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05/30/2020 12:00 AM
Every Single Worker Has Covid at One U.S. Farm on Eve of Harvest

Every Single Worker Has Covid at One U.S. Farm on Eve of Harvest(Bloomberg) -- One farm in Tennessee distributed Covid-19 tests to all of its workers after an employee came down with the virus. It turned out that every single one of its roughly 200 employees had been infected.In New Jersey, more than 50 workers had the virus at a farm in Gloucester County, adding to nearly 60 who fell ill in neighboring Salem County. Washington state’s Yakima County, an agricultural area that produces apples, cherries, pears and most of the nation’s hops, has the highest per capita infection rate of any county on the West Coast.The outbreaks underscore the latest pandemic threat to food supply: Farm workers are getting sick and spreading the illness just as the U.S. heads into the peak of the summer produce season. In all likelihood, the cases will keep climbing as more than half a million seasonal employees crowd onto buses to move among farms across the country and get housed together in cramped bunkhouse-style dormitories.The early outbreaks are already starting to draw comparisons to the infections that plunged the U.S. meat industry into crisis over the past few months. Analysts and experts are warning that thousands of farm workers are vulnerable to contracting the disease.Aside from the most immediate concern -- the grave danger that farmhands face -- the outbreaks could also create labor shortages at the worst possible time. Produce crops such as berries have a short life span, with only a couple of weeks during which they can be harvested. If a farm doesn’t have enough workers to collect crops in that window, they’re done for the season and the fruit will rot. A spike in virus cases among workers may mean shortages of some fruits and vegetables at the grocery store, along with higher prices.“We’re watching very, very nervously -- the agricultural harvest season is only starting now,” said Michael Dale, executive director of the Northwest Workers’ Justice Project in Portland, Oregon, and a lawyer who has represented farm workers for 40 years. “I don’t think we’re ready. I don’t think we’re prepared.”Unlike grain crops that rely on machinery, America’s fruits and vegetables are mostly picked and packed by hand, in long shifts out in the open -- a typically undesirable job in major economies. So the position typically goes to immigrants, who make up about three quarters of U.S. farm workers.A workforce of seasonal migrants travels across the nation, following harvest patterns. Most come from Mexico and Latin America through key entry points like southern California, and go further by bus, often for hours, sometimes for days.There are as many as 2.7 million hired farm workers in the U.S., including migrant, seasonal, year-round and guest-program workers, according to the Migrant Clinicians Network. While many migrants have their permanent residence in the U.S., moving from location to location during the warmer months, others enter through the federal H2A visa program. Still, roughly half of hired crop farmworkers lack legal immigration status, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.These are some of the most vulnerable populations in the U.S., subjected to tough working conditions for little pay and meager benefits. Most don’t have access to adequate health care. Many don’t speak English.Without them, it would be nearly impossible to keep America’s produce aisles filled. And yet, there’s no one collecting national numbers on how many are falling sick.“There is woefully inadequate surveillance of what’s happening with Covid-19 and farm workers,” said Erik Nicholson, a national vice president for the United Farm Workers. “There is no central reporting, which is crazy because these are essential businesses.”At Henderson Farms in Evensville, Tennessee, where all the workers caught the virus, the employees are now all in isolation at the farm, where they live and work.“We take our responsibility to protect the essential workers feeding the nation through the pandemic seriously,” Henderson Farms Co. said in a statement. “In addition to continuing our policy of providing free healthcare, we have implemented additional measures to support workers directly impacted by Covid-19, including those in isolation as per the latest public health guidelines. We are working closely with public health officials in Rhea County, Tennessee, to ensure we can continue to deliver our high standard of care as we support our workers and our community through these unprecedented times.”One migrant worker from Mexico said seven employees at the Georgia produce farm where he works had fallen ill with the virus. The sick were asked to quarantine in a dormitory unpaid, but others who share the sleeping quarters, full of bunk beds about 3 feet (1 meter) apart, were still going into the fields, he said. He said he was afraid of getting infected, which would mean he wouldn’t be able to send money back to his family.Critical MonthsMay and June mark the start of a critical few months when migrant workers head to fields in North America and Europe to plant and gather crops. Travel restrictions amid the pandemic are already creating a labor squeeze. In Russia, the government is calling on convicts and students to fill in the labor gap on berry and vegetable farms. In the U.K., Prince Charles took to Twitter to encourage residents to PickForBritain. Farmers in western Europe usually rely on seasonal workers from eastern Europe or northern Africa.In Canada, migrant workers often come from Jamaica, Guatemala and Mexico. They’re typically housed on farms, with two or four people sharing a room, depending on if there are bunk-beds, said Colin Chapdelaine, president of BC Hot House, a greenhouse farming company that grow tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers in Surrey, British Columbia.All the houses are audited and approved by regulators with guidelines for how much kitchen and bathroom space to provide, but “Covid has kind of turned that on its head,” he said.“It’s a precarious situation if something happens and it flows through a greenhouse and you can’t pick your crop,” Chapdelaine said. “We’re taking huge precautions to make sure everyone comes in suited and masked up. You have to do all the right things and still hope for the best.”In the U.S., migrant farm workers primarily come from Mexico and Latin America.President Donald Trump has sought to maintain the flow of foreign workers to U.S. farms during the pandemic, waiving interview requirements for some guest workers when consular offices shut down and exempting them from a temporary immigration ban. But so far, the administration hasn’t created rules to protect the workers. Democratic Representative Jimmy Panetta of California and 71 other members of Congress urged in a letter last week that the next coronavirus relief package include funding dedicated to combating spread of the virus among farm workers.Even before infections started to creep up, there weren’t enough workers, causing harvest issues in parts of the U.S. Some prices started to move up. A 2-pound package of strawberries is fetching about 17% more than it was last year, and a pint of cherry tomatoes is 52% higher, USDA data as of May 22 show.So far, though, the price impact has been limited. As restaurants shuttered during virus lockdowns, many farmers lost a key source of produce demand, creating some supply gluts.Now, stay-at-home restrictions are easing in all 50 states, and some restaurants are opening back up. Meanwhile, labor shortages could get worse as illness among farm workers deepens.“The cost will go up, and there will be a little bit less available,” said Kevin Kenny, chief operating officer of Decernis, an expert in global food safety and supply chains. “You really will see some supply issues coming.”Perishable crops that require more hands on labor to pick are the most at-risk of disruptions, including olives and oranges, Kenny said.In Florida, oranges are “literally dying on the vines” as not enough migrants can get into the country to pick the crops and things like processed juice will probably cost more in the coming months, he said.When the virus spread among America’s meat workers, plants were forced to shutter as infections rates topped 50% in some facilities. Prices surged, with wholesale beef and pork more than doubling, and grocers including Kroger Co. and Costco Wholesale Corp. rationed customer purchases. Even Wendy’s Co. dropped burgers from some menus. After an executive order from Trump, plants have reopened, but worker absenteeism is restraining output. Hog and cattle slaughter rates are still down more than 10% from last year.The produce industry could see similar problems because workers face some of the same issues. They sometimes work shoulder to shoulder. They are transported to and from job sites in crowded buses or vans. They often come from low-income families and can’t afford to call in sick or are afraid of losing their jobs, so they end up showing up to work even if they have symptoms.“A lot of people are concerned that the summer for farm workers will be like the spring for meat packers,” said David Seligman, director of Towards Justice, a nonprofit law firm and advocacy organization based in Denver.There’s “a lot of worker fear because of the asymmetry of power in this industry,” Seligman said. “We’re hearing anecdotal reports. Gathering information about farm workers is very hard because of how scared and how isolated they are.”There are some key differences between the two industries. For one, farm workers spend most of their time outside, and some research has shown that the virus is less likely to be spread outdoors. Meanwhile, meat workers are piled into cold, damp factories where infectious diseases are particularly hard to control.In other ways, farm workers are more exposed. Living conditions can be even more cramped, with close-together bunks and communal cooking and bathroom facilities that make physical distancing extremely difficult.Plus, the workers move around so much, meaning increased chances of exposure for themselves and more chances that sick individuals can spread the illness to other communities.In Oregon, a farm worker often may move a half dozen times during the summer, working for new growers and housed in new labor camps as they shift from harvesting cherries to strawberries to blueberries to pears, said Dale of the Northwest Workers’ Justice Project.Nely Rodriguez is a former farm worker who is now an organizer with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers in Immokalee, Florida, a major tomato growing area. She said that some farms are taking steps to protect migrants, such as having buses make more trips so workers won’t be as cramped and requiring them to wear masks, as well as providing more hand-washing stations and sanitizer.Lisa Lochridge, a spokeswoman for the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, also pointed to increased measures to protect workers and said some employers even set aside separate housing to be used for a quarantine area if necessary. Cory Lunde, of the Western Growers Association, said farm owners are staggering start times, disinfecting buses and increasing distances between workers, both in the field and in packing facilities and offices.But protection measures can be spotty, said Rodriguez of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. There aren’t yet any farm specific Covid-19 safety protocols from the federal government.Developing GuidanceThe USDA is “diligently working” with the the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration “to develop guidance that will assist farmworkers and employers during this time,” the agency said in an emailed statement.“Additionally, considering the seasonal and migratory nature of the workforce, we are working to identify housing resources that may be available to help control any spread of Covid-19,” the USDA said.Harvests take place at different times across the country, depending on the weather and the crop. That means when gathering finishes in an early state like Florida, workers will travel into areas such as Georgia, North Carolina, Indiana and New Jersey, said Rodriguez of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. They’ll often make the journey on old school buses rented by employers, sitting for 7 or 8 hours at a time with 45 people crammed in.“If there is a bunch of farm workers here that are sick, they can essentially spread this virus to other rural communities,” Rodriguez said.Many farm workers come from indigenous communities in southern Mexico and don’t speak English or Spanish as their first language, so they don’t have adequate information on the pandemic in a language they can understand, said Bruce Goldstein, president of Farmworker Justice, a national advocacy group.They typically don’t have easy access to coronavirus tests, and many are undocumented so they are concerned about reporting illnesses, he said.“They’re marginalized in Mexico. They’re similarly marginalized here,” Goldstein said. “People like that are incredibly vulnerable to Covid-19.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

05/29/2020 05:35 PM
Coty Shares Tumble After Forbes Questions Kylie Jenner’s Wealth

