US stocks rise on optimism about reopening the economy: May 5, 2020

By CNN Business

Updated 5:34 p.m. ET, May 5, 2020
21 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
3:00 p.m. ET, May 5, 2020

IBM CEO Arvind Krishna: We need a government standard on transitioning back to in-office work

From CNN Business' Clare Duffy

IBM's new CEO Arvind Krishna is calling on the government to create standards to guide companies on how to help employees return to the office after working from home.

“My hope is that government can help in giving us all some common standards, otherwise, we may return to work but a client we call on may have a different standard," Krishna said in an interview with CNN's Julia Chatterley Tuesday. "That would cause a lot of mayhem." 

Krishna took over as chief executive of the tech giant from Ginni Rometty on April 6, as the company grappled with the fallout from coronavirus. Not long before that, IBM (IBM) had sent about 95% of its staff to work from home.

Now, IBM plans to start returning workers to the office in the coming weeks, a process Krishna said will “happen in waves.” He added that getting workers safely back to the office will be aided by social distancing measures, personal protective equipment, testing and other protocols. He said he doesn’t expect all employees to be back in the office until the end of the year. 

In the meantime, Krishna and others at IBM have signed the “IBM Work From Home Pledge,” in an effort to help employees feel supported as they continue working remotely. 

The pledge includes promises to support, among other things, “flexibility for personal needs” and “‘not camera ready’ times.” 

Just because we’re at home, we shouldn’t be working all the time,” Krishna said. “It’s okay to be video sensitive, there may be things happening in the background we don’t want to expose to video. It may be okay to say, ‘I need 30 minutes in the middle of the day to cater to a child, or a pet, or a parent.’ … Coming to really a new normal of how we work with each other is essential.”
4:17 p.m. ET, May 5, 2020

Job openings have collapsed since early March, Glassdoor says

From CNN Business' Anneken

The coronavirus crisis is reshaping America's labor market.

More than 30 million people have filed for first-time unemployment benefits since mid-March as businesses hunkered down for the countrywide lockdown to minimize the spread of the virus. It's no surprise that companies put hiring decisions on the backburner.

Job openings have dropped 28% since early March, according to research from career website Glassdoor.

Two in three employers have decreased their job openings, while a quarter of employers have pulled down all job openings.

Although these declines were broad-based, even including the health care jobs, the travel and tourism industry was hit the hardest by the declines in job postings, with openings down 79% since early March, according to the report.

1:11 p.m. ET, May 5, 2020

Apple sets a date for its virtual WWDC developer event

From CNN Business' Rishi Iyengar

The online-only edition of Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference will take place on June 22, the company announced Tuesday. 

The conference will be streamed live on Apple’s developer website and app. 

“WWDC20 will be our biggest yet, bringing together our global developer community of more than 23 million in an unprecedented way for a week in June to learn about the future of Apple platforms,” Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, said in a statement. 

Apple said in March that it would conduct WWDC virtually for the first time in 31 years because of the coronavirus. The global pandemic has forced the cancellation of several of the tech industry's biggest events this year, including Facebook's biggest annual conference F8, tech and music festival SXSW, and the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

WWDC is the tech giant's platform for sharing software updates.

At last year's WWDC, Apple announced that it would phase out iTunes, redesign Apple Maps and add a much-requested dark mode to iPhones, iPads and the iPod touch. This year, it is expected to pull back the curtain on iOS 14 and the new Mac and iPad operating systems.

The pandemic hasn't prevented the tech giant from rolling out new hardware — it has launched new versions of its iPad Pro, MacBook Air and iPhone SE in the past two months.

12:14 p.m. ET, May 5, 2020

Stocks rally to session highs at midday

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

Stocks continue their rally at midday, with all three major stock benchmarks at session highs.

Investors appear to be optimistic about the reopening of the economy in some states.

12:12 p.m. ET, May 5, 2020

‘Very, very terrible.’ White House economist warns of 20% unemployment by April 

From CNN Business' Matt Egan

The US unemployment rate may have skyrocketed to 20% in April, two months earlier than anticipated, White House economist Kevin Hassett warned Tuesday.  

“We’re looking at probably the worst unemployment rate since the Great Depression,” Hassett told CNN’s Poppy Harlow. 

Last week, Hassett told CNN that the US jobless rate could hit 20% in June, up from just 4.4% in March.  

