Oil Prices Rise After Deal on Cutting Production: Live Updates

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Peter Navarro, the White House trade adviser who was among the first to warn President Trump about the potential economic damage from the coronavirus, is now warning that a prolonged shutdown could pose a more dire long-term health threat to the United States than the virus itself.

“It’s disappointing that so many of the medical experts and pundits pontificating in the press appear tone-deaf to the very significant losses of life and blows to American families that may result from an extended economic shutdown,” Mr. Navarro said in an interview with The New York Times.

In memos that he wrote in January and February that circulated in the West Wing, Mr. Navarro warned that the coronavirus was a crisis that could inflict trillions of dollars in economic damage and take millions of lives.

Mr. Trump has been criticized for being slow to heed such warnings. In recent weeks the president’s economic advisers have clashed with his health experts over how to balance containing the virus and mitigating the economic fallout. Mr. Navarro, a protectionist who has been known to engage in heated debates with the free-traders in the administration, has been locked in heated debates with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s top infectious disease expert, whose pronouncements measures needed to slow the spread of the virus have begun to frustrate Mr. Trump’s allies.

In a tweet on Monday, Mr. Trump said a decision on when to reopen the economy “will be made shortly!”

Condé Nast, the most glittering of all magazine publishers, is the latest media casualty of the coronavirus pandemic.

Roger J. Lynch, the chief executive of the company behind Vogue, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, sent a memo on Monday to 6,000 employees around the world to inform them of an austerity plan that includes pay cuts, furloughs and possible layoffs.

“It’s very likely our advertising clients, consumers, and therefore our company, will be operating under significant financial pressure for some time,” Mr. Lynch said in the note. “As a result, we’ll need to go beyond the initial cost-savings measures we put in place to protect our business for the long term.”

Those earning $100,000 or more — approximately just under half the company — will have their salaries reduced by 10 to 20 percent for five months, starting in May, the memo said. Executives in the senior management team, including Anna Wintour, the artistic director and Condé Nast’s best-known figurehead, will have their pay cut by 20 percent. In addition, Mr. Lynch said he would forgo half of his salary.

The company plans to implement three- or four-day workweeks for some employees in markets such as Britain and the European Union, “in particular where government programs and stimulus packages can help supplement employees’ earnings,” Mr. Lynch wrote in the memo.

Condé Nast is not directly asking for government money, but is instead exploring the use of relief programs and stimulus packages in certain regions for furloughed or laid off employees.

Airlines and movie theaters are hurting. Grocery stores and streaming services are raking it in. As the coronavirus profoundly alters daily life in America, among the most immediate effects of the crisis are radical changes to how people spend their money.

A New York Times analysis of data from Earnest Research, which tracks and analyzes credit card and debit card purchases of nearly six million people in the United States, provides a strong snapshot of the impact of the virus on the economy. Some companies like Walmart, Amazon and Uber Eats have seen spikes in purchases. But customers of many other businesses have simply disappeared, the data shows.

How people spend determines which companies survive, and who has a job. In recent weeks, more than 16 million workers in the country have filed for unemployment. Government data on how the shift in spending played out in March is expected to be released later this week. With no end to the outbreak in sight, consumer spending is likely to be fundamentally different for many months to come.

U.S. stocks fell on Monday, a retreat that followed on of Wall Street’s best weeks in decades, as investors weighed the implications of a deal to cut oil production and awaited the release of quarterly earnings reports from corporate America.

The S&P 500 was down nearly 2 percent at 1:30 p.m. Major European markets were closed for the Easter holiday.

Investors on Monday were sifting through the implications of a number of developments over the long weekend. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other major countries said on Sunday they would trim output to put a floor under crude oil prices, and shares of energy companies were higher.

Monday’s decline came after the S&P 500 had rallied more than 12 percent last week, as investors took heart in signs of progress in the fight against the coronavirus and expansive new measures from the Federal Reserve to help ensure companies and local governments can access credit markets.

But the recent optimism will be tested as big companies report earnings for the first three months of the year.

Analysts expect that S&P 500 companies will report a 10 percent drop in profits for the first quarter of 2020, compared to the same period last year. But that will only be the start prolonged period of declining profits — known as an earnings recession — that is expected to last for at least a year, according to data from Refinitiv.

Earnings for the second quarter are expected to be even worse, dropping more than 20 percent. But if commentary from companies about the coming quarter are particularly dire, those expectations could be revised sharply lower, potentially setting off another stumble in a stock market that has shown signs of stabilizing.

SoftBank warned investors on Monday that the value of its tech fund may have dropped by as much as $16.7 billion over the last fiscal year, a surprise announcement that came as the coronavirus rocked a portfolio already weakened by losses on big bets like WeWork.

SoftBank has used its $100 billion purse to make huge wagers on companies, like WeWork and Uber, that it believed could fundamentally remake industries, drive out competitors and generate gigantic profits.

But in a statement posted to its website, SoftBank said it anticipated that the fund would record a loss of 1.8 trillion yen for the fiscal year that ended in March “due to the deteriorating market environment.”

The loss will be partially offset by revenue from Softbank’s other businesses, with the company saying it expects to end the year 1.35 trillion yen in the red — its first annual loss in 15 years.

