of distribution. Shares of Children's Place were flat in the extended session Tuesday after ending the regular trading day up 1.5%.

API data reveal a weekly climb of over 10 million barrels in U.S. crude supplies, sources say

15 hours ago

The American Petroleum Institute reported late Tuesday that U.S. crude supplies rose by 10.5 million barrels for the week ended March 27, according to sources. The API data also reportedly showed gasoline stockpiles up by 6.1 million barrels, while distillate inventories declined by nearly 4.5 million barrels. Inventory data from the Energy Information Administration will be released Wednesday. The EIA data are expected to show crude inventories rose by 4.6 million barrels last week, according to analysts polled by S&P Global Platts. They also forecast a supply rise of 3.6 million barrels for gasoline, while distillates stocks are seen down by 600,000 barrels. May West Texas Intermediate crude was at $20.17 a barrel in electronic trading, down from its settlement at $20.48 Tuesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Blackberry swings to quarterly loss, misses sales views

15 hours ago

Blackberry Ltd. swung to a fourth-quarter loss and reported quarterly sales below Wall Street expectations on Tuesday. Blackberry said it lost $41 million, or 7 cents a share, in the quarter, versus a profit of $51 million, or 8 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted for one-time items, the company earned 9 cents a share. Revenue rose 11% to $282 million, the company said. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected adjusted EPS of 5 cents a share on sales of $399 million for the quarter. Shares of Blackberry ended the regular trading day up 4.2%.

Verint shares fall after revenue miss

15 hours ago

Verint Systems Inc. shares plunged 7.3% in the extended session Tuesday after the company reported fourth-quarter revenue below consensus estimates. The company reported fourth-quarter net income of $4.9 million, or 7 cents a share, compared with $27.3 million, or 41 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted for items such as stock-based compensation, earnings were $1.11 a share. Revenue rose to $339.2 million from $330.2 million in the year-ago period. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had estimated adjusted earnings of $1.16 a share on revenue of $374.4 million. For the first quarter, analysts model earnings earnings of 79 cents a share and revenue of $339.3 million. The company said it was not providing first-quarter guidance because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Verint stock fell 28% in the past year, as the S&P 500 index dropped 7.3%.

Stocks end lower as Dow suffers biggest quarterly loss since 1987

15 hours ago

Stocks ended lower Tuesday, capping a brutal quarter that saw the global COVID-19 pandemic trigger a historic market selloff. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped around 410 points, or 1.8%, to end near 21,917, according to preliminary figures. The blue-chip gauge fell 23.2% over the first three months of the year, its worst first-quarter performance on record and biggest overall quarterly decline since the fourth quarter of 1987. The S&P 500 dropped around 42 points, or 1.6%, to close near 2,585, leaving it with a 20% quarterly fall. The Nasdaq Composite dropped around 74 points, or 1%, to finish near 7,732. It saw a quarterly drop of around 14%.

Tyson Foods to pay $500 bonus to employees, truckers for working through coronavirus pandemic

15 hours ago

Tyson Foods Inc. said late Tuesday it will pay about $60 million in bonuses to 116,000 employees and truckers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible employees are to receive a $500 bonus, payable during the first week of July, the food producer said. Tyson recently adjusted its attendance policy to "encourage" employees to stay at home if they have symptoms of COVID-19 infection and is taking "additional precautionary measures" at its factories, it said. "Our team members are leading the charge to continue providing food to the nation," White said. "The bonuses are another way we can say 'thank you' for their efforts." Tyson said it has restricted visitor access to its facilities and is offering protective face coverings for production workers who request them. The company did not detail which employees would be eligible to receive the bonus.

ESPN's Michael Jordan series 'The Last Dance' to debut April 19

15 hours ago

Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN, deprived of live sports because of the coronavirus pandemic, plans to fill a chunk of its schedule with one of its most ambitious endeavors. "The Last Dance," its 10-part documentary series on Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls' quest for a sixth championship in 1998, will air over five Sunday nights in the U.S., from April 19-May 17, ESPN said in a statement on Tuesday. The series will be available outside of the U.S. on Netflix Inc. . The documentary, originally scheduled to air in June, has been pushed up as sports broadcasters struggle to fill air time with the NBA, MLB, NHL, and other sports sidelined because of the health crisis.

3M says it continues to see counterfeit, overpriced masks being sold

16 hours ago

3M Co. on Tuesday said it was working with authorities worldwide and e-commerce marketplaces to curb price gouging, fraud, and the selling of counterfeit masks and its other healthcare supplies used to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. "3M has received reports of people fraudulently representing themselves as being affiliated with 3M, selling 3M products at grossly inflated prices, selling counterfeit products falsely claimed to be from 3M and falsely claiming to manufacture 3M products," the company said in a statement. "We are working with law enforcement authorities around the world on this matter, including federal, state, and local authorities in the U.S." In addition, e-marketplace operators and 3M are coordinating efforts to remove the false or price-gouging listings from their site, the company said. The company has created a hotline to call for information on how to help identify authentic 3M products and to ensure products are from 3M authorized distributors. The number in the U.S. and Canada is 800-426-8688. 3M also said its has doubled its global output of N95 respirator masks, in high demand worldwide, to an annual rate of more than 1.1 billion, or about 100 million per month. Also see: Biggest maker of medical face masks in U.S. is warning of an outbreak ... of fraud