05/31/2020 06:44 AM
Beyond Meat Teams Up With KFC, Pizza Hut In China

Beyond Meat Teams Up With KFC, Pizza Hut In ChinaBeyond Meat (BYND) is partnering up with fast-food chains Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and Pizza Hut to expand the reach of its famous plant-based beef in China.The news sent shares up 6.2% on Friday. According to social media site Weibo, the plant-based meat pioneer will be rolling out its products with KFC from June. The partnership with Pizza Hut is slated to start in the coming week. No further details were announced.“We’re proud to expand our partnership with KFC into China, one of their largest markets worldwide, as well as introduce a new partnership with Pizza Hut in China,” a Beyond Meat spokesperson said in an e-mail response to Bloomberg. "We'll be sharing more details soon."Back in April, Beyond Meat made the foray into the market in China announcing a partnership with Starbucks (SBUX). The coffee chain operator is offering a new menu to Chinese customers featuring the company’s ‘beef’ in pastas and lasagna, as well as non-dairy milk and fake pork products.During the same month, Yum China’s KFC also announced that it will begin its first Chinese trial of a plant-based version of its popular fried chicken. According to the company’s Weibo page, U.S. agribusiness Cargill Ltd will supply the nuggets.Beyond Meat’s expansion plans have fueled its share price to more than double since March 18. The stock traded at $128.29 as of Friday. Following the impressive rally, the $90.64 average analyst price target now indicates 29% downside potential from current levels. (See Beyond Meat stock analysis on TipRanks)However, one of the analysts sees more gains in the offing for Beyond Meat’s stock. Five-star analyst Peter Saleh, on May 19 initiated the stock with a Buy rating and $173 price target, reflecting 35% upside potential over the coming year, citing strong sales growth in coming years.“The company’s stated goal is to tackle the $1.4 trillion global meat industry,” Saleh wrote in a note to investors, adding that about $270 billion of that is spent in the U.S. “The adoption of Beyond’s products by mainstream customers in the suburbs will be the key to long-term success. We expect the company to expand into other protein categories including poultry to help broaden its appeal.”The analyst forecasts sales to grow 56% in 2020 and 51% in 2021.The rest of Wall Street analysts remain sidelined on Beyond Meat’s stock right now. The Hold analyst consensus is divided into 5 Hold, 5 Sell and 4 Buy ratings.Related News: Hormel Stock Rises After It Reports Record Sales Papa John’s U.S. Pizza Sales Jump 33.5%; Shares Pop 7% In Pre-Market Uber In Partnership With MoneyGram For Driver Discount During Pandemic More recent articles from Smarter Analyst: * China’s Tencent In Talks To Buy $200 Million Stake In Warner Music - Report * Quest’s Covid-19 Self-Collection Test Kit Gets FDA Nod For Emergency Use * Minerva Shares Tank 72% As Schizophrenia Drug Misses Trial Goals * American Airlines Plans To Cut 30% Of Its Management Staff

05/30/2020 10:36 AM
Germany Reaches EU Deal on $9.9 Billion Lufthansa Bailout

Germany Reaches EU Deal on $9.9 Billion Lufthansa Bailout(Bloomberg) -- The German government worked out its differences with the European Commission over a 9 billion-euro ($9.9 billion) bailout of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, clearing the way for the rescue of Europe’s biggest airline to move forward.After intense talks, the commission and the German government agreed that Lufthansa will reduce its presence at airports in Frankfurt and Munich by four aircraft each. The accord, which the airline’s management said it would accept, would give a toehold to new competitors hoping to challenge the dominant German carrier on its home turf.The compromise settles a high-stakes showdown that played out over the past week, pitting the European Union’s most powerful member state against the regulator tasked with ensuring fairness in the bailout process. The economic damage of the coronavirus crisis has unleashed an unprecedented gusher of state aid, led by Germany’s 600 billion-euro ($666 billion) effort to shore up its economy.With Lufthansa’s future in the balance, Germany on Monday offered the carrier a package of loans and equity investment to keep it aloft. But after the EU demanded it give up slots, the airline’s supervisory board unexpectedly held off on accepting this lifeline -- throwing the rescue plan into turmoil after weeks of talks. Ultimately, the EU pared back some of its demands.“There will be worries for Lufthansa about other airlines moving in, but the slot rules would seem to limit the threat,” said John Strickland, director of JLS Consulting in London, who has held senior positions at British Airways and KLM.The EU conditions kick in when airports become congested again, at which point Lufthansa will have to surrender as many as 24 takeoff-and-landing slots at Munich and the same at Frankfurt -- enough for a competitor to base four planes at both airports, each making three daily round-trips.Assessing the DealThere are significant catches, however, that suggest the strongest potential beneficiaries, such as Ryanair Holdings Plc -- a loud critic of the Lufthansa aid -- won’t be able to fully take advantage of the slots.For the first 18 months, for example, the capacity is reserved for new competitors in Frankfurt and Munich. With the global airline industry in retreat, the likelihood of a fresh entrant may be limited.The EU is comfortable with the deal, having overshot in its initial demands in anticipation of a compromise, according to a person familiar with the matter. It’s not certain the remedy will be taken up, but regulators didn’t have time to test the interest, the person said, asking not to be identified on a confidential matter.The commitments will “enable a viable entry or expansion of activities by other airlines at these airports to the benefit of consumers and effective competition,” the EU said in an emailed statement.Talks with the EU over other aspects of the deal will continue, a spokeswoman for Germany’s economy ministry said.The agreement would then require approval of Lufthansa’s supervisory board, followed by a formal signoff by the EU, which polices state aid to ensure one country doesn’t give its companies an unfair advantage.The bloc’s regulators will assess the German aid package “as a matter of priority,” the EU said Saturday.Ryanair, WizzDiscount operators are the most likely to show interest in the new capacity, Strickland said. If the slots had become available before the coronavirus, Lufthansa “would have been concerned about long-haul rivals -- Gulf carriers say -- but that’s really gone now with markets so weak.”Of the two main European discounters, Dublin-based Ryanair already has slots at Frankfurt’s main airport. U.K.-based Easyjet Plc has a presence in Munich. At least initially, each would be unable to use the new capacity in the location where it’s already planted a flag.Another growing low-cost carrier, Wizz Air Holdings Plc, recently pulled out of Frankfurt. In an interview, Chief Executive Officer Jozsef Varadi called the bailout “market distorting,” and said the slots don’t come close to balancing out the amount of aid Lufthansa is getting.He said he’ll consider the capacity on offer, but cautioned it will depend on details including costs, which are higher for point-to-point operators like Wizz because of transfer discounts granted in Frankfurt.“We need to look at whether there is any way of taking advantage of this,” Varadi said. “We need to know more about the process of applying for the slots and what the conditions are, and also what slot pairs we are talking about, the time of day, the rotations.”The slot pairs will be allocated in a bidding process, Lufthansa said, and only be available to European carriers that haven’t received substantial state recapitalization due to the coronavirus pandemic.Market PowerThe supervisory board’s rejection of the initial rescue proposal had triggered an open dispute between the German government and the EU commission, revealing the political tensions underpinning the effort to stabilize Lufthansa in the midst of a historic collapse in travel.The labor-heavy supervisory board saw a threat that jobs would be lost and the market would shift toward the discount airlines, which pay their personnel less.Still, all sides were seeking a breakthrough. Even before the compromise, the board had called the bailout “the only viable alternative for maintaining solvency.”Read more:Vestager Defends Tough Stance on Lufthansa Amid Jobs WarningBailout-or-Bust Dilemma Forces Lufthansa to Call in State RescueMerkel Is Seizing Her Chance to Revolutionize Germany’s Economy“Lufthansa is indeed a very impressive company and they have market power,” EU competition watchdog Margrethe Vestager told reporters in Brussels on Friday. “There is a high risk that if you hold market power” that “competition will be disturbed,” especially when state recapitalizations strengthen a company.The supervisory board wasn’t planning to meet this weekend, but could be called to do so at short notice, people familiar with the matter have said. It may meet on Monday, German newspaper Handelsblatt reported.Shareholder VoteLufthansa’s shareholders would also be called to vote on a proposed capital increase that’s part of the rescue plan at an extraordinary general meeting, most likely toward the end of June, meaning it could be weeks before Lufthansa receives government cash.Like airlines across the world, Lufthansa is fighting for survival as the coronavirus crisis punctures a decades-long aviation boom. The company, which connects Germany’s industrial titans to far-flung export markets, plans to operate fewer aircraft when flights resume and is closing discount arm Germanwings to prepare for what could be years of depressed demand.Lufthansa is also poised to receive some 2 billion euros in aid from Austria, Belgium and Switzerland, where the airline owns units.The German package represents the biggest corporate rescue in the country during the pandemic crisis. It’s also the only one that involves a direct investment by German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government, but more may be coming. The government set up a 100 billion-euro fund to buy stakes in stricken companies as part of its effort to stabilize Europe’s largest economy.(Updates with consultant’s comments in fifth paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

05/31/2020 08:20 AM
Barron's Picks And Pans: Cheniere Energy, Delta Air Lines, Extended Stay And More

Barron's Picks And Pans: Cheniere Energy, Delta Air Lines, Extended Stay And More* This weekend's Barron's cover story offers some stocks poised to rebound as the economy reopens. * Other featured articles look at why now is a good time to buy insurance stocks, and who wins as Americans take to the roads again. * Also, the prospects for a senior-living stock, cruise and hotel stocks with a difference, and more.Cover story "7 Travel Stocks Set for Success as Lockdowns End" by Avi Salzman shows why, despite the recession, Americans are about to hit the road. Now is the time to find deals in the likes of Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE: DAL) and Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE: LVS).Avi Salzman's "A Senior-Living Stock That Should Age Well" suggests that with manageable debt and a seemingly safe dividend, Caretrust REIT Inc (NASDAQ: CTRE) looks like a standout in a corner of the real estate industry that has growth potential.In "Yes, Now Is a Good Time to Buy Insurance Stocks," Al Root points out that shares of property and casualty insurers such as Hartford Financial Services Group Inc (NYSE: HIG) typically rally after catastrophic events as the industry raises its rates.Lindblad Expeditions Holdings Inc (NASDAQ: LIND) not only has a loyal and relatively wealthy customer base, but it faces lighter logistical challenges than its bigger cruise line rivals. So says "Why This Small, Elite Cruise Operator Could Weather the Coronavirus Storm" by Alexandra Scaggs.In Daren Fonda's "3 Airline Stocks That Can Benefit From a Pickup in Domestic Travel," see why Americans are more likely to book domestic, short-haul leisure trips, rather than business and international flights. What does that mean for Southwest Airlines Co (NYSE: LUV) and others?See Also: 'Price Is Truth': Analyzing Stock Chart Performance Using Technicals"Hotel Stocks Have Been Hit Hard. Why Extended Stay Is Different" by Carleton English examines why, unlike other hotel chains, Extended Stay America Inc (NASDAQ: STAY), has not had to make radical changes to its operations.Driving is rebounding as the economy reopens and Americans take to their cars, according to Andrew Bary's "Americans Are Getting Back on the Road. 3 Stocks to Buy." That looks bullish for Marathon Petroleum Corp (NYSE: MPC) and others.In "Buy This Energy Company. It Raised Its Dividend Twice This Year," Avi Salzman discusses why, thanks to long-term contracts for liquefied natural gas, Cheniere Energy Partners LP (NYSE: CQP) offers safety that is unusual for such a challenged sector.Also in this week's Barron's: * Concerns arising from the president's feud with Twitter * Why the U.S. probably will prevail over China in the long run * Why NASA would be a huge aerospace player as a stock * The most dangerous sectors for dividend investorsSee more from Benzinga * Notable Insider Buys: Avis, Dynavax And Formula One * Benzinga's Bulls And Bears Of The Week: Amazon, Disney, Netflix And More * Notable Insider Buys This Past Week: Berkshire Hathaway, Sysco And More(C) 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

05/30/2020 02:31 PM
24 Hour Fitness reportedly preparing for bankruptcy filing

24 Hour Fitness reportedly preparing for bankruptcy filing24 Hour Fitness Worldwide is reportedly preparing to file for bankruptcy, as retailers and other companies navigate the coronavirus pandemic.

05/29/2020 08:44 PM
Minneapolis Stores Set on Fire After Death of George Floyd

Minneapolis Stores Set on Fire After Death of George FloydMay.29 -- Aerial footage shows stores set on fire during protests over the death of African American George Floyd while in police custody.

