During this week we saw how economies started opening again after the coronavirus driven shutdown, World stocks are having their best month on record Thursday, with encouraging early results from a coronavirus treatment trial using the drug Remdesivir & expectations of more European Central Bank (ECB) stimulus later in the day, helping to ease the economic & financial pain of February, March & early April.
U.S. stock markets are on course for the best monthly performance in years, the Dow at the best monthly performance since 2002, up +17.62% & the S&P 500 +18.98% best results since 1974. The tech heavy Nasdaq, will come in with the best results since 1987, at +21.11%.
Gilead Sciences reports that in a clinical trial, its experimental antiviral drug remdesivir did indeed help improve outcomes for patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The development of treatments for the virus has been seen by experts as critical, as they will help countries emerge from self-imposed lock-downs.
Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell slashes its dividend for the 1st time since World War II, after profits were eliminated by a historic collapse in oil demand, caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Its quarterly dividend will be cut to 16 cents per share, from 47 cents previously. Posted a net loss of -$24M for Q1 of 2020, vs. profit of +$6B in Q1 2019. Shares down -8% in early Thursday trading.
Alphabet (Google) posted strong Q1 figures even as it saw a March slowdown. Many big travel booking names cut their multi-billion-dollar ad budgets by 50%-80%, & Alphabet revenues are still dominated by advertising 99% from Google, & 84% of that from ads. In Q1, the firm grew revenues 13% & operating income 19%, lifted by a strong 1st 2 months.
President Trump signs executive order using the U.S. Defense Production Act that compels slaughterhouses to remain open as part of the critical infrastructure needed to keep people fed, setting up conflict between the giant companies that produce America’s meat & the unions & activists who claim to want to protect workers in a pandemic.
Bolivian Parliament calls for presidential elections; The Bank of Japan expanded its stimulus efforts; General Motors suspends quarterly dividend and share buyback; 30 million unemployment claims in the US; Big increase in the price of Bitcoin.