Plus, New Jersey Governor Murphy said the state may have to layoff 200,000 due to a $10.1 billion revenue shortage amid the coronavirus crisis, GM will reopen its American plants starting Monday, and Nordstrom shares are down after the department store reported net sales fell 40% last quarter.
Stocks were lower to start Friday with the Dow down 197 points, or 0.8%. The S&P 500 fell 0.5%, while the Nasdaq traded 0.1% lower.
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President Donald Trump is today expected to hold a news conference “on China,” but did not give details on what would be discussed. The White House declined to comment on the content of the news conference, with advisors saying they didn’t want to get ahead of the president by discussing it ahead of time. Still, the announcement alone was enough to send markets lower. Trump is also expected to sign a measure sent by Congress that would punish Chinese officials for imprisoning more than one million Muslims in internment camps as he seeks to rebuke China for its crackdown in Hong Kong and response to the coronavirus.
Twitter isn’t backing down after Trump signed an executive order yesterday targeting the liability protections social media companies enjoy. The company slapped a “public interest notice” on a tweet Trump posted that it said violated its rules regarding the glorifying of violence. “We’ve taken action in the interest of preventing others from being inspired to commit violent acts, but have kept the Tweet on Twitter because it is important that the public still be able to see the Tweet given its relevance to ongoing maters of public importance,” Twitter said Friday morning. In the tweet in question, Trump said “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” in reaction to the protests in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd.
In coronavirus news, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he expects the city to begin reopening in the first two weeks of June. The city, which has been the hardest hit area in the country, still needs to meet a set of metrics required by the state and city before reopening, de Blasio said. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said that New Jersey may have to cut half of the state’s 400,000 public employees if the federal government doesn’t help it make up a $10.1 billion revenue shortage through June 2021 due to losses from the coronavirus shutdown. “I don’t think there’s any amount of taxes that begins to fill the hole” left by the coronavirus, Murphy told Bloomberg. “The alternative to not getting that funding is a whole lot of layoffs – we think as much as 200,000 or more.”
General Motors said that it plans to significantly increase production at its U.S. plants beginning Monday as part of a gradual reopening of its North American operations in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The automaker plans to return its American plants that produce its profitable pickup trucks to pre-coronavirus levels, and will begin to reopen a plant in Texas that builds large SUVs like its Chevrolet Silverado and Cadillac Escalade. “Our comprehensive safety procedures are working well, and our suppliers have done a great job implementing their return-to-work strategies and safety playbooks,” GM said in a statement. “We are now in a position to increase production to meet strengthening customer demand and strong dealer demand.”
Nordstrom shares are down more than -10% this morning after the department store retailer reported that net sales fell 40% in the first quarter, even as the company said that it is confident it remains in a strong financial position to weather the coronavirus storm. Around 40% of its department stores are now reopen for business after being forced to close in March, and said that it expects all stores to be open by the end of June. Nordstrom reported a loss of $3.33 per share on revenue of $2.12 billion in the first quarter. “We’re entering the second quarter in a position of strength, adding to our confidence hat we have sufficient liquidity to successfully execute our strategy in 2020 and over the longer term,” CEO Erik Nordstrom said in a statement.
Stocks We’re Watching
Arca Biopharma Inc (NASDAQ: ABIO): Arca Biopharma shares closed 386% higher yesterday after the biotech announced a new development program to evaluate its AB201 (rNAPc2), a potent, selective inhibitor of tissue factor (TF), as a potential treatment for COVID-19 associated coagulopathy (CAC) and the related inflammatory response. “During this global health crisis, we believe it is important to rapidly and collaboratively evaluate multiple technologies to address COVID-19 and the associated pathologic host responses,” said Arca’s President and CEO, Dr. Michael Bristow. “The combination of anticoagulation, anti-inflammatory effects and antiviral activity have the potential to make AB201 a unique therapeutic to treat patients afflicted with COVID-19 while vaccine development is underway and for patients for whom a vaccine is not effective. We believe this therapeutic approach may also have potential to address future outbreaks of diseases related to other RNA viruses.”
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