05/30/2020 12:07 PM
Hedge Funds Aren’t Done Buying Shopify Inc (SHOP)

Hedge Funds Aren’t Done Buying Shopify Inc (SHOP)In this article we will take a look at whether hedge funds think Shopify Inc (NYSE:SHOP) is a good investment right now. We check hedge fund and billionaire investor sentiment before delving into hours of research. Hedge funds spend millions of dollars on Ivy League graduates, unconventional data sources, expert networks, and get tips from […]

05/31/2020 07:00 AM
Negative interest rates: What they are, how they work and whether they are coming to the U.S.

05/29/2020 04:20 PM
United Airlines cutting 13 top jobs, adding international flights in July

United Airlines cutting 13 top jobs, adding international flights in JulyChicago-based United said it is increasing trans-Atlantic service from Washington, D.C. and San Francisco to cities across Europe in July thanks to a modest rise in demand, and re-starting service to Tokyo-Haneda, Hong Kong, Singapore and Seoul.

05/31/2020 11:23 AM
Amazon Shuts Hubs Near Protests; Target Closes More Stores

Amazon Shuts Hubs Near Protests; Target Closes More Stores(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. is scaling back deliveries and adjusting routes in a small number of cities including Chicago, Los Angeles and Portland, and Target Corp. is extending store closures nationwide after the death of George Floyd sparked demonstrations across the country.“We are monitoring the situation closely and in a handful of cities we adjusted routes or scaled back typical operations to ensure the safety of our teams,” an Amazon spokeswoman told Bloomberg News.Amazon’s action shows how protests around the country are complicating operations for the e-commerce giant, which has been one of the few consumer-facing companies to benefit during the coronavirus pandemic. Target has been trying to build its online sales business, but retains a heavy bricks-and-mortar presence.Based in Minneapolis where Floyd died in police custody, Target had already closed 32 stores in the area. On Sunday, it said it was closing dozens more around the nation, at least temporarily.“We are a community in pain,” Chief Executive Officer Brian Cornell said in a statement shortly after Floyd’s death. “That pain is not unique to the Twin Cities -- it extends across America.”In Chicago and Los Angeles, Amazon delivery drivers received messages Saturday night that said: “If you are currently out delivering packages, stop immediately and return home. If you have not completed your route, please return undelivered packages to the pick-up location whenever you’re able to do so.”Amazon was “in close contact with local officials and will continue to monitor the protests,” and would only re-open delivery stations when it’s safe and will plan delivery routes by monitoring demonstrations in every zip code, according to messages reviewed by Bloomberg.(Adds Target from first paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

05/29/2020 04:31 PM
Market Recap: Friday, May 29

Market Recap: Friday, May 29Stocks closed at their highest levels since at least March, ending Friday’s volatile session mostly higher after President Donald Trump announced retaliatory measures against China that were less negative for markets as some had feared. Myles Udland, Sean Smith, Rick Newman, and Akiko Fujita discuss on The Final Round.

05/30/2020 11:59 AM
Hedge Funds Are Betting On Newmont Corporation (NEM)

Hedge Funds Are Betting On Newmont Corporation (NEM)In this article we will take a look at whether hedge funds think Newmont Corporation (NYSE:NEM) is a good investment right now. We check hedge fund and billionaire investor sentiment before delving into hours of research. Hedge funds spend millions of dollars on Ivy League graduates, unconventional data sources, expert networks, and get tips from […]

05/29/2020 04:54 PM
Occidental Cuts Dividend to a Penny With Debt Woes Mounting

Occidental Cuts Dividend to a Penny With Debt Woes Mounting(Bloomberg) -- Occidental Petroleum Corp. cut its quarterly dividend by 91% to the lowest since at least the 1970s amid the pandemic-driven collapse in energy demand that has strained the oil explorer’s ability to shoulder its debt.Occidental shareholders will receive a penny per share on July 15, the Houston-based company said in a statement Friday. The move extends a cut announced in March when it trimmed the payout to 11 cents from 79 cents.The surprise cut came the same day under-fire Chief Executive Vicki Hollub and the rest of the board of directors won re-election at Occidental’s annual shareholders’ meeting. The company will announce the final vote tallies in a regulatory filing later.Hollub has weathered extreme pressure from shareholders ever since outbidding Chevron Corp. to win the purchase of Anadarko Petroleum Corp. last year. The deal saddled Occidental with some $40 billion of debt that was looking hard to pay off even before Covid-19 wiped out global oil demand, sending crude prices plunging to an unprecedented minus $40 a barrel at one point last month.The benchmark U.S. oil price rebounded 88% in May to close the month above $35 a barrel, but it’s still 44% down from its high point in January and below a level that would ensure healthy cash flow for most producers.The dividend reduction will save Occidental about $360 million a year, but it’s a drop in the ocean compared to the wall of debt due over the coming years. The company probably kept a token payout to avoid mandatory selling of the stock by dividend funds and to signal that it aims to restock the stipend at some point in the future, according to Leo Mariani, an analyst at KeyBanc Capital Markets.“They need that extra money at $35 a barrel oil, so it’s the right move,” Mariani said by phone. “They’ve got to do whatever they can to survive.”What Bloomberg Intelligence SaysAlready reeling from elevated debt, a weak fundamental backdrop and investors disgruntled by the Anadarko deal, Occidental doesn’t have many near-term positives we can speak to.\-- Vincent G. Piazza and Evan Lee, analystsRead the full report here.The company’s primary focus is on “maximizing liquidity and reducing debt,” Hollub said at the annual meeting, held virtually on Friday. The company has gone from being a steady, diversified oil producer to a debt-laden, shale-focused driller that now has a market value of just $11.7 billion, less than a third of the price it paid for Anadarko. Its credit rating was downgraded to junk in March.The stock dropped 5.1% to $12.95 in New York on a day when West Texas Intermediate oil futures jumped more than 5%.Hollub fended off a shareholder revolt by making peace with the company’s second-largest shareholder, billionaire Carl Icahn, ending a nine-month public battle that included personal barbs against the CEO. However, it came at a cost. Hollub and her fellow directors agreed to cede some control by putting nominees of the activist investor on the board.(Updates with analyst’s comment from sixth paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

05/31/2020 01:02 PM
Jobs report, ISM manufacturing: What to know in the week ahead

Jobs report, ISM manufacturing: What to know in the week aheadIt will be a big week for U.S. economic data with the release of the May jobs report and the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index.

05/29/2020 05:36 PM
Saudi Arabia Moved $40 Billion in Reserves to Sovereign Fund

Saudi Arabia Moved $40 Billion in Reserves to Sovereign Fund(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia transferred 150 billion riyals ($40 billion) from its central bank to its sovereign wealth fund as it went on an investment spree seeking to take advantage of recent market turmoil.The transfers from the kingdom’s foreign-currency reserves to its Public Investment Fund were made in March and April on an “exceptional” basis, and will “strengthen the investment capacity of the fund,” Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan said in a statement published by the official Saudi Press Agency on Friday.The move comes as the world’s largest crude exporter faces exceptional fiscal pressure from a crash in global oil markets. Al-Jadaan said the central bank transfer contributed to a historic drop in Saudi Arabia’s net foreign assets, which fell at the fastest rate in two decades in March, and will also have an impact on April’s central bank data, expected to be released on Sunday.“This procedure was taken after comprehensive study and taking into consideration the sufficient level for foreign-currency reserves,” Al-Jadaan said. The PIF has an “important role in diversifying and strengthening economic growth,” he said, noting that the fund’s investment returns “will be available to support public finances if needed.”A regulatory filing earlier this month showed that the sovereign fund has spent billions of dollars this year buying equities, including stakes in cruise operator Carnival as well as BP Plc, Boeing Co., Citigroup Inc and Facebook Inc.READ MORE: Saudi Arabia Wealth Fund Buys Boeing, Citi, Disney StakesIn his statement on Friday, Al-Jadaan said the fund was capitalizing on “a range of investment opportunities that presented themselves in light of the current circumstances global financial markets are passing through.”The news of the fund’s buying spree abroad coincided with the government cutting back on spending at home. Al-Jadaan has said that the kingdom will need to trim expenses this year to redirect resources to health care and supporting businesses as the coronavirus pandemic hobbles economic growth.Earlier this month, the government cut back state worker allowances and announced it will triple a value-added tax, shocking citizens and business owners. Saudi Arabia’s non-oil economy is expected to contract this year for the first time in three decades.READ MORE: Saudi Arabia Triples VAT, Cuts State Allowances Amid Crisis (2)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

05/30/2020 07:00 PM
A Nightmare Scenario For Offshore Oil

05/31/2020 05:21 AM
American Airlines Plans To Cut 30% Of Its Management Staff

American Airlines Plans To Cut 30% Of Its Management StaffAmerican Airlines Group Inc (AAL) said it plans to cut 30% of its management and support staff (MSS) to reduce costs as the debt-strapped U.S. airline grapples with the financial fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.Affected employees will be notified of the layoffs in July, but will remain on payroll through Sept. 3, and will receive full pay and benefits through the U.S. CARES Act Payroll Support Program. The indebted airline is also offering a voluntary early out program for MSS employees but if there are not enough volunteers it will begin layoffs.“We will be a smaller airline, with fewer routes and fewer flights,” Elise Eberwein, Executive VP, wrote in a memo to employees. “Our preferred outcome is to properly size our frontline team for the future without having to implement involuntary furloughs. This is a goal, though, not a commitment, and a stretch goal at that.”Eberwein added that the airline has already taken a number of steps to downsize with nearly 39,000 workers choosing to take a voluntary leave or early retirement. In addition, fleet retirement accelerations are underway, which is expected to result in flying roughly 100 fewer aircraft next summer than was originally planned.American Airlines stock has lost two-third of its value so far this year as stringent travel restrictions tied to the coronavirus pandemic have brought travel demand to an almost halt. U.S. airlines have been burning through billions of dollars in the first quarter incurring huge losses and implementing broad cost-cutting plans, as well as taking steps to shore up cash buffers.The airline’s stock dropped 4.4% to $10.50 on Friday.Earlier this month, five-star analyst Brandon Oglenski at Barclays lowered the stock’s rating to Sell from Hold, with a $7 price target, (reflecting 33% downside potential) saying the future is uncertain on travel demand but definite on "plenty of additional debt."Overall Wall Street analysts are sitting on the fence when it comes to American Airlines stock. The Hold consensus is divided into 4 Hold, 8 Sell and 4 Buy ratings. The $13.36 average price target is less bearish than Barclays’ outlook and implies 27% upside potential in the shares in the coming year. (See American Airlines stock analysis on TipRanks).Related News: Ryanair Cuts Traffic Target By Almost 50% For Coming Year, Seeks To Reduce Boeing Plane Deliveries Boeing Gets No Orders in April, Customers Cancel 737 MAX Jets Colombian Carrier Avianca Files for Bankruptcy Protection Due to Coronavirus Woes More recent articles from Smarter Analyst: * China’s Tencent In Talks To Buy $200 Million Stake In Warner Music - Report * Quest’s Covid-19 Self-Collection Test Kit Gets FDA Nod For Emergency Use * Minerva Shares Tank 72% As Schizophrenia Drug Misses Trial Goals * Beyond Meat Teams Up With KFC, Pizza Hut In China

