Stocks Shed Gains, As American Private Sector Cuts 20.2 Million Jobs in April

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Stocks pared some gains Wednesday to trade little changed, as investors continued to price in the possibility of more states relaxing restrictive stay-at-home orders that have decimated U.S. economic growth. Earlier, a new report Wednesday morning showed U.S. private sector companies cut a record 20.2 million jobs in April.

Crude oil prices fell for the first time in six sessions. Crude, along with major benchmarks, had been under intense selling pressure as the coronavirus demand shock converged with an oversupplied market, and a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Disney (DIS) reported second-quarter earnings that revealed the scope of how badly the COVID-19 crisis has walloped Corporate America, which sent the stock 2% lower in after-hours dealings.

The entertainment giant saw earnings dive from the comparable year-ago quarter, as park closures dragged on the bottom line. However, revenues were boosted by a double-digit surge in digital properties — including its nascent streaming service, Disney+, which has seen subscribers soar to over 54 million.

Across the U.S., cases as a whole rose to more than 1.2 million, with deaths topping 70,000. In New York state, the latest reported daily death toll was 230 as of Tuesday’s count, roughly flat from the day prior, and fewer than 700 people were newly hospitalized. In California, Governor Gavin Newsom said the state’s lockdown restrictions will begin loosening on Friday, joining a number of other states in slowly kick-starting the business reopening process.

Other states have already begun to reopen businesses — including Georgia, Florida and Texas. Those regions are being watched for signs that loosening the economically crippling stay-in-place orders can provide a boost to economic activity, but without sparking a new wave of infections that could lead to a devastating second round of lockdowns.

Meanwhile, more signs of distress emerged from key industries undermined by social distancing measures at containing the virus’ march.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) said Tuesday it had “substantial doubt” about its “ability to continue” as a “going concern” in the current environment, with the pandemic potentially driving a lasting impact on consumers’ willingness to take cruises – though the company said in an update Wednesday that new financing would allow it to withstand “well over 12 months of voyage suspensions in a potential downside scenario.” Hertz (HTZ) at least temporarily avoided filing bankruptcy after its lenders granted it more time to “develop a financing strategy and structure that better reflects the economic impact of the Covid-19 global pandemic.

— Yahoo Finance

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