The tech rally wasn't enough to lift stocks for a third-straight day: May 6, 2020

By CNN Business

Updated 12:23 a.m. ET, May 7, 2020
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5:05 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Manufacturing could be the first sector to bounce back

From CNN Business' Pamela Boykoff

Manufacturing will probably be the sector to bounce back because it's easier to socially distance workers in factories compared to service jobs, Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker told CNN's Richard Quest Wednesday.

Harker said while the Philadelphia Fed recently released a dismal index of current manufacturing activity, the future outlook was not that bad.

"It's best exemplified by one of our contacts who has told us that, yes, he's not producing right now, but people aren't canceling orders. They're just delaying the shipment. That's a good sign."

Harker isn't worried about investor appetite for U.S. debt after the Treasury Department said it will borrow $3 trillion just this quarter, but he believes when this crisis is over, some fiscal discipline will be called for across the U.S. economy.

4:05 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Stocks finish mixed

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

US stocks ended mixed on Wednesday, with the Dow and the S&P 500 snapping a two-day winning streak.

The two stock benchmarks had started the session stronger, buoyed by optimism over the reopening of the economy. But the rally fizzled out.

Investors digested ADP’s employment report that showed a 20.2 million drop in jobs last month. And now they turn their attention to Thursday’s weekly jobless claims report and Friday’s jobs report.

  • The Dow finished 0.9%, or 218 points, lower.
  • The S&P 500 closed down 0.7%.
  • The Nasdaq Composite ended 0.5% higher. It was its third gain in a row.
4:15 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

United backs off plan to force shorter hours on workers

From CNN's Pete Muntean

United Airlines is backing off its plans to cut employees' hours by 10 hours a week. But it still wants fewer hours for most of its employees.

The new "voluntary" program is a "new solution that meets our need to cut costs,” said United CEO Greg Hart in a memo to employees.

Full-time employees who agree to a reduction in hours would go from a 40 to 30-hour weeks, while retaining their full-time status. Part-time employees would go from 20 to 10-hour weeks.

Tuesday, the Machinists union, which represents 27,000 baggage handlers, customer service employees and other employees who work on the tarmac servicing planes, filed a suit seeking to block what was then a mandatory reduction in hours.

While the program is voluntary, Hart made it clear that it could become mandatory.

“We will monitor the participation rates and report back to you on the program’s performance at the end of June. Without a high level of participation, we will have no choice but to reconsider a mandatory reduction to 30 hours for our full-time employees.” he wrote.

The union says the change is a victory for the union's action.

"Thanks to your hard work and solidarity, we have won an important battle, we have not yet won the war," said Sito Pantoja, vice president of the union's transportation department, in a letter to members.

2:26 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Another 3 million initial jobless claims are expected tomorrow

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

There's no end in sight for coronavirus-related job losses.

Economists expect another 3 million Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits in the week ended May 2.

If tomorrow's jobless claims report does come in at that level, it would bring total first-time filings since mid-March to more than 33 million.

These figures are staggeringly high -- weekly jobless claims were hovering around about 200,000 in the last few years before the crisis -- but it would also be the fifth week in a row that claims have fallen.

Economists say the downward trend is is a good sign but doesn't help the brutal overall picture of the job market during the pandemic.

2:02 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Norwegian Cruise Line will raise more than $2 billion

From CNN Business' Chris Isidore

Norwegian Cruise Line said Tuesday there's "substantial doubt" about its ability to stay in business. But it will still be able to raise more than $2 billion.

Norwegian said today that there's more than enough demand for its sale of corporate debt announced Tuesday -- so it's raising the amount of debt on offer to $1.825 billion, up from $1.6 billion as originally planned.

The cruise line is also selling an additional $400 million in equity. And if underwriters exercise options to buy additional debt and equity, the amount Norwegian raises could increase to $2.4 billion.

When and if the deals go through, Norwegian said will have approximately $3.5 billion in liquidity. "The additional liquidity alleviates management’s concern about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern for the next 12 months," the company added.