05/30/2020 05:29 PM
U.S. Cases Rise; Trump G-7 May Draw Fewer Leaders: Virus Update

05/31/2020 01:06 PM
Venezuela to Raise Fuel Prices in Historic Policy Shift

Venezuela to Raise Fuel Prices in Historic Policy Shift(Bloomberg) -- Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro said fuel prices would increase starting in June, a historic policy shift after decades of subsidies that have allowed Venezuelans to essentially fill their tanks for free.Gasoline will be sold at 5,000 bolivars (2.5 U.S. cents) per liter at gas stations nationwide starting Monday, including 200 stations that will sell premium fuel at the equivalent of 50 U.S. cents a liter, Maduro said. Gasoline will be limited to 120 liters (30 gallons) per month for each vehicle.“This is a war, my dear fellow countrymen who listen to me, a brutal war,” Maduro said from the presidential palace on Saturday evening. The U.S. is “persecuting any company that brings a drop of gasoline to Venezuela.”Diesel, which is fundamental for industries and electricity power plants, will still be subsidized “100%,” Oil Minister Tareck El Aissami said in the event with Maduro. State-owned PDVSA is able to meet Venezuela’s vehicle demand, he added.The announcement follows the arrival of five Iranian tankers loaded with around 1.5 million of barrels of gasoline as Venezuela faces a crippling fuel shortage, following years of mismanagement, lack of investment and mounting U.S. sanctions.An overhaul of the country’s gasoline distribution system represents a stark shift in national culture, loosening the state’s monopoly over the country’s central asset. While PDVSA would recover millions currently lost in subsidies, gasoline price hikes are a sensitive matter for the oil-rich nation -- when prices were raised in 1989, Caracas burst into violent riots.The government announced a similar plan in 2018, but didn’t follow through. It then issued a banking card and a vehicle census for those wanting to apply for subsidized gasoline. Both will used this time, Maduro said.Want Free Gasoline? Then Go Get Your Card of the Fatherland NowVenezuelans have spent hours or even days in line for gasoline in some areas of the country as fuel shortages intensify in the past two months. Those who can afford higher prices are paying as much as the equivalent of $4 a liter in the black market.“Venezuela must charge international prices for gasoline sooner rather than later, to prevent it from being stolen from Colombia and the Caribbean,” Maduro said. “That should not be decreed or done haphazardly. It should be done through planning and strategy.”Venezuela has also granted licenses for private companies to import gasoline to supply to the 200 more expensive pumps. There will be no fuel rationing at these stations and customers will be allowed to pay using using any currency, Tareck El Aissami said on state TV on Sunday.(Adds diesel prices in fourth paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

05/30/2020 11:59 AM
Is Phillips 66 (PSX) A Good Stock To Buy?

Is Phillips 66 (PSX) A Good Stock To Buy?In this article we will check out the progression of hedge fund sentiment towards Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX) and determine whether it is a good investment right now. We at Insider Monkey like to examine what billionaires and hedge funds think of a company before spending days of research on it. Given their 2 and 20 […]

05/30/2020 12:00 AM
Virus Has Sparked Round-the-Clock Rush to Fill U.S. Gold Vaults

Virus Has Sparked Round-the-Clock Rush to Fill U.S. Gold Vaults(Bloomberg) -- The scramble to jump on one of the hottest gold trades in years -- by shipping bullion to New York -- has sparked what may be one of the largest ever physical transfers of the metal.“The flows into New York are unprecedented,” said Allan Finn, global commodities director at logistics and security provider Malca-Amit. His company’s teams in New York have been working 24 hours a day to cope with demand while navigating lockdowns, flight disruptions and social distancing.Gold flooded into the U.S. in recent months as traders rushed to profit from an arbitrage caused by dislocations in the market triggered by the pandemic. Since late March, some 550 tons of gold -- worth $30 billion at today’s price and roughly equal to global mine output in the period -- have been added to Comex warehouse stockpiles. Hundreds of tons of that was imported.While tens of billions of dollars of gold change hands every day in financial markets, a much smaller amount tends to physically move between vaults in trading hubs like London, Zurich and New York.But that started to change as the Covid-19 crisis affected the supply chain. When planes were grounded and Swiss refineries closed in late March, traders were worried they wouldn’t be able to get gold to New York in time to deliver against futures contracts. That caused futures, which typically trade in lockstep with the London spot price, to soar to a premium of as much as $70 an ounce.That created an opportunity for enterprising traders: buy gold somewhere in the world at the spot price, sell futures, and benefit from the difference by shipping the metal to New York.The scale of the trade has been revealed in exchange reports, import and export data and comments from some of the leading precious metals shipping and vaulting companies. On Thursday, traders declared their intent to deliver 2.8 million ounces of gold against the June Comex contract, the largest daily delivery notice in bourse data going back to 1994.Swiss gold exports to the U.S. have surged, reaching 111.7 tons in April, the highest on record. American import data for April isn’t yet available, but already in March gold imports topped $3 billion, according to the Census Bureau, the highest in at least a decade. Refineries as far away as Australia have ramped up output of kilobars -- the form typically delivered on the Comex -- to ship to New York.For Brink’s Ltd. Managing Director Mark Woolley, the spike in demand to ship gold to New York has been unlike anything he’s seen in 20 years in the market.“The amount of metal that we’ve successfully moved into New York is pretty significant,” he said Thursday on a webinar hosted by the London Bullion Market Association. “It’s probably not far off the total amount of metal that’s been mined in this period.”CME Group Inc., which owns Comex, responded to the recent market dislocation by introducing a new contract allowing the delivery of 400-ounce bars, the type traded in London. Still, “other changes need to be at least considered,” according to LBMA Chairman Paul Fisher.The enormous movement of gold has been a boon for logistics companies, but also a challenge. Not only have passenger flights -- on which shipments are typically transported -- been grounded, but New York City, where many Comex warehouses are located, has also been a hotspot for the virus.To deal with flows, Loomis International U.K. opened up additional vault capacity. Malca-Amit considered using airports in Boston and Philadelphia, but hasn’t needed to yet, Finn said.While large volumes and virus-related restrictions at vaults and airports caused some delivery delays, much of the spike in the premium for futures contracts in March -- which left some banks nursing sizable losses -- was driven by perception rather than reality, Finn said.“My own personal opinion is that any assessment on the inability to get gold in was ill-informed at the time and was made on assumptions rather than fact,” he said.Still, the bonanza for precious metals shippers may last a while. Large deliveries have seen June Comex futures drop to a discount to spot prices this week, but later dated futures are still at a premium. And as investor interest in other precious metals picked up, futures for silver and platinum have also traded at premiums to spot.“The guys in New York have done a great job,” said Brian Hayward, head of Loomis International U.K. “We’re seeing a lot of silver head that way right now.”(An earlier version corrected the Y axis in the first chart)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

05/30/2020 01:47 PM
Benzinga's Bulls And Bears Of The Week: Amazon, Disney, Netflix And More

Benzinga's Bulls And Bears Of The Week: Amazon, Disney, Netflix And More* Benzinga has examined the prospects for many investor favorite stocks over the past week. * This week's bullish calls included e-commerce and pharmaceutical giants. * The house that Warren Buffett built is featured among the bearish calls.The Dow Jones industrials and the S&P 500 ended last week with 3% or so gains, while the Nasdaq was up nearly 2%. It was a week when China moved to end Hong Kong's autonomy and the U.S. president punished social media players for fact-checking him. Also, Disney and the New York Stock Exchange prepared for reopenings, 737 Max production resumed and Tesla lowered car prices.As usual, Benzinga continues to examine the prospects for many of the stocks most popular with investors. Here are some of this past week's most bullish and bearish posts that are worth another look.BullsThe Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) empire is poised to expand further, according to Elizabeth Balboa's "Here's How Amazon Could Become A Threat To Tesla, Ford And More With Zoox Buy.""Bristol-Myers Analyst Says 'Big 7' Pipeline Assets Hold B In Peak Sales Potential" by Shanthi Rexaline shows the slew of products in the Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (NYSE: BMY) pipeline that have blockbuster potential.In "Analyst Upgrades Oil Services Stocks, Predicts 'Doubling Of US Rig Activity'," Wayne Duggan shares why it finally may be time for investors to start dipping their toes in on the likes of Baker Hughes Co (NYSE: BKR).Priya Nigam's "Snap Could Unveil More Developer Integration At Partner Summit, BofA Says" suggests that anticipated new software tools, platform policies and partners bode well for Snap Inc (NYSE: SNAP) stock.For additional bullish calls, also have a look at 'FAANG Stocks Are Strong Once Again,' Facebook, Amazon, Netflix Hit Record Highs Last Week and Plant-Based Food Sales Up 90% In March: Report.BearsTanzeel Akhtar's "Mouse Trap: Imperial Capital Downgrades Disney, Sees Theme Park Risk" looks at why Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS) investors may want to take profits."Why Bill Ackman Is No Longer A Berkshire Shareholder" by Jayson Derrick discusses why the billionaire hedge fund manager and activist investor has shed his $1 billion stake in Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A).Netflix Inc (NASDAQ: NFLX) shares recently have given back some of their year-to-date gains. So says "What's Behind Netflix's Recent Weakness?" by Shanthi Rexaline. Is the stock in the danger of a further pullback?In Randy Elias's "What 2 Experts Are Saying About Canopy Growth After The Q4 Print," see four downside risks for Canopy Growth Corporation (NYSE: CGC) stock.Be sure to check out Cramer Says Getting Over Coronavirus Crisis 'Not Enough' To Lift The Economy and NYSE To Delist Bankrupt Hertz: Report for additional bearish calls.Keep up with all the latest breaking news and trading ideas by following Benzinga on Twitter.See more from Benzinga * Barron's Picks And Pans: Dropbox, Slack, Starbucks And More * Barron's Picks And Pans: Cisco, Gilead, Netflix, Wayfair And More * Benzinga's Bulls And Bears Of The Week: Boeing, SmileDirectClub, Tesla And More(C) 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

05/30/2020 11:36 AM
Data show why HBO Max's slow start may not tell the whole story

Data show why HBO Max's slow start may not tell the whole storyHBO Max made its official entrance into the streaming wars on Wednesday — and its day-one performance highlights how consumers are embracing the new platform.

05/30/2020 11:58 AM
KeyCorp (KEY): A Rare Banking Stock Hedge Funds Piling Into

KeyCorp (KEY): A Rare Banking Stock Hedge Funds Piling IntoWe at Insider Monkey have gone over 821 13F filings that hedge funds and prominent investors are required to file by the SEC The 13F filings show the funds' and investors' portfolio positions as of March 31st, near the height of the coronavirus market crash. In this article, we look at what those funds think […]

05/29/2020 04:44 PM
31M have or plan to withdraw from retirement due to COVID-19: survey

31M have or plan to withdraw from retirement due to COVID-19: surveyBankrate.com released a survey noting that 31 million Americans have or plan to tap into their retirement savings because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Joining The Final Round to discuss the survey further is Bankrate.com's Chief Financial Analyst Greg McBride.

05/30/2020 11:42 PM
Gold Price Futures (GC) Technical Analysis – Strengthens Over $1754.30, Weakens Under $1744.10

Gold Price Futures (GC) Technical Analysis – Strengthens Over $1754.30, Weakens Under $1744.10Watch trader reaction to $1744.10 to $1754.30 early next week. This should tell us if buyers have returned or if sellers are taking control.

