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MarketWatch MarketPulseMay 28, 2020
Dollar General blows past estimates for first-quarter earnings as pandemic spurs demand
Dollar General Corp. shares rose 1.1% in premarket trade Thursday, after the retailer's first-quarter earnings blew past estimates amid strong demand during the coronavirus pandemic. The Goodlettsville, Tenn.-based discount store chain said it had net income of $650 million, or $2.56 a share, in the quarter, up from $385 million, or $1.48 a share, in the year-earlier period. Sales rose 27.6% to $8.4 billion from $6.6 billion. The FactSet consensus was for EPS of $1.75 and sales of $7.6 billion. Same-store sales rose 21.7%, well ahead of the 8.7% FactSet consensus. "Same-store sales increased in each of the consumables, seasonal, home products and apparel categories, with the largest percentage increase in the home products category," the company said in a statement. "The company believes consumer behavior driven by COVID-19 had a significant positive effect on net sales and same-store sales." Dollar General has paid about $60 million in bonuses to front-line workers, and temporarily adjusted benefits and leave politics to give workers paid time off if they need to care for a loved one with the virus. It has provided masks, gloves and other protective equipment to workers and implemented social-distancing measures inside stores and distribution centers. To enhance its liquidity position, the company issued $1.0 billion of 3.5% senior notes due in 2030 and $500 million of 4.125% senior notes due in 2050. As of May 1, it had $2.7 billion in cash and cash equivalents as well as $1.1 billion of availability under a revolving credit facility. The company said it is still seeing elevated demand in the current quarter, but withdrew full-year guidance because of the uncertainty created by the pandemic. Shares have gained 20% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 has fallen 6%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulseMay 28, 2020
Disney downgraded to underperform at Imperial on concerns about theme parks, film business in pandemic
Imperial Capital downgraded Walt Disney Co. shares to underperform from in-line on Thursday, on expectations the company's theme parks and film business will be hurt by the coronavirus pandemic. Analyst David Miller lowered his stock price target to $105 from $107, about 14% below its current level. Disney shares have climbed 21.2% in the last four weeks, and "we think that based on our experience, the stock has risen too far too fast and the performance is simply due to excitement around the prospects of the domestic theme parks re-opening, for which Disney submitted a plan to Orange County, Florida government officials just yesterday," Miller wrote in a note to clients. The stock also got a boost from the official re-opening of "Disney Springs" in Florida on May 15, a small shopping complex that will have little effect on the company's earnings, said Miller. The analyst is advising investors to take profit on Disney stock as it looks like a name that should be traded rather than owned, at least for now, he wrote. Disney shares were down 0.4% premarket and have lost 16% in the year to date, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost 10%.

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MarketWatchMay 28, 2020
Need to Know: Why hedge-fund manager Bill Ackman says he dumped Berkshire Hathaway but held on to these winners
Pershing Square Capital Management hedge-fund manager Bill Ackman told investors on a call on Wednesday that he is dumping Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway. The stocks he bought more of and is keeping are worth paying attention to.

MarketWatch MarketPulseMay 28, 2020
COVID-19 case tally: 5.71 million cases, 356,042 deaths after U.S. death toll tops 100,000
The global case tally for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 climbed to 5.71 million on Thursday, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University. The death toll rose to 356,042. More than 2.4 million people have recovered. The U.S. has the highest case toll in the world at 1.7 million and the highest death toll at 100,442. Brazil has 411,821 cases and 25,598 deaths, while Russia has 379,051 cases and 4,142 fatalities. The U.K. has 268,619 cases and 37,542 deaths, the highest death toll in Europe and second highest in the world after the U.S. Spain has 236,259 cases and 27,117 deaths, while Italy has 231,139 cases and 33,072 deaths. France has 183,038 cases and 28,599 deaths, while Germany has 181,918 cases and 8,449 deaths. Turkey has 159,797 cases and 4,431 deaths and India has 158,613 cases and 4,540 deaths. Iran has 141,591 cases and 7,564 deaths. Peru has 135,905 cases and 3,983 deaths. Canada is next with 88,989 cases and 6,876 deaths. China, where the disease was first reported late last year, has 84,106 cases and 4,638 deaths.