Along with the rest of the industry, Norwegian halted cruises in March. It plans to restart sailings as early as this summer, but Norwegian said the company can get by even if it has to go 12 months without new sailings.

Shares of Norwegian, which plunged 22.6% Tuesday on its warning, were off less than 1% in midday trading Wednesday.

1:43 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

April was probably the worst month for American jobs since the Great Depression

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

Millions of Americans who are out of work won't need statistics to confirm what they already know: Their livelihoods have been hard hit by mass business closures during the coronavirus pandemic.

But the government's official jobs report, released Friday, will give one of the most comprehensive overviews of that economic fallout. By all accounts, it's expected to be a chilling report, showing layoffs surged and unemployment rose to Great Depression levels in April.

The report, which will be released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday at 8:30 am ET, will inform policymakers as they continue to respond to the crisis, and it will document how severely stay-at-home orders have hurt American workers.

Economists polled by Refinitiv expect the US economy shed 21.85 million jobs in April, by far the largest number on record. The US government's monthly jobs data dates back to 1939.

Read more about Friday's historic jobs report here.

1:20 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Fed action has helped the bond market. But now it's all about how the reopening pans out: analyst

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

The Federal Reserve has taken unprecedented steps to support markets and the economy during the coronavirus crisis.

Some are already bearing fruit, said said Dominique Toublan, head of US credit research at BNP Paribas.

The Fed intervention has made the bond market come back from a very distressed state in March to recession level now," Toublan told Alison Kosik on the CNN Business digital live show Markets Now.

Corporate bonds are now trading sideways, he added, reflecting that the market is no longer stressed but also worries about how reopening of the economy will pan out, he said.

The Fed expanded its program to include so-called fallen angels, companies whose credit ratings were recently cut from investment grade to junk. But while the Fed has helped rebuild liquidity in credit markets, the central bank won't help insolvent companies through the crisis.

Some companies will have a harder time surviving the crisis or holding onto their ratings, including those in the energy, leisure and travel sectors, he said.

For now, companies might be looking to issue new debt to shore up their cash buffer. New issuance should peak this month, just after earnings are done, Toublan said.

You want to have liquidity," he said. "You don't want to have high leverage."
1:21 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

DraftKings CEO says there is huge pent-up demand for live sports

From CNN Business' Paul R. La Monica

DraftKings CEO Jason Robins is still bullish about the future of live sports -- even though professional and collegiate athletics in America have ground to a halt due to Covid-19.

"We're better capitalized than we ever have been," Robins told Alison Kosik on the CNN Business Markets Now show Wednesday, adding that he hopes sports will return this fall.

The National Football League is still planning to go ahead with its season, and is will announce its schedule on Thursday. That should be a big boost for the company.

Robins said he thinks there is a lot of pent-up demand to watch (and bet on) football as well as any other games that might take place later this year. The Masters golf tournament, for example, has been rescheduled to November from April.

DraftKings is also rolling out other features beyond sports betting and fantasy sports leagues. The company just launched online casino games for customers in Pennsylvania, including virtual blackjack, roulette and slots machines.

Robins noted that DraftKings also has betting centered around esports leagues as well as fantasy contests about buzzworthy reality TV shows like Tiger King and Survivor.

Investors remain optimistic. Shares of DraftKings (DKNG), which went public last month through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company, were up 9% Wednesday and have soared more than 30% since the stock began trading.

11:17 a.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Stocks are having a volatile morning

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

It's a volatile morning for the US stock market. About half an hour into trading, both the Dow and the S&P 500 turned negative, while the Nasdaq Composite also retraced some of its gains.

The Dow has now covered nearly 300 points between its low and high-points of the session.

The index has since recovered, up 0.2%, or 40 points. The S&P 500, which also dropped into negative territory earlier, is back up 0.3%.

One way or another, the benchmarks have come off their earlier highs. Lower oil prices are once again weighing on energy and industrial stocks, while financials are also weaker. Dow Inc. (DOW), Chevron (CVX) and American Express (AXP) are among the worst performers in the Dow.

The Nasdaq Composite is the best performer of the three majors, up 1.1%.