Now, Hassett, a senior economic adviser to President Donald Trump, thinks Friday’s jobs report will show unemployment climbed above 16% to “maybe as high as 19% to 20%” in April. He cited the recent spike in weekly jobless claims.

It’s a tremendous negative shock. A very, very terrible shock,” Hassett said. 

Economists polled by Refinitiv expect the unemployment rate hit 16% in April. That would be the highest level of unemployment since the tail end of the Great Depression in 1939.  

The hope is that the jobless rate will go back down, perhaps sharply, as social distancing restrictions are lifted.  

The risk is that a second wave of infections -- or Trump's latest threats to impose tariffs on China -- hinders the recovery.

Hassett told CNN that his 20% unemployment forecast does not include the potential loss of jobs from new US-China tariffs.

Watch the interview here:

11:19 a.m. ET, May 5, 2020

Meat mishaps sends Wendy's stock lower

From CNN Business' Jordan Valinsky

The national meat shortage has come for Wendy's. The fast food chain says some menu items are unavailable, and one analyst estimates nearly one in five of Wendy's restaurants are out of beef.

Around 1,000, or 18%, of Wendy's 5,500 US restaurants are not serving any hamburgers or other meat-based items, according to an analysis of online menus at every location conducted by financial firm Stephens.

Wendy's (WEN) said some of its menu items might be "temporarily limited at some restaurants in this current environment."

Shares fell nearly 4% Tuesday. Read more here.

10:52 a.m. ET, May 5, 2020

Oil spikes another 20% as gasoline demand shows signs of life

From CNN Business' Matt Egan

Demand for gasoline is recovering from a historic collapse. And that’s lifting oil prices sharply higher. 

US crude spiked another 20% to $24 a barrel on Tuesday morning. Oil hit an intraday high of $24.48 a barrel, the highest level since April 13.  

Although oil prices remain at depressed levels, they’ve raced back to life since late April on hopes that the worst of the unprecedented decline in demand could be over as some US states begin to reopen. 

Gasoline demand in the United States climbed on Monday to the highest level since March 16, according to GasBuddy. Demand is now up 19% from April 6, the lowest Monday for gasoline demand.  

The sharp rebound in oil prices is boosting oil stocks, which have been crushed this year by the crash.

All 27 members of the S&P 500 energy sector (XLE) traded higher Tuesday morning, led by 6% spikes by Occidental Petroleum (OXY), Concho Resources (CXO) and Apache (APA). ExxonMobil (XOM) and Chevron (CVX), the largest US oil companies, rallied 3% apiece.  

Even President Donald Trump, who normally roots for cheap oil, cheered the recovery in the energy market. 

“Oil prices moving up nicely as demand begins again!” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.  

11:44 a.m. ET, May 5, 2020

Slack CEO: We’ll likely be the last to go back to the office

From CNN's Pamela Boykoff

 Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield is in no rush to bring his employees back to the office. 

In an interview with CNN’s Julia Chatterley, Butterfield said he’s told employees the earliest possible return to the office is for the company is September 1.

We're not an organization that needs to go first. I don't think there's any kind of prize for that. We're surviving pretty well in this work from home and remote work environment. So, no pressure to come back to the office and I think we're likely to go last," Butterfield said.

He said the announcement got a mixed response from his workforce, some of whom appreciate the time and safety precautions, while others crave a return to normalcy.  

Slack has more than 2,000 employees in 16 offices around the world, from San Francisco to Sydney, Australia.

10:27 a.m. ET, May 5, 2020

US services index drops to 11-year low

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

America's services sector is unsurprisingly struggling during the coronavirus lockdown.

The non-manufacturing purchasing managers' index for April dropped to 41.8 points from 52.5 points in March, according to the Institute for Supply Management. That's the worst reading since March 2009, but it's actually slightly better than economists had feared.

Still, any reading below 50 signals economic contraction.

The ISM index is based on a nationwide survey of executives in non-manufacturing industries. The only two of these industries that reported growth in April were public administration, and finance and insurance.

Meanwhile a different services PMI survey, from IHS Markit, showed the sharpest index decline since reporting began in 2009.

The outlook for business activity in the services sector over the coming 12 months also fell, on worries about when the lockdown will end and fears about how long a recovery will take. That's the first recorded instance of pessimism for the outlook in the history of the report.

Markit's composite PMI, which accounts for both the services and manufacturing sectors, also recorded its sharpest decline on record.