05/30/2020 02:16 AM
Taiwan approves Gilead's remdesivir to treat COVID-19

05/31/2020 01:00 PM
Why The World’s Largest Asset Manager Has Seen Its Shares Soar

Why The World’s Largest Asset Manager Has Seen Its Shares SoarBlackrock, the world’s largest asset manager has seen its share price surge as it doubled down on renewables investment

05/29/2020 04:50 PM
Peet’s Coffee IPO raises $2.5 billion despite the coronavirus pandemic

Peet’s Coffee IPO raises $2.5 billion despite the coronavirus pandemicIn one of the largest IPO’s of 2020, Peet's Coffee raised $2.5 billion amid the global pandemic. Shares of the coffee maker JDE Peet's surged 15% in their stock market debut on Friday. Yahoo Finance’s Dan Roberts discusses the logistics surrounding the only big European IPO launched during the coronavirus crisis.

05/29/2020 09:20 PM
U.S. pipeline operator Energy Transfer warns of coming job cuts

05/30/2020 11:06 PM
Crude Oil Price Update – Ready to Challenge Major Retracement Zone, Price Gap

Crude Oil Price Update – Ready to Challenge Major Retracement Zone, Price GapThe direction of the next major move in crude oil will be determined by trader reaction to the retracement zone at $36.07 to $40.50.

05/31/2020 11:11 AM
Russia has no objection to earlier OPEC+ meeting: sources

Russia has no objection to earlier OPEC+ meeting: sourcesRussia has no objection to the next meeting of OPEC and its allies, known as OPEC+, being brought forward to June 4 from the following week, three OPEC+ sources familiar with the meeting's preparations told Reuters on Sunday. Algeria, which currently holds the presidency of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), has proposed the meeting planned for June 9-10 be brought forward to facilitate oil sales for countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait. The lack of Russian opposition to an earlier date could indicate that it is moving closer to an agreement with OPEC's de facto leader, Saudi Arabia, on how to extend oil production cuts for the rest of the year.

05/30/2020 02:38 PM
The Week In Cannabis: A Mixed Bag Leads Marijuana Stocks To Underperform

The Week In Cannabis: A Mixed Bag Leads Marijuana Stocks To UnderperformThis week brought a mixed bag of news for the cannabis industry.Aphria Inc (NYSE: APHA) announced it will transfer its stock from the New York Stock Exchange to the Nasdaq exchange after the market close June 5, and a long list of earnings reports, some better than others.Cresco Labs Inc. (CSE: CL) (OTC: CRLBF) had a great week with numerous store-opening announcements. The company also reported first-quarter revenue of $66.4 million, up 60% from the previous quarter. "In Q1 we built, staffed, integrated, and refined our operations in the largest and most important cannabis markets in the U.S.," said the company's co-founder and CEO Charles Bachtell.TerrAscend Corp. (CSE: TER) (OTC: TRSSF) reported net sales of CA$34.8 million (US$25.2 million) for the first quarter of 2020, up 34% quarter-over-quarter and 139% year-over-year. The Toronto-based company reached a positive adjusted EBITDA of CA$4.9 million versus a loss of CA$5.5 million in the corresponding quarter last year.Amid restructuring efforts, Canopy Growth Corp. (TSX: WEED) (NYSE: CGC) reported a fourth-quarter net loss of CA$1.3 billion ($946.4 million), up from the loss of CA$347.5 million it posted for the same quarter a year ago. On the other hand, net revenue of CA$399 million was up 76% year-over-year, but down 13% quarter-over-quarter. See the full results here.Following the report, Eric Choe, founder of StockDweebs, said Canopy Growth is well-positioned to rally on the production, distribution and sale of its cannabis products despite the recent downfall: "It relies primarily on retail traffic and the sale of medicinal and recreational cannabis products - this could boost overall sales and top-line figures once stores start opening post-COVID."Cantor Fitzgerald's Pablo Zuanic seemed to disagree, noting the company has considerable downside risk following the fourth-quarter report.See more financial results from Vibe Bioscience Ltd. (CSE: VIBE) (OTC: VBSCF), The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd. (TSX: TGOD) (OTC: TGODF), Slang Worldwide (CNSX: SLNG), Evogene Ltd. (NASDAQ: EVGN), and more, at our Cannabis Earnings Center.Don't miss this opportunity to connect with THE cannabis movers and shakers from across the globe during Benzinga's first Virtual Cannabis Capital Conference on June 1.For their part, ETFs closed the week on the red. Over the five trading days of the week: * ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE: MJ) lost 2%. * AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF (NYSE: YOLO) slipped 0.37%. * Cannabis ETF (NYSE: THCX) dropped 3.85%. * Amplify Seymour Cannabis ETF (NYSE: CNBS) shed 2.83% of its value. * SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) closed the period up 2.95%.Debra Borchardt, CEO of Green Market Report called the earnings results "staggering," adding "It seems like it will be a long time before these companies can recover from past management decisions and give investors a company that they can believe in."In other news, real estate investment trust Innovative Industrials Properties (NYSE: IIPR) reported the upsize and pricing of an underwritten public offering of its common shares at an estimated cost of $100 million. The offering consists of 1,348,389 common shares.Banking and payment technology company Hypur partnered with business software provider Odoo to streamline the cannabis purchasing process. Together they will provide modern, digital payments, and bolster point-of-sale operations. The partnership will also enable customers utilize Hypur's new nationwide "safe checkout" feature, which was recently rolled out with Caliva, as well as online cannabis marketplace, Dutchie.Psychedelics company Red Light Holland Corp. started trading on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker symbol "TRIP," and appointed Bruce Linton, the co-founder and former CEO of Canopy Growth, as chairman of its advisory board.Advanced Flower Capital Management LLC confirmed its associate has provided Nature's Medicines with $42 million in financing.Louisiana is moving forward with a piece of legislation that would make medical marijuana move easily available in the state by authorizing recommendations from any state-licensed physician, while updating the list of qualifiable medical conditions.House Bill 819 passed Senate vote on Wednesday by 28 to 6.Find our cannabis, hemp and psychedelics news in Spanish on El Planteo.More News From The Week True Terpenes, a producer of GMP/ISO/FSSC-certified terpenes, formed a scientific advisory board (SAB) to advance research in the cannabis industry. The SAB will be focused on studying the entourage effect, where the benefits of medical cannabis can be enhanced when combined with terpenes. Board members include Dr. Ethan Russo, a cannabis and pharmaceutical scientist who specializes in the entourage effect. Dr. Russo previously worked with GW Pharmaceuticals on progressing Epidiolex and Sativex through clinical trials, becoming the first cannabis-based drug to be approved by the Food & Drug Administration."There is a growing body of anecdotal evidence that supports the existence of the entourage effect. The profound potential for cannabis medicine to positively impact human health compels the cannabis industry to establish scientific proof of the synergistic interaction between terpenes and cannabinoids. True Terpenes has unmatched access to the global terpenes supply chain and a proprietary library of terpene profiles that our company is contributing to these efforts," said CEO Chris Campagna.New Wave Holdings Corp. (CSE: SPOR) (OTC: TRMND) announced its plans to sponsor TheraPsil, a Victoria, British Columbia-based non-profit coalition seeking legal access to psilocybin for Canadians in palliative care. The coalition is focused on providing legal, safe access to psychedelic therapies as well as education. In collaboration with domestic and global partners, the organization plans to help support the development of effective protocols in collaboration with health professionals."We are looking forward to working with TheraPsil to help bring psychedelic therapy to patients in palliative care. It is through education, training, research and the championing of those patients who could benefit from access to these therapies that we will see this initiative move forward and see so many people be helped," said Trumbull Fisher, President of New Wave. Medical Marijuana, Inc. (OTC: MJNA) subsidiary Kannaway welcomed Earl Monroe, former NBA player for the Baltimore Bullets and the New York Knicks, to its Sports Team to help spread awareness on the benefits of CBD for athletes. Monroe played 13 seasons in the NBA. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1990. "Earl uses our Premium Full Spectrum CBD and topical salve products to help manage the aches that are a result of many years of championing a professional sport," said Kannaway® CEO Blake Schroeder. "We could not be more proud that our products have made a positive difference for him,"A class-action lawsuit claiming Colorado-based Elixinol, LLC's CBD products were illegal to sell under federal regulations was dismissed. The company creates, manufactures and sells various CBD products, including capsules, tinctures and dog treats. In McCarthy v Elixinol, LLC, lawyers argued that under the 2018 Farm Bill the hemp-derived CBD company had the right to transport and ship hemp. In addition, the FDA's current regulations do not prohibit any company from selling hemp-based products. The suit was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in December 2019."Elixinol isn't the only hemp and CBD company facing these unfounded class action lawsuits," says Jonathan Miller, chair of Frost Brown Todd's hemp industry team and general counsel of the U.S. Hemp Roundtable. "These attorneys previously earned a similar dismissal in Fausett, et al. v. Koi CBD, LLC and are working other pending cases claiming product impurities and failed drug tests. The 2018 Farm Bill made hemp legal and companies running legitimate businesses that are building this new industry should be welcomed and embraced."Top Stories Of The Week Check out the top stories on Benzinga Cannabis this week: * A Medicinal Cannabis Company That's Conducting Clinical Research On Autism, Insomnia, And More * Poison Pills: A Common Component In Lawmaking, M&A And Now Cannabis * A Snapshot of America's Medical Marijuana Marketplaces: Michigan * Cannabis Strain Names Are Meaningless: What Is The Industry Doing About It? * Virtual Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference Offers Sneak Peek At Pot Industry's Coronavirus Recovery * MindMed To Include MDMA to Research Portfolio * Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference Presents: Vivien Azer, Star Marijuana Analyst * Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference Presents: Isiah Thomas, NBA Legend And CBD Investor * Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference Presents: From Bud to Bloom - Grow Your Business The Right Way * What Isiah Thomas, John Salley And Al Harrington Have In Common (Hint: It's Not Basketball)Check out these and many other cannabis stories on Benzinga.com/cannabisLead image by Ilona Szentivanyi. Copyright: Benzinga.See more from Benzinga * ESPAÑOL • Odoo Ingresa a la Industria del Cannabis, Isiah Thomas, Avicanna en Colombia, Aphria, Aurora, y Más * The Week In Cannabis: A Great Week For Stocks Driven By Confusion, Aurora's Rally, New Advisors To Benzinga * ESPAÑOL • Reportes Trimestrales, Coronavirus y Acciones de Cannabis en Subida: ¿Qué Está Pasando?(C) 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

