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

By CNN Business

Updated 5:34 p.m. ET, May 5, 2020
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7:48 a.m. ET, May 5, 2020

Fiat Chrysler posts large loss but says merger with PSA Group remains on track

From CNN Business' Chris Isidore

Fiat Chrysler reported sharply lower sales and a 471 million euro ($510 million) loss. But it said it plans to move ahead with its merger of PSA Group, the European automaker that makes Peugeot cars.

Production at its auto plants in Italy and China were down for much of the first quarter, and for the last part of March at its North American plants. But production has restarted in China and at one of its Italian plants, and it said it is "fully prepared to restart production as conditions allow."

It did not give any guidance on second quarter results or even where sales stood in April in its earnings statement. In the first quarter revenue fell 3.9 billion euros, or $4.2 billion, a drop of 16%. Shipments to dealers worldwide declined by 21%.

Shares of Fiat Chrysler were narrowly higher in European trading on the report.

8:20 a.m. ET, May 5, 2020

Pfizer begins US trials for potential Covid-19 vaccine

From CNN Business' Jordan Valinsky

BioNTech SE has begun its first human trials of a potential Covid-19 vaccine in Germany last week.
BioNTech SE has begun its first human trials of a potential Covid-19 vaccine in Germany last week. BioNTech SE

Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech SE (BNTX) shares rallied in premarket trading after announcing a significant step in trials for a Covid-19 vaccine.

The companies said Tuesday "first participants have been dosed" in the United States following a trial in Germany last week.

Roughly 360 healthy people in two age groups (18-55 and 65-85 years old) will be given the potential vaccine in the clinical trial.

Pfizer CEO said the shortened timeframe for moving from "pre-clinical studies to human testing is extraordinary." If successful, the vaccine could be distributed in the US by the end of the year.

6:54 a.m. ET, May 5, 2020

Starbucks says 85% of its US stores will reopen this week

From CNN Business' Jordan Valinsky

Starbucks (SBUX) said it will have "responsibly reopened" roughly 85% of its US stores by the end of the week following an extended closure spurred by the coronavirus pandemic.

Drive-thru and orders made ahead on its app or Uber Eats will be allowed, but dine-in services have been suspended. It expects 90% of its stores to have reopened by early June.

Starbucks shares rose 3% in premarket trading after the announcement.

6:40 a.m. ET, May 5, 2020

Gold's Gym files for bankruptcy

From CNN Business' Jordan Valinsky

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Gold's Gym has filed for bankruptcy.

Coronavirus has affected the company "deeply and in many ways," the company said, including the temporary closures of many of its 700 global gyms.

The 55-year-old company said that filing for Chapter 11 will help the it "emerge stronger and ready to grow" and intends to exit bankruptcy by August 1.

Gold's Gym said in a statement that it's "absolutely not going anywhere" and doesn't intend to permanently close any more gyms than the 30 it shuttered last month.

6:13 a.m. ET, May 5, 2020

US stock futures are rising

From CNN Business' Jordan Valinsky

US stock futures are pointing to a higher opening as the economy gets back on its feet following closures because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Here's where futures stand at 6:15 am ET:

Stocks ended slightly higher Monday after starting the session in the red.

6:34 a.m. ET, May 5, 2020

Hertz shares plummet 25% after reported bankruptcy preps

From CNN Business' Jordan Valinsky

Car rental giant Hertz (HTZ) tumbled roughly 25% in premarket trading after a report that it's prepping for bankruptcy.

The Wall Street Journal reported late Monday that Hertz hired an "additional adviser" to help guide it through bankruptcy. The company, which has $17 billion in debt, missed a lease payment last week, according to the newspaper.

Hertz faces two problems: Coronavirus has obliterated travel demand and travelers are increasingly using ride-hailing services for their trips.

Shares of Hertz will be down more than 100% for the year if the premarket losses hold.

5:58 a.m. ET, May 5, 2020

L Brands stock tumbles after Victoria's Secret deal collapses

From CNN Business' Jordan Valinsky and Nathaniel Meyersohn

Victoria's Secret owner L Brands (LB) said late Monday that it had called off a deal with private equity firm Sycamore Partners to take the retailer private, just three months after the two companies reached a $525 million agreement.

"As part of L Brands' strategy, the company remains committed to establishing Bath & Body Works as a pure-play public company," and is preparing for Victoria's Secret to operate as a separate company, L Brands said in a news release.

The deal was already in jeopardy after Sycamore Partners informed Victoria's Secret parent company L Brands of its decision to pull out of the agreement last week.

L Brands' stock sunk 9% in premarket trading.

Read more here.

5:55 a.m. ET, May 5, 2020

United Airlines COO says employees should 'seriously consider' voluntary separation

From CNN Business' Pete Muntean

A top executive at United Airlines (UAL) is telling employees to consider leaving the company voluntarily as it grapples with the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a memo to some United Airlines staffers, which was obtained by CNN Business, Greg Hart — the company's chief operations officer — said the airline will need to "right size" its workforce.

"You may want to seriously consider if you're in a position to take a voluntary separation," Hart wrote. He added, "You, alone, can decide if a [Voluntary Separation Program] works for you and your family."

Hart said executive salaries have been cut and that the airline is trying to be transparent with its rank-and-file workforce.

The airline is precluded from laying off staff for the next six months under terms of a federal financial assistance package that will provide it with about $5 billion, though it is preparing to cut staff as soon as Oct. 1.

Read more here.