Stocks close out April with their best monthly gains since 1987: April 30, 2020

By CNN Business

Updated 6:40 a.m. ET, May 1, 2020
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12:35 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Teladoc CEO: "Massive surge" in demand for virtual doctor visits

From CNN Business' Paul R. La Monica

People still need to see doctors for routine checkups and care even if they don't have any Covid-19 symptoms. That's a big reason why business is booming for virtual health company Teladoc.

Teladoc (TDOC) reported a more than 40% jump in revenue for its latest quarter after the closing bell Wednesday, topping Wall Street's forecasts. In an interview with CNN Business Thursday morning, Teladoc CEO Jason Gorevic said that remote visits nearly doubled in the quarter -- to more than 2 million.

"We see this growth persisting into the future," Gorevic said. "We're seeing massive growth in not just general medical visits but also for mental health and dermatology. There is a proliferation across all specialties and significant demand from more physicians looking to be able to use the platform."

The good news may have already been priced into the stock, which has nearly doubled in 2020. Shares fell about 6% Thursday. But Gorevic thinks Teladoc will remain a leader in an increasingly crowded field of virtual health providers and companies offering in-home medical care.

He also isn't too concerned about possible competition from Amazon (AMZN), which recently acquired online pharmacy PillPack and is also partnering with JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) on a healthcare venture named Haven.

"There are plenty of rumors about Amazon and other techs getting into the space," Gorevic said. "But we see them more likely as partners than competitors. There is a difference between providing technology solutions and actually providing health care."

10:44 a.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Frontier is requiring passengers to wear masks

From CNN Business' Jordan Valinsky

Frontier is the second US airline to require passengers to wear masks or face coverings on flights beginning May 8.

"This new measure is aligned with CDC recommendations and those of many municipalities within the US that include wearing a face covering when out in public," Frontier CEO Barry Biffle said in a press release.

Customers must wear masks when they're around Frontier ticket counters and gate areas, as well as during flights. Young children will be exempt from the policy.

JetBlue (JBLU) announced a similar policy on Tuesday.

10:40 a.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Nasdaq Composite turns positive

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

An hour into the trading day, the Nasdaq Composite pared its modest losses and briefly turned green.

The index was last up 0.1%, pushed higher by gains in consumer and tech stocks.

All major US benchmarks are on track for a historically good performance this month, and the Nasdaq is looking at its best gain since June 2000.

10:54 a.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Comcast sees high-speed internet bump, but movies and theme parks take a hit

From CNN Business' Frank Pallotta

For Comcast (CMCSA), the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic are a mixed bag.

The cable company reported its first-quarter earnings on Thursday and revealed it added 477,000 high-speed internet customers during the period -- the best quarterly result in 12 years.

But Comcast's movie and theme park units were hit particularly hard. Sales for the company's film unit fell 22.5% from last year, while theme-park sales fell 31.9%. 

NBCUniversal's CEO Jeff Shell spoke a bit about the future of the movie theater business on Comcast's earnings call.

"The question is when we come out of this, what is going to be the model? And I would expect that consumers are going to return to the theaters, and we will be a part of that," Shell said. "I would also expect that [premium video on demand] is going to be a part of that offering in some way."

AMC Theatres (AMC) said this week that it would ban Universal's movies after comments Shell made about the success of the studio's animated film, "Trolls World Tour," which bypassed theaters for a digital release.

Overall, Comcast’s first-quarter profit dropped nearly 40% to $2.1 billion and sales fell almost 1%. Shares were down about 4.5% early Thursday.

9:34 a.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Stocks open lower

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

US stocks opened lower on the last trading day of the month.

Some more bleak jobs data weighed on market sentiment, as another 3.5 million Americans filed for initial unemployment benefits last week. The total of first-time claims climbed above 30 million over the past six weeks.

Meanwhile in Europe, the European Central Bank said it would take no more action on its key policies, although it did inject some more stimulus into the European economy.

Despite some bleak economic data hinting at the disruption the coronavirus pandemic is causing the economy, it was a historically good month for stocks.

The S&P 500 is on track for its best month since October 1974, and the Dow is looking at its best month since January 1987.

The Nasdaq is on track for its best monthly performance since June 2000.

9:25 a.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Stocks are sinking after another ugly round of US jobless claims and Europe's central bank standing pat

From CNN Business' David Goldman

Investors don't like joblessness. They don't like inaction from central banks. That's why stock futures are sinking this morning.

3.5 million Americans filed for initial jobless claims last week, the Labor Department announced Thursday. That makes 30 million Americans who have filed for initial claims since mid-March.

The ECB said it would take no more action on its key policies, although it did inject some more stimulus into the European economy.

  • Dow futures were down 170 points.
  • S&P 500 futures fell 0.8%.
  • Nasdaq futures dropped 0.2%.
12:56 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Lysol sales are soaring

From CNN Business' Jordan Valinsky

Americans may not know the name Reckitt Benckiser (RBGLY), but it's the maker of one of the most in-demand products right now: Lysol. And it just reported a blowout first quarter.

The British company said sales rose 13.5% because customers are buying a lot of disinfectants to help guard against coronavirus. CEO Laxman Narasimhan noted "strong consumer demand" in March and April.

But Narasimhan also warned the company is "uncertain how quickly this will change in the months ahead."

The near-term operational challenges to meet additional demand and handle lockdown conditions, with the associated costs, are also likely to continue for some time," he said.

Last week, the company garnered global attention when it put out a statement warning people not to consume Lysol after President Donald Trump suggested the possibility of injecting disinfectants to protect people from coronavirus.

8:38 a.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Another 3.8 million Americans filed for initial unemployment last week

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

Another 3.8 million Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits in the week ended April 25.

In total, more than 30 million people have filed first-time claims since mid-March as the coronavirus pandemic is forcing businesses to close and lay off workers.

Read more about the surge in unemployment claims here.

8:12 a.m. ET, April 30, 2020

This is the worst economy in history, Fed says

From CNN Business' David Goldman

How bad is the coronavirus economy? The worst ever, says Fed Chairman Jerome Powell.

"We are going to see economic data for the second quarter that is worse than any data we have seen for the economy," Powell said. "There are direct consequences of the disease and measures we are taking to protect ourselves from it."

The recovery will be long and painful, but the economy could begin to bounce back significantly in the third quarter as businesses reopen, he added. While we won't go back to pre-coronavirus levels for quite some time, the third quarter could provide some economic relief.

"We will enter the new phase -- and we are just beginning to maybe do that -- where we will begin formal measures that require social distancing will be rolled back, gradually, and at different paces in different parts of the country. And in time, during this period, the economy will begin to recover," Powell said.

"People will come out of their homes, start to spend again, we will see unemployment go down, we will see economic activity pick up," he added. Exactly then that happens is "very hard to say," although he reiterated the third quarter could get a "fairly large increase" in economic activity.