05/31/2020 12:01 AM
What to Do With $7,000 Truffles If Restaurants Never Recover

What to Do With $7,000 Truffles If Restaurants Never Recover(Bloomberg) -- Every year, John Gregson sells his autumn and winter truffles, carefully sourced from places like Italy’s Sibillini mountains and Teruel in eastern Spain, to restaurants for as much as 6,000 pounds ($7,400) a kilo. Not this year.His biggest restaurant customers brought their shutters down during the coronavirus lockdown, and many may not be raising them anytime soon -- if ever. The unprecedented disruption in the food chain, with worst-case estimates showing 80% of restaurants going bust in some parts of the world, is leaving people like Gregson grappling with an industry that may take years to untangle itself.“Those orders came mostly from Michelin-star restaurants,” said Gregson​, head of U.K. wholesale deals at TruffleHunter Ltd. “It’s now a question of whether those restaurants will be around come autumn and winter when those truffles come into season.”From truffles to cheeses and steaks to seafood, the providers of ingredients that go into everything from a pasta al tartufo to a London broil are confronting an existential crisis in the $3.4 trillion global food services industry. With demand evaporating almost overnight, suppliers have been forced to bin their produce or transform. Many now face the quandary of whether to hold out for a post-lockdown recovery or to move to a new business model, and perhaps even a new produce.While images of farmers dumping milk, yellow squash and zucchinis have made their rounds across the globe, many suppliers are trying to find alternative buyers for their perishable produce. One thing is becoming clear: It may be a long while before they can command the premium prices high-end restaurants paid.Going BustAnywhere between 25% to 80% of U.S. restaurants will go out of business due to the pandemic quarantine, estimates show. Similarly grim projections are also being made around the world.“What you sell into restaurants is different to what you sell into grocers -- there are premium cuts, there are expensive lobsters and all of that,” said Nicholas Fereday, a consumer goods senior analyst at Rabobank in New York. “Finding markets for that will be a challenge in the same volume, because it’s going to be a gradual return to restaurants.”Gregson said his company is pivoting to direct-to-consumer sales -- which tend to be skewed toward processed products such as truffle oils and butters -- as locked-down households look for ways to jazz up their homemade risottos.Some restaurant owners are already testing ways to start opening their doors again. Cabotte, a sommelier-owned restaurant popular among London’s financial circles, is hoping to reopen with a socially distanced dine-in experience in September, but expects to also diversify with both takeaway services and cooking sessions at nearby offices.Simplified MenusStill, drastically reduced table counts will make profitability hard in a sector already known for its sliver-thin margins. That will mean simplified menus with just core offerings, according to Will Beckett, the co-founder of steakhouse group Hawksmoor.“Things that miss out will either be high-wastage, low-sales dishes or things that involve complicated movement around the kitchen,” said Beckett, who expects to reduce his menu’s offering of fish and less popular main courses. “It doesn’t matter if we have four steaks or six steaks -- there’s still only one person on the grill -- but maybe anything that involves a second person standing in the larder section. That’s going to have to change.”Even if a restaurant can survive with small customer numbers, there’s a chance some of their favorite producers didn’t -- or that they’ve diversified to other, less restaurant-orientated products.“Some restaurant owners are going to be forced to reinvent their profession and find new ways of expressing themselves,” said Eric Briffard, culinary arts program director at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. “Good cuisine goes hand in hand with good products, but products will be in decline.”Wasted ProduceArtisan producers, who tend to be beyond the reach of most retail customers, are particularly vulnerable since they cannot easily divert supplies to grocers. The U.K.’s Specialist Cheesemakers Association estimates around a third of its members’ produce ends up in restaurants.The lockdowns have led to tons of premium cheese going to waste, with soft cheeses that have short shelf-lives not surviving sales disruptions. Catherine Mead of Lynher Dairy -- a maker of specialty cheeses in Truro, England -- donated a quarter of her stock to charities, with another being sent to be ground into powder for cheese-flavored potato chips.Where demand has endured, it’s skewed to more well-known varieties such as hard cheddars, with niche produce typically favored by restaurants struggling to find a home. For Mead, that means a reliance on her showpiece yarg cheeses to drive sales, which she’s now producing more of at the expense of less established recipes such as kern and stithians.It’s not just upmarket dairy products that face disruption: the sector as a whole is hugely reliant on the food service trade. Nowhere is this more evident than in the U.S., where around half of both cheese and butter goes to the food service sector.Restaurant closures initially resulted in widespread dumping of milk, but as dairy farmers responded by cutting output, the U.S. Department of Agriculture stepped in to buy and some states started reopening, cheese prices started surging again, said Mary Ledman, a global dairy strategist at Rabobank. CME spot block cheddar cheese prices tumbled from $1.80 a pound in mid-March to about $1 in mid-April and have now rebounded to over $2.“This is the largest price volatility I’ve seen in my more than 30-year career,” she said.Adapt to SurviveGrowers of staples like vegetables have had to rapidly alter their businesses. Natoora, a fresh produce company, noted a drop in the sales of fresh peas. “People are less keen on podding them and restaurants had a massive appreciation for the pea in a pod and used to buy these by the box load,” said spokeswoman Poppy Royds.Sean O’Neill, founder of the Good Earth Growers group in Cornwall, England, saw 95% of his business supplying baby vegetables and salads to restaurants disappear overnight. That’s made him dig up and replant much of his crops with produce better suited to retail customers: out go the micro greens and edible flowers sought after by chefs such as Heston Blumenthal, and in come larger conventional vegetables such as beetroots and carrots.Despite the upheaval, O’Neill is hopeful that the lockdown will lead to a change in consumer food habits, favoring organic producers like him.“There is a creative opportunity for transformation for all of us,” he said. “It’s going to be interesting what dishes and flavors emerge, what new collaborations, what new ideas come out of it.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

05/30/2020 01:32 PM
Infected workers, parts shortages slow auto factory restarts

Infected workers, parts shortages slow auto factory restartsThe U.S. auto industry’s coronavirus comeback plan was pretty simple: restart factories gradually and push out trucks and other vehicles for waiting buyers in states left largely untouched by the virus outbreak. For some automakers, full production has been delayed, or it’s been herky-herky, with production lines stopping and starting due to infected workers or parts shortages from Mexico and elsewhere. Most automakers closed factories in mid-to-late March when workers began to get sick as the novel coronavirus spread.

05/31/2020 08:16 AM
Trump is waging a regulatory war against Twitter. He may not have a legal case.

Trump is waging a regulatory war against Twitter. He may not have a legal case.President Donald Trump’s increasingly heated feud with Twitter may be good for social media impressions, but may not be legally enforceable, according to experts.

05/29/2020 04:18 PM
Twitter warns Trump tweet ‘glorifies violence’

Twitter warns Trump tweet ‘glorifies violence’President Trump recently signed an executive order to weaken social media companies after his tweet was hidden by Twitter because it ‘glorified violence.’

05/29/2020 04:29 PM
Are Stocks Out of Control? What We Learned in May

Are Stocks Out of Control? What We Learned in May(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The stock market is not the economy. Perhaps that’s never been as clear as during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. Even as nations stare down the inevitability of long, deep recessions and unprecedented levels of unemployment, U.S. stocks as measured by the S&P 500 Index have rallied for two straight months after plunging in February and March.    There are a few reasons for optimism. First, there was the quick response by the government to pump trillions of dollars into the economy and financial system. And with the rate of new infections slowing, people are emerging from lockdowns into new socially-distanced economies. But the outlook is far from sunny. Covid-19 continues to kill thousands of people globally every day, there is no vaccine, and mandatory social-distancing rules (and fear) are contributing to what is forecast to be the worst recession since the Great Depression and squash corporate earnings for the foreseeable future. And that’s without accounting for a renewed worsening of U.S.-China tensions.Are stocks completely out of control? Bloomberg Opinion columnists have been pondering that very question:Jamie Dimon Captures the Stock Market Moment: “This is a recovery based so far on asset-price inflation rather than any economic data. Central bank and government action may have restored financial valuations but real incomes will still suffer dramatically for a long while to come … The stock market is looking even further into the distance than usual to justify its valuations, which is sometimes hard to square away against a constant stream of dire economic statistics and evaporating company earnings.” — Marcus AshworthFor Markets, It's the Economy's Direction That Matters: “It’s important to recognize that the magnitude of the weakness in the data is not driven by what we would think of as typical business cycle dynamics where a negative shock expands over time throughout the economy. Instead, we literally flipped a switch and told companies to close. You can’t feign surprise at layoffs in the leisure and hospitality sector when restaurants and entertainment venues are all shuttered overnight.” — Tim DuyOptions Market Signals a Dire Picture for Stocks: “The market prices of options play a vital role in informing market participants of what risks lie ahead, and given market efficiency, they often tell a reliable story. When viewed through the lens of options prices, the current equities rally appears tenuous.” — Alankar and ScholesWhat’s Keeping Stocks Afloat? The ‘Microsoft Market’: “No company has defied the pessimism more than Microsoft Corp., and for a lot of sensible reasons. The Seattle-based maker of global business and consumer software led all publicly traded companies most of the year with a $1.4 trillion market valuation.” — Matthew A. Winkler More ReadingStocks Have Reached a Tipping Point: John Authers Stock Prices Make Lofty Promises That Earnings Can’t Keep: Nir Kaissar Bank Stocks Are Either Cheap or Signal More Pain: Brian Chappatta All the Stocks Are the Same Now: Matt Levine Stock Traders Should Heed the Lessons of the 1930s: Gary ShillingThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Lara Williams manages Bloomberg Opinion's social media channels.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

05/31/2020 04:49 AM
Commodity Weekly: Crude Oil Frets Geopolitics, Sluggish Demand Bounce

Commodity Weekly: Crude Oil Frets Geopolitics, Sluggish Demand BounceCommodities trading was mixed during the final week of May. A month that turned out to be the come-back month for many markets following the Covid-19 related collapse seen during Q1.

05/30/2020 07:00 AM
The Really Big Stock Bull Case Says Fed Stimulus Doesn’t Go Away