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MarketWatch MarketPulseMay 28, 2020
Amazon shifting 125,000 temporary workers to permanent employees Inc. said Thursday that 125,000 of the 175,000 workers the e-commerce giant hired on a temporary basis will be converted to permanent full-time employees starting in June. Regular full-time roles have a minimum wage of $15 per hour. The workers were brought on board to help Amazon meet coronavirus-related demand, with many planning to go back to previous companies when states re-open. "As the long-term picture becomes more clear" and unemployment soars, Amazon is giving this option. Amazon stock slipped 1.1% in Thursday premarket trading, but has rallied 30.4% for the year to date. The S&P 500 index is down 6% for 2020 so far.

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MarketWatch MarketPulseMay 28, 2020
Boeing's stock rally could add nearly 50 points to the Dow's price
Shares of Boeing Co. rallied 4.5% ahead of the Thursday's, to pace all of the Dow Jones Industrial Average's premarket gainers, after the aerospace giant said it was cutting nearly 7,000 jobs and slowly restarting production of its 737 MAX aircraft, which the company had halted in January. The stock's implied price gain would add about 46 points to the Dow's price, while Dow futures rose 156 points. Boeing also said late Wednesday that it was seeing "green shoots" after the COVID-19 pandemic led to a virtual halt of air travel, with some of its airline customers reporting that reservations are now outpacing cancellations for the first time since the pandemic started.

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MarketWatch MarketPulseMay 28, 2020
Dollar Tree shares jump after earnings beat expectations
Dollar Tree Inc. shares jumped 3.4% in Thursday premarket trading after the discount retailer reported first-quarter earnings and sales that beat expectations. Net income totaled $247.6 million, or $1.04 per share, down from $267.9 million, or $1.12 per share, last year. Sales totaled $6.29 billion, up from $5.81 billion last year. The FactSet consensus was for EPS of 85 cents and sales of $6.14 billion. Same-store sales increased 7%, with Family Dollar up 15.5% and the namesake Dollar Tree down 0.9%. Dollar Tree's same-store sales were hurt by declines during the Easter holiday, with the party, candy and Easter categories down 490 basis points, according to a statement from Mike Witynski, enterprise president of the company. However, the chain bounced back with discretionary sales improving for things like Mother's Day, balloons and graduation, according to Gary Philbin, chief executive of Dollar Tree. "With more than 38 million Americans filing unemployment claims in the past nine weeks, we believe that Dollar Tree and Family Dollar are part of the solution to help millions of families stretch their budgets to help make ends meet," Philbin said in a statement. Dollar Tree's portfolio of stores are considered essential businesses with all 15,300-plus stores open for business. Store hours have been modified for cleaning and restocking, contactless payment options have been added and other measures taken in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Dollar Tree previously withdrew its guidance, and expects capex for the year of $1.0 billion compared with the previous expectation of $1.2 billion. Dollar Tree ended the quarter with $1.76 billion in cash after drawing down $750 million from its revolving line of credit. Dollar Tree stock is down 7% for the year to date while the S&P 500 index has fallen 6% for the period.

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Autodesk shares fall after earnings beat (MarketWatch MarketPulse)

MarketWatch MarketPulseMay 27, 2020
Boeing to lay off nearly 7,000 workers, resumes 737 Max production
Shares of Boeing Co. jumped more than 5% in the extended session Wednesday after the jet maker announced the layoffs of 6,770 U.S. workers, with the first employees affected being notified this week. International locations also are planning layoffs that will be announced on their own timelines, Boeing said. "The COVID-19 pandemic's devastating impact on the airline industry means a deep cut in the number of commercial jets and services our customers will need over the next few years, which in turn means fewer jobs on our lines and in our offices," Boeing said. Boeing said it is seeing "green shoots" after the devastation wrought by the virtual halt on air travel, but the industry will take "some years to return to what it was just two months ago." Some of its airline customers report that "reservations are outpacing cancellations on their flights for the first time since the pandemic started," Boeing said. Some of its businesses, such as defense, will continue hiring, the company said. In a separate press release, the company announced it was resuming production of its 737 Max aircraft in Renton, Wash. The program restarted at a low rate as the company implements safety and product quality checks, it said. Boeing halted the 737 Max production in January. Production "will gradually ramp up" this year, the company said. The 737 Max has been grounded worldwide following two deadly crashes less than five months apart that were linked to a faulty anti-stall system. Shares of Boeing ended the regular trading day up 3.3%.

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