U.S. stock market futures trended downward after two straight sessions of declines as Wall Street continues to be concerned over a prolonged economic recession, plus stocks to watch today in the Money & Markets Opening Bell.
The Top Story
The three main U.S. stock market indexes are poised for their worst week since mid-March after comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Investors, however, were hit with a sober outlook by Powell and increased fears of opening too soon by Fauci.
Focus now shifts to weekly jobless claims, which totaled 2.9 million for the week ended May 9. That brought the total number of jobless claims to 36.5 million during the coronavirus pandemic.
Among early stock market movers, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) rose 2% in premarket trading after beating quarterly revenue and profit estimates, as lockdowns globally boosted demand for its remote work tools and networking equipment.
Stocks to Watch Today
Intelsat SA (NYSE: I) — The satellite communications company confirmed it is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in hopes of taking part in the Federal Communications Commission’s build-out of 5G wireless infrastructure. Shares of Intelsat were down more than 35%.
SmileDirectClub Inc. (Nasdaq: SDC) — The teledentistry company reported weaker-than-expected earnings for the first quarter. The company said it lost $107 million, or $0.28 per share in Q1. Shares of SmileDirectClub were down more than 6%.
Sanofi SA (Nasdaq: SNY) — The French-based pharmaceutical company saw its shares drop 2.2% after comments by its CEO that the U.S. would likely receive the first batch of its vaccine received sharp criticism from the French government.
World’s Biggest Wealth Fund Drops $3 Billion in Fossil Fuels
Norway’s $1 trillion wealth fund — the largest in the world — has cut nearly $3.3 billion in fossil fuels from its holdings.
According to Bloomberg, Glencore PLC, Anglo American Plc, utility RWE AG and Canadian oil producer, Suncor Energy Inc. are among the hardest hit by the cuts.
The move comes after the fund trimmed its investments in thermal coal in 2019.
The fund, which owns about 1.5% of listed stocks worldwide, is managed by Norway’s central bank.
JCPenney Approves Bonuses for Executives Ahead of Possible Bankruptcy
After missing $12 million and $17 million debt payments, JCPenney Company Inc. (NYSE: JCP) approved bonuses of $1 million or more for its top four executives.
According to CNN Business, the company paid a $4.5 million bonus to CEO Jill Soltau and $1 million bonuses to its CFO, chief merchant and head of human resources.
The missed debt payments — whose grace period ends this week — suggest a bankruptcy filing is coming.
Large Automakers Halt Dividend Payments to Investors
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (NYSE: FCAU) and Peugeot SA (Over-the-Counter: PUGOY) parent PSA Group have canceled dividend payments that were part of a bigger merger agreement.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the two companies planned a dividend amounting to $1.2 billion each but halted it as a way to save cash amid lagging coronavirus demand. Both companies said the merger — planned to be closed in March 2021 — is still on track.
What We’re Reading
The Bull & The Bear: Why it’s a Great Time to Invest in Gold (Money & Markets)
Consumers Are Having a Tougher Time Getting Credit — And Keeping It (CNN Business)
How Investors Can Play Massive Fed Coronavirus Stimulus (Money & Markets)
Here are the companies releasing earnings reports today:
Applied Materials Inc. (Nasdaq: AMAT)
Denny’s Corp. (Nasdaq: DENN)
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: NCLH)
Sunnova Energy International Inc. (NYSE: NOVA)
Wix.com Ltd. (Nasdaq: WIX)
Check back each morning before the opening bell for stocks to watch today with Opening Bell, here on Money & Markets.