The Really Big Stock Bull Case Says Fed Stimulus Doesn’t Go Away(Bloomberg) -- How willing will the Federal Reserve be just to switch off all the stimulus it rolled out to safeguard markets from the coronavirus? The most plausible answer is “not very,” logic that forms the most aggressive bull case on equities.As anyone who has watched the rocky path to reopening cities and states, it’s hard to know when to sound the all clear in waters as uncharted as they are now. Uncertainty dictates prudence. That’s the case in deciding when to allow people back to work, and will logically guide policy makers, too, when it comes to their measures that have kept markets in working order.With the S&P 500 already two-thirds of the way back from its bottom, that prospect -- that virus-fighting stimulus could linger for months or years after the worst of the pandemic has passed -- explains the uncanny confidence of stock bulls in the face of the worst economy since the Depression. As they see it, if even a modicum of economic order is restored and stimulus sticks, it’s a recipe for a melt-up.“The markets have become addicted to stimulus. That is the key factor that is going to continue to drive risk appetite, just like it did in the last cycle,” said David Spika, president of GuideStone Capital Management, which has about $12.5 billion in assets under management. “Going back to the last cycle, the Fed stayed involved for several years even though we returned to previous employment levels and we returned to previous earnings levels -- and the Fed continued to buy bonds.”Make no mistake: as big a role as reopening has played in the rebound, Federal Reserve largess, alongside trillions of dollars in payouts from Washington, has been as a crucial element lifting stocks. While the path of the virus is unknown -- Will there be a second wave? Can a vaccine succeed? -- one thing that seems certain is perpetual Fed support.Policy makers are “not going to be in any hurry to withdraw these measures,” said Chairman Jerome Powell late last month.That’s comforted equity investors, tamping down concerns over a credit crunch or solvency risk. Case in point: A Goldman Sachs basket of stocks with weaker balance sheets rose 4.3% this week, nearly double a similar group of stocks with healthier finances. Tuesday marked the widest gap in favor of the former since May 2009, when stocks were in the early days of their record bull run.The embrace is also palpable across the universe of smaller companies, where over a third of firms are expected to lose money and per-share profits are forecast to plummet 95% in the three months ending in June, according to Credit Suisse. The Russell 2000 rose 6.4% in May, its best month versus the S&P 500 in over a year.Crediting the Fed with boosting risk-assets is nothing new but its open-endedness may be the only way to explain a world in which 20 million Americans have lost their jobs and the S&P 500 is about four big days away from making up all the ground it lost since February. And it’s not just a full comeback that is envisioned. Many Wall Street strategists see the potential for the S&P 500 to go even higher than it was before the outbreak began.Take Fundstrat Global Advisors’ Tom Lee, for example, who sees the S&P 500 ending the year at 3,450 even as company profits plunge. Or Sophie Huynh at Societe General, who predicts the S&P 500 will rise to 3,500 by the end of 2020. It closed Friday at 3,044.The U.S. central bank has taken unprecedented steps to combat the economic crisis. It cut interest rates to near-zero and pledged to keep policy easy. It resumed asset purchases, declaring Quantitative Easing (QE) unlimited. The Fed is also buying a wide range of securities, including corporate and municipal debt.As a result, the central bank’s balance sheet has ballooned to $7 trillion, with roughly $3 trillion added in just three months -- roughly triple what was added in the year following the financial crisis in 2008. That increase is showing up in broad measures of money supply, including a gauge called money of zero maturity and Federal Reserve M2 money supply.Such a surge in liquidity is reassuring the bulls. Michael Darda, chief economist and market strategist at MKM Partners LLC, says it shows there’s more upside potential for stocks than downside risk. A measure called the price-liquidity ratio that plots the market cap of the S&P 500 versus total money supply shows equities actually look cheap, even as earnings collapse. Add to that rock-bottom interest rates on bonds, and a stock bull case is born.And if such stimulative policies remain alongside an economic recovery, its possible inflation will materialize. Tom Essaye, a former Merrill Lynch trader who founded “The Sevens Report” newsletter, points to the years after the financial crisis, when a liquidity explosion led to surges in asset prices -- from stocks to bonds, real estate and gold.“If past is prologue, the lesson is that we need to admit that this amount of liquidity means that asset inflation will likely be unleashed on the economy in coming years,” he wrote to clients. “That’s something we need to consider even in a slow-growth environment.”Granted, all bets are off if economies must shut again, unemployment levels stay high and a wave of defaults emerges. Chair Powell has made calls for more fiscal stimulus loud and clear, and the latest beige book from the central bank -- a report based on anecdotal information collected by the regional divisions -- detailed the devastation that’s still apparent across the U.S. economy.All the more reason, though, for Fed stimulus to remain if the economy is in need. This past week alone, Chevron Corp. and Boeing Co. announced permanent layoffs. Reports surfaced that SoftBank Group Corp. is planning deep staff cuts too.“The general expectation is that the Fed is going to maintain its supportive posture,” said John Carey, portfolio manager at Pioneer Investment Management. “That’s definitely one of the factors giving people confidence in purchasing shares -- they see very strong support from the Federal Reserve.”To be sure, such extended policy measures could lead to ills down the road including the potential for run-away inflation, according to Sandip Bhagat, Whittier Trust’s chief investment officer. Still, it’s likely it puts a floor under the stock market for now.“Don’t naturally assume it to be singularly stimulative with no side effects,” Bhagat said by phone. “But all the stimulus will prevent the market from melting down again, I just don’t know if it will sent it off to the races where S&P 500 3,000 becomes S&P 500 5,000.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

05/31/2020 07:46 AM
In Big Oil's Back Yard, a Solar Plant Starts Powering Industry

In Big Oil's Back Yard, a Solar Plant Starts Powering Industry(Bloomberg) -- Petroleum Development Oman, in which Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Total SA hold minority stakes, has begun receiving power from the Gulf Arab country’s largest photovoltaic solar plant.The 100-megawatt Amin facility, built partly by Marubeni Corp., will supply electricity for PDO’s operations, the state-run company said Sunday in a statement. PDO targets producing 30% of its electricity from renewable resources by 2025, Mohamed Al Busaidi, who heads its renewables business, said by phone.Oman, like neighboring Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, is expanding into solar energy to diversify its domestic sources of electricity. The nation is the largest Arab oil producer outside of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.Amin was built at Nimr in southern Oman by a group including Marubeni, Oman Gas Co., Bahwan Renewable Energy Co. and Nebras Power, PDO said.PDO is developing a much bigger solar plant that will generate power from the sun’s heat, as opposed to photovoltaic units like Amin that produce electricity directly from sunlight. The Miraah thermal project was originally planned to reach a capacity of more than 1,000 megawatts.Another photovoltaic plant is under construction at Ibri, west of the capital Muscat, which will produce power for the national grid. The Ibri project’s first phase, for 500 megawatts, is scheduled for completion by 2021, according to Oman Power & Water Procurement Co., the country’s sole bulk buyer of electricity.Oman’s push into renewables encountered a setback when U.S.-based Glasspoint Solar, which was building the Miraah thermal project, went into liquidation earlier this month. PDO said Sunday that it’s able to operate the facilities without Glasspoint, adding that Miraah units using the U.S. firm’s technology will soon be commissioned and have a capacity of 300 megawatts starting in July.PDO, Oman’s largest oil producer, is 60%-owned by the government. Shell holds 34% of the venture, while Total owns 4% and Partex Oil & Gas has the remaining 2%, according to PDO’s website.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

05/31/2020 02:01 PM
China’s Tencent In Talks To Buy $200 Million Stake In Warner Music – Report

China’s Tencent In Talks To Buy $200 Million Stake In Warner Music – ReportChina’s Tencent Holdings Ltd. (TCEHY), the world’s largest online gaming company, is in talks to invest $200 million in Warner Music Group, according to a Wall Street Journal report.The move comes ahead of the record company’s initial public offering slated for the coming week. Tencent is among a number of other potential institutions that could serve as anchor investors, to help shore up more than $1 billion toward a fundraising goal of as much as $1.8 billion. The offering is expected to value Warner Music at $11.7 billion to $13.3 billion.Warner Music is planning to price its IPO on June 2 and it should start trading the following day on Nasdaq.Last week, Tencent announced a five-year plan to invest 500 billion yuan ($70 billion) in technology infrastructure. The investment will focus on cloud computing, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, as well as blockchain, servers, big data centers, supercomputer centers, internet of things operating systems, 5G networks and quantum computing.Tencent shares have soared 28% since mid-March as stay-at-home orders boosted demand for its online gaming products. The stock advanced 4% to $54.32 on Friday.Five-star analyst Jason Helfstein at Oppenheimer who has a Buy rating on the company with a $58 price target believes that despite being the world’s largest online gaming company, Tencent continues to take market share due to innovation.“There is still ample runway for its burgeoning advertising business with the largest online audience in China,” Helfstein wrote in a note to investors. “We see great potential in the company’s new initiatives: mini programs, cloud, and video. The success of any of these would add significant value to the company’s overall ecosystem.”Notably all six analysts covering Tencent stock are bullish on its outlook, giving it a firm Strong Buy consensus. Meanwhile the $60.50 average analyst price target indicates 11% upside potential from current levels. (See Tencent Holdings stock analysis on TipRanks).Related News: China’s Tencent To Pour $70B Into ‘New Infrastructure’ Including AI Alibaba Scores Earnings Beat With Revenue Surging 22% Y/Y Facebook Workplace Hits 5 Million Paid Users As Remote Work Demand Rises More recent articles from Smarter Analyst: * Quest’s Covid-19 Self-Collection Test Kit Gets FDA Nod For Emergency Use * Hewlett Packard Secures New $1 Billion Credit Facility * Minerva Shares Tank 72% As Schizophrenia Drug Misses Trial Goals * Beyond Meat Teams Up With KFC, Pizza Hut In China

05/29/2020 04:56 PM
U.S. senators expected to introduce sanctions on Russia's Nord Stream 2

05/29/2020 04:55 PM
Pfizer Falls On Disappointing Breast Cancer PALLAS Study

Pfizer Falls On Disappointing Breast Cancer PALLAS StudyPfizer (NYSE: PFE) shares were trading lower after disappointing news concerning its Phase 3 early breast cancer Palbociclib Collaborative Adjuvant Study (PALLAS) trial results.The Austrian Breast and Colorectal Cancer study group and the Alliance Foundation Trials, LLC, reported that following an analysis, the independent data monitoring committee of the PALLAS study determined the trial is unlikely to show significant improvement in the primary endpoint of invasive disease-free survival."We are disappointed in this outcome," said Chris Boshoff, chief development officer, Oncology, Pfizer. "Breast cancer is a leading cause of death around the world and delaying or preventing the development of metastatic disease is a significant unmet need."Pfizer shares were trading down 6.3% at $35.78 in Friday's after-hours session. The stock has a 52-week high of $44.56 and a 52-week low of $27.88.Related Links:Cramer Shares His Thoughts On Teva, Oxford Industries And MoreNovavax Begins Phase 1 Clinical Trial Of Its Coronavirus VaccineSee more from Benzinga * Every Member Of Trump's 'Great American Economic Revival' Industry Groups * Why BioNTech's Stock Is Trading Higher Today(C) 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

05/31/2020 08:00 AM
FEATURE-Workers nervously eye return to Lear's coronavirus-hit plant in Mexico

05/29/2020 05:25 PM
U.S. Cases Rise 1.2% for Third Day; Moderna Trial: Virus Update