While the coronavirus has been devastating for many firms, Softbank’s investments in tech companies that provide services like ridesharing and hotel booking have made it particularly vulnerable to the economic disruptions caused by the pandemic.

In October, the company pledged almost $10 billion to bail out WeWork after its highly anticipated initial public offering fell apart over allegations of mismanagement. In March, Softbank’s bet on satellite start-up OneWeb went bad when the company announced it had filed for bankruptcy and planned to sell itself.

SoftBank said last month that it would sell down $41 billion dollars of its assets to shore up its cash position and finance an $18 billion investment in its own shares.

Smithfield Foods said Sunday that its Sioux Falls, S.D., plant, one of the nation’s largest pork processing facilities, would remain shut indefinitely after a number of employees were infected with coronavirus.

It came after Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota said on Saturday that nearly 240 workers at the plant had tested positive for the virus — about half of the state’s total number of cases.

Many meat processing facilities have been hit hard by the virus. Three workers have died at a Tyson Foods poultry plant in Camilla, Ga. Tyson also shut a pork plant in Iowa after an outbreak there among workers. JBS USA, the world’s largest meat processor, confirmed the death of one worker at a Colorado facility and shuttered a plant in Pennsylvania for two weeks.

In a statement announcing the closure, Smithfield’s chief executive warned that the closures are threatening the U.S. meat supply. The shuttered plant produces about 4 percent to 5 percent of the country’s pork, Smithfield said.

One day after oil-producing nations agreed to the largest-ever production cut, the reaction in oil markets on Monday was largely muted. Although prices briefly jumped at the start of trading, they eventually lost their gains.

Brent crude, the international benchmark was unchanged at $31.47 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate, the main U.S. marker, was up 1 percent to $22.98 a barrel.

As large as the cut is — 9.7 million barrels a day, beginning in May, reflecting about 10 percent of global output during normal times — many traders and analysts have said it is insufficient and too late to avoid a huge glut of supplies in the current quarter.

There is also skepticism about the degree to which a wide range of countries will comply to the deal. Mexico’s success in reducing its proposed share of the overall cut from 400,000 to 100,000 barrels a day may well be repeated by other countries, some analysts said.

“It’s simply too late to prevent a superlarge inventory build of over one billion barrels,” wrote analysts from Citigroup in a note to clients on Sunday.

Still, the agreement marked an unprecedented coordinated effort by Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United States to stabilize oil prices and, indirectly, global financial markets. It will head off the huge production increases that Saudi Arabia and its allies were planning for earlier this month and, over time, is expected to help reduce inventories.

Saudi Arabia and Russia typically take the lead in setting global production goals. But President Trump — facing a re-election campaign, a plunging economy and American oil companies struggling with collapsing prices — took the unusual step of getting involved after the two countries entered a price war a month ago. Mr. Trump had made an agreement a top priority.

Analysts expect oil prices, which soared above $100 a barrel only six years ago, to remain below $40 for the foreseeable future.

“This is at least a temporary relief for the energy industry and for the global economy,” said Per Magnus Nysveen, head of analysis for Rystad Energy, a Norwegian consultancy. “The industry is too big to be let to fail.”

Airlines have canceled a staggering number of flights, but thousands still take off every day, leaving many of the people needed to keep them running to reckon with whether to continue working and how to stay safe if they do.

For Molly Choma, a flight attendant for Alaska Airlines, those remaining flights provided a financial cushion. After the pandemic halted the photography business she has nurtured on the side, she took on flights from colleagues who could not, or would not, staff them.

Already, hundreds of flight attendants and pilots have fallen ill and at least five have died from the coronavirus, according to to the labor unions that represent them.

Though the industry secured $25 billion from the federal government to pay employees through September, the future remains bleak. It took several years for passenger volume to rebound after the terrorist attacks in 2001, a shock less severe than the current crisis, which is seen by many as the worst in the history of aviation.

Catch up: Here’s what else you need to know.

  • Ford Motor said on Monday it expects to report a loss of $600 million before interest and tax in the first quarter as its wholesales of vehicles fell by 21 percent compared to a year earlier. The company reported a profit of $2.4 billion before interest and tax in the first quarter of 2019.

  • Amazon said on Monday that it would hire another 75,000 workers, after it already added 100,000 new employees over the past month. On Sunday, the company said that it had put some restrictions on its grocery pickup and delivery service, but still expected that finding available delivery windows would be “challenging for customers.”

  • After slashing the majority of its trips domestically and abroad, United Airlines said it would add a few international routes next month. The carrier plans to start daily service on May 4 on three routes: Chicago to London, Newark to Amsterdam and Washington to Frankfurt. It also plans to offer three flights a week between Washington and Buenos Aires starting on May 5.

Reporting was contributed by Ben Dooley, Stanley Reed, Niraj Chokshi, Edmund Lee, Vanessa Friedman, David Gelles, Lauren Leatherby, David Yaffe-Bellany, Vikas Bajaj, Michael Corkery, Matt Phillips, Mohammed Hadi, Clifford Krauss, Katie Robertson and Carlos Tejada.




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