Home Depot, Moderna, Walmart: Stocks That Defined the Week
By Francesca Fontana
Home Depot Inc.
DIY is propping up Home Depot. Locked-down customers turned to
more do-it-yourself repairs during the coronavirus pandemic,
boosting sales at the home-improvement giant. But the increase
wasn't enough to offset costs from boosting workers' pay and
benefits in the recent quarter, the company said Tuesday. Home
Depot kept its stores open as much of the country shut down. Home
Depot shares fell 3% Tuesday.
Hertz Global Holdings Inc.
Hertz has a new driver at the wheel during a tumultuous time.
The car-rental company named Paul Stone as its president and chief
executive and moved ahead on its preparations to file for
bankruptcy. Hertz and rivals such as Avis Budget Group Inc. and
Enterprise Holdings Inc. have come under financial pressure due to
plunging ridership, while its financing costs are rising. The Wall
Street Journal reported on Friday that Hertz is planning to seek
chapter 11 protection in the coming days after failing to reach a
standstill agreement with top lenders. Hertz shares fell 7.5%
A weapon to slow or halt the coronavirus pandemic could be on
the horizon. Drugmaker Moderna said on Monday that the first human
study of its experimental coronavirus vaccine showed promise in
some of the healthy volunteers who were vaccinated. The results
offered a preliminary but promising sign about one of the most
advanced coronavirus vaccines in development, and suggested Moderna
was on track to produce the vaccine for possible emergency use in
the fall. The vaccine still has much to prove -- the results don't
show whether it actually protects people exposed to the new
coronavirus -- but the initial results buoyed optimism and helped
lift the broader market. Moderna shares gained 20% Monday.
When consumers rushed to stock up on essentials during the
pandemic, many looked to Walmart. The country's largest retailer
said on Tuesday that U.S. comparable sales rose 10% in the recent
quarter, during which the new coronavirus upended consumer buying
habits, forced many competitors to temporarily close and led more
than 30 million Americans to file for unemployment. Walmart sales
got a boost in April when shoppers spent government stimulus money,
the company said. The company said it absorbed about $900 million
in additional costs related to Covid-19 and hired 235,000 new
hourly workers to help it staff stores. Walmart shares fell 2.1%
Plans are brewing at Starbucks for more drive-throughs to offset
losses from dining. The coffee company said Thursday that it is
accelerating a schedule to build drive-through and to-go only
locations in the next 12 to 18 months rather than three to five
years due to the pandemic. Starbucks will also close locations in
unpopulated malls. Since it closed dine-in operations starting in
March, Starbucks opened more than 85% of its owned U.S. stores to
drive-through, delivery and carryout earlier this month. The
company has said it expects 90% of its stores to reopen by early
June. Starbucks shares fell 0.4% Thursday.
People are working and playing from home. That is welcome news
for Nvidia, which makes chips that help power laptops, data centers
and videogame consoles. The company's revenue rose 39% in the
recent quarter from a year earlier. The company said late Thursday
that its data-center sales rose 80% to a record $1.14 billion,
lifted by the shift to cloud computing as workers log on remotely.
Millions of people have been playing Nintendo's world-building game
"Animal Crossing" on its Switch console, which uses Nvidia chips.
Revenue at its games segment increased 27% to $1.34 billion. Nvidia
shares added 2.9% Friday.
Mark Zuckerberg is embracing the work-from-home shift. The chief
executive is shifting Facebook toward a substantially remote
workforce over the next decade, permanently reconfiguring the tech
giant's operations. The remote-work changes for new hires will roll
out initially in the U.S. and apply only to senior engineers at
first. Within 10 years, Mr. Zuckerberg expects as many as half of
Facebook's employees to work from home, he told the Journal on
Thursday. Facebook is moving gradually because the shift will
require new techniques and tools to compensate for the loss of
in-person office interactions, he said. Facebook shares added 0.6%
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 22, 2020 19:23 ET (23:23 GMT)
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