U.S. Cases Rise 1.2% for Third Day; Moderna Trial: Virus Update(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. is severing ties with the World Health Organization, which President Donald Trump said failed to provide accurate information on the virus. New York City, last of the state’s regions to remain in lockdown, will start reopening on June 8.Toronto’s biggest employers agreed to keep office staff working from home until at least September. The outbreak in India’s financial capital has overwhelmed Mumbai’s health care system.Moderna started a mid-stage trial of its vaccine, which showed promising safety and early efficacy data earlier this month. The virus may have started spreading in U.S. communities weeks before the first diagnosis of patients not linked to international travel.Key Developments:Virus Tracker: Cases top 5.8 million; deaths over 363,000Bodies left on hospital beds as Mumbi is overwhelmedIn boom-and-bust San Francisco, pandemic brings grim new realityWashington reopens in win for Trump amid nagging safety doubtsCanada’s Covid hot zone is even deadlier than Chicago or L.A.Citi breaks with rivals on whether work from home is permanentSubscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus. For a look back at this week’s top stories from QuickTake, click here.Moderna Begins Vaccine Trial (5:15 p.m. NY)Moderna Inc., one of the leading companies developing a coronavirus vaccine, said it had started a mid-stage trial and given doses to the first patients.The 600-person, phase 2 study will give healthy participants one of two doses of the shot, or a placebo, Moderna said in a statement. They’ll be examined for potential side effects as well as whether it creates an immune-system response that could protect against the virus that causes Covid-19.The company plans to launch a larger phase 3 study in July with many more patients, working with the U.S. government. Published results of the phase 1 study are pending, though the shot showed promising safety and early efficacy data earlier this month.Toronto Office Workers at Home to September (4:30 p.m. NY)Canada’s major banks and other businesses will encourage Toronto office staff to keep working from home until at least September to help contain the spread of Covid-19, Mayor John Tory said.Telecom companies, accounting firms, insurance companies and universities and colleges joined financial companies in agreeing to continue telework at the request of the city and Tory, who is concerned about a potential flare-up in the pandemic if too many people flood the downtown core as restrictions are lifted.At least 24 companies agreed to ask staff to work remotely including Canada’s six biggest banks, Manulife Financial Corp., Sun Life Financial Inc., Rogers Communications Inc., PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and Ryerson University.U.S. Cases Rise 1.2% for Third Day (4 p.m. NY)Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased 1.2% from the same time Thursday, to 1.73 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. That’s in line with Wednesday and Thursday’s rates, and below the average of 1.3% over the past seven days. Deaths rose 1.1% to 102,201.New York reported 67 deaths, the lowest daily total since the start of the pandemic, Governor Andrew Cuomo said. Cases rose 0.4% to 368,284, in line with the average in the past week.Florida reported 54,497 cases, up 2.3% from a day earlier, according to the state’s health department. It was the third-largest daily increase since Florida started reopening on May 4.California cases rose 2.2% to 103,886 while deaths increased 2.4% to 4,068, according to the state’s website.Trump Says U.S. to Sever WHO Ties (3 p.m. NY)President Donald Trump said the U.S. will sever ties with the World Health Organization, the United Nations body he accuses of failing to provide accurate information on the spread of the coronavirus that broke out in China.“Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving, urgent global health needs,” Trump told reporters in the Rose Garden of the White House. “The world needs answers from China on the virus. We must have transparency.”The U.S. contributes more than $450 million to the WHO, Trump said.Lisbon Delays Reopening Malls (2:30 p.m. NY)Portugal will delay by three days reopening shopping malls in the Lisbon region, which reported new clusters of the coronavirus. The capital’s malls will remain closed until June 4 as other centers open as planned on June 1, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said. Lisbon’s situation is not “out of control” and new cases are quite focused, he said after the biggest daily jump in infections in three weeks.Florida Sees One of Largest Jumps Since Reopening (2:07 p.m. NY)Florida reported 54,497 Covid-19 cases on Friday, up 2.3% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 1.3% in the previous seven days. It was the third-largest daily increase since the state started reopening on May 4.Deaths among Florida residents reached 2,413, an increase of 2.1%.Overall, case numbers had been trending downward. Governor Ron DeSantis has often attributed out-of-trend upticks to “data dumps” from laboratories, but it wasn’t immediately clear if that was the case Friday.NYC Set to Reopen June 8 (1:30 p.m. NY)New York City will start reopening some businesses on June 8, Governor Andrew Cuomo said, as officials meet the set of metrics the state is following to end the mandatory lockdown. The city could see 400,000 workers back on the job as the first phase of reopening begins, he said.A sticking point for the city is a high infection rate in some communities. Cuomo said the overall rate is about 20% but that in some neighborhoods in the Bronx and Brooklyn, the rate exceeds 40%. The governor said officials will concentrate on those hot spots next week, which he said will set the stage for reopening. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the subways, commuter rail and bus services, is preparing for the return of workers, he said.“Reopening does not mean we’re going back to the way things were,” Cuomo said. “We go forward.”Sanofi Seeks Assurance on Hydroxychloroquine (1:21 p.m. NY)Sanofi decided to temporarily suspend the recruitment of new Covid-19 patients for hydroxychloroquine trials until it has reassurance on safety, the French drugmaker said in an emailed statement Friday.The drugmaker also put on hold the release of supplies of hydroxychloroquine for off-label use in Covid-19 until safety concerns are cleared up by the World Health Organization, according to the statement. The antimalarial drug has been touted as a Covid-19 treatment by President Donald Trump, who said he had used it.U.S. Spread May Have Started in January: CDC (1 p.m. NY)The coronavirus may have started spreading in U.S. communities during the second half of January or in early February, weeks before the first known patients that weren’t linked to international travel were diagnosed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The death from Covid-19 of a woman in Santa Clara County, California, who fell ill on Jan. 31, plus the death of an unrelated man between Feb. 13 and 17, show that the virus was established well before the first known case of community transmission was diagnosed on Feb. 26, according to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. A genetic analysis found a single lineage of virus was imported from China between Jan. 18 and Feb. 9, followed by several from Europe.The early transmission was limited. Emergency department records from the same period showed no increase in visits for Covid-like infections before late February, while testing of 11,000 respiratory specimens starting on Jan. 1 found no positive cases before Feb. 20, the report said.“It is not known how many U.S. infections occurred during February and March, but overall disease incidence before February 23 was too low to be detected through emergency department syndromic surveillance data,” the report concluded.U.K. to Taper Pay Support (12:20 pm. NY)The U.K. will gradually taper a job support program for workers hurt by the pandemic, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said in a bid to avert a mass wave of unemployment this summer.Self-employed workers will be offered a further grant in August covering three months of earnings to help weather the lockdown, under plans outlined on Friday. Sunak is asking 1 million firms that furloughed employees onto his wage-subsidy plan to start making contributions.The Chancellor is making the program more flexible to allow furloughed employees to work part-time from July -- a month earlier than previously planned. U.K. programs are currently supporting 10.7 million jobs, at a cost of almost 22 billion pounds ($27 billion).Restaurant Firms Said to Be at Risk (12:40 p.m. NY)Nearly two-thirds of publicly traded restaurants are at risk of bankruptcy as the pandemic batters the industry, with concern highest for small operators and restaurants that specialize in dine-in, Aaron Allen & Associates said in an analysis.Allen’s analysis, which calculated risk scores for 46 companies using metrics such as working capital and earnings, finds 65% in what it calls the “distress zone.” The at-risk companies account for about 73,000 individual U.S. restaurant locations and $85 billion in annual sales.Italy Cases, Deaths Rise (12:15 p.m. NY)Italy’s new cases remained broadly stable on Friday, with 516 more infections, down from 593 a day earlier. Daily deaths rose to 87 from 70 on Thursday, for a total of 33,229.New cases in Lombardy, the hardest-hit region that includes Milan, fell to 354 from 382 Thursday; the daily increase is higher than the average in the past 10 days.Pakistan Has Biggest Single-Day Rise (10:55 a.m. NY)Pakistan’s new cases rose by 2,801 and deaths increased by 57 in the past 24 hours, its biggest single-day increase. The South Asian nation has more than 64,000 cases, the third-most in Asia after India and China.Cases are expected to spike, Pakistan health minister Zafar Mirza said in a televised briefing. The number of tests with positive results has climbed above 20% in the past two days.Pakistan eased its lockdown, opening shopping malls and neighboorhood shops before Eid festivities this week. The government has hinted at a return to a lockdown if cases spike.De Blasio Declines to Give NYC Reopening Date (10:43 a.m. NY)New York Mayor Bill de Blasio again declined to give a specific date for the first phase of the city’s reopening, saying only that he expected it would be in the first two weeks of June. Speaking at his daily briefing Friday, the mayor said New York still needs to meet a set of metrics required by the state and city. He repeated his plan to announce the reopening without giving businesses any advance notice. New York City remains the only region of the state still under a lockdown order.Vaccine Unlikely to Kickstart U.S. Economy: Survey (10:27 a.m. NY)Investors think Moderna Inc.’s experimental Covid-19 inoculation wouldn’t be enough to unlock the economy, an Evercore ISI survey showed. The survey of over 100 investors -- more than half of whom specialize in health care -- found there’s a 43% probability that Moderna’s vaccine would be sufficient to set the U.S. economy aright, analyst Joshua Schimmer wrote in a note. Still, a majority expect the next update on mRNA-1273 will be positive and predicted emergency use authorization will be granted in the fourth quarter and regulatory approval in 2021.Portugal Cases Rise Most in 3 Weeks (9:35 a.m. NY)Portugal reported 350 new cases on Friday, the biggest daily increase in three weeks, with new infections mostly in the Lisbon region. Total cases stand at 31,946 after cases rose for five days. New deaths were 14, bringing the total to 1,383. New cases near Lisbon have come from some construction projects, some companies and certain neighborhoods, Director-General of Health Graca Freitas said Friday. Portugal started easing confinement measures on May 4 and plans to further loosen restrictions on June 1.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

05/29/2020 06:21 PM
FedEx named as suitor for German parcel company

FedEx named as suitor for German parcel companyAccording to a report in German newspaper Handelsblatt Today, FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) is pursuing an ownership stake in German parcel company Hermes.The article identified the Memphis-based transportation and logistics giant as the likely suitor to partner with Hermes to expand the company's parcel distribution service, but listed Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) and the logistics arm of Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA) as interested parties.Hermes competes in major European markets in Germany, France and the United Kingdom and presents a growth opportunity for FedEx to increase market share and gain scale in comparison to DHL's (Deutsche Post CXE: DPW.D.IX) dominance in the region.In its Wednesday financial report for the fiscal year ended Feb. 29, Hermes' parent, Hamburg-based online retailer Otto Group, said it was planning to bring on a "strategic partner for European parcel deliveries" within the financial year. The company noted the parcel unit has been successful acquiring new corporate customers and experienced peak season-like parcel deliveries during April. Hermes reported adjusted external revenue growth of 10.9% for the recent fiscal year and management expects smaller but "still significant" external growth in the current fiscal year.Hermes is investing "heavily" in logistics infrastructure by expanding its European network of parcel collection hubs in efforts to build out its international, cross-border parcel business. Further, the unit has e-mobility initiatives in place as it pursues zero-emission delivery throughout Germany by 2025. Hermes is on better operating footing given improved growth trends but still faces cost obstacles like wage increases for delivery agents, which they describe as being in "increasing shortage."FedEx finds itself in a transformation to improve sagging earnings and adapt to the ever-evolving supply chain, which favors online sales and e-commerce. Acquiring an interest in a European parcel carrier would advance the company's e-commerce pursuits and provide it with another growth avenue.The recent reshaping of FedEx has included further efforts to minimize its reliance on the U.S. Postal Service as a delivery option, seeking new partnerships with online retailers (firing Amazon as a customer) and the start of combining its long-siloed air and ground offerings.In April, FedEx announced plans to further reduce expenses and preserve liquidity, which included a full drawdown of its $1.5 billion credit facility. The surge in online purchasing has created an unfavorable shift in mix to smaller residential shipments as larger B2B shipments have been negatively impacted by shutdown ordinances. The recent balance sheet and cost-cutting efforts are designed to help navigate COVID-19-related headwinds that have negatively impacted the company's operations.The deal may be a smoother path to profitability in the region as FedEx continues to incur significant expenses integrating and restructuring the 2016 acquisition of Netherlands-based TNT Express. Through its fiscal third quarter of 2020, FedEx reported $168 million in integration expenses related to the acquisition after recording $325 million in similar expenses during the 2019 fiscal year.Otto Group's management described negotiations to sell a portion of Hermes as at an "advanced stage."See more from Benzinga * Deep Space Truckin' With NASA SpaceX Demo-2 launch (with video) * Tech battle: Omnitracs Claims Platform Science Infringed On Its Technology Patents * With Eye On Rebound, United Looks For Alternative To Furloughs(C) 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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05/30/2020 12:00 PM
Hedge Funds Aren’t Done Selling United Rentals, Inc. (URI)

Hedge Funds Aren’t Done Selling United Rentals, Inc. (URI)The latest 13F reporting period has come and gone, and Insider Monkey is again at the forefront when it comes to making use of this gold mine of data. We at Insider Monkey have plowed through 821 13F filings that hedge funds and well-known value investors are required to file by the SEC. The 13F […]

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