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Market falls after new Covid strain causes U.K. to lock down, U.S. lawmakers finalize stimulus deal

Stocks fell on Monday as enthusiasm over a coronavirus stimulus deal was overwhelmed by worries over a viral new Covid strain in the U.K.

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Stocks fell on Monday to start the holiday week as enthusiasm over a coronavirus stimulus deal was overwhelmed by worries over a viral new Covid strain in the U.K.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 168 points. The S&P 500 shed 1.3% and the Nasdaq Composite fell 1.2%. Tesla dropped as much as 6% as it entered the S&P 500 with a 1.69% weighting in the index, the fifth largest. Dow-component Nike jumped more than 6% to hit a record high on the back of strong earnings.

Now with a stimulus package agreed upon, investors may also be seeking to lock in profits after an unexpected banner year. With only two trading weeks left in 2020, the S&P 500 is up 13.6% for the year, while the 30-stock Dow has risen 5.2%. The Nasdaq Composite has rallied 40.7% this year as investors favored high-growth technology companies.

Travel-related stocks came under pressure on news of an infectious new coronavirus strain in the U.K., which triggered more severe lockdowns and travel restrictions across Europe.

Norwegian and Royal Caribbean cruise lines’ shares each dropped more than 3%. American Airlines slid 5.2%, while United Airlines fell more than 4%. More than two-dozen countries from Italy to India to El Salvador have banned flights from the U.K. or travelers who have been in the country. Meanwhile, shares of companies that would be hit by stricter lockdown measures fell, including Wynn Resorts and Gap.

“There was actually a lot of encouraging news this morning, although it’s being overshadowed (for now) by the gloomy headlines out of the U.K.,” wrote Vital Knowledge’s Adam Crisafulli in a note to clients. “The market has been in a tug-of-war between the very grim near-term COVID backdrop and the increasingly hopeful medium/long-term outlook (driven by vaccines) – the latter set of forces are more powerful in aggregate, but on occasion the market decides to focus on the former, and stocks suffer as a result.”

Some of the megacap tech names also led the declines. Apple and Alphabet both fell more than 1%, while Facebook dropped 2.5%.

The losses came even as lawmakers reached an agreement on a $900 billion relief package, which would provide direct payments and jobless aid to struggling Americans. The announcement came after negotiators resolved a key sticking point by rolling back the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending powers.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that the stimulus money will go out as soon as next week.

Congress passed a one-day spending bill to avoid a government shutdown that would have started at 12:01 a.m. ET Monday. President Donald Trump signed the measure late Sunday evening, according to White House spokesman Judd Deere.

Lawmakers will vote on the relief and funding bill on Monday.

The major averages hit record highs recently amid optimism toward fresh coronavirus stimulus as well as the vaccine rollout. Moderna is shipping its first batch of vaccine doses after receiving approval for emergency use from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Meanwhile, the vaccine by Pfizer and BioNTech is being distributed to front-line health-care workers around the country.

The U.K. strain “doesn’t seem to have mutated the surface proteins of the virus in a way that they would slip past our vaccines or prior immunity. In fact, we don’t think that that’s the case,” Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “But what this does suggest is that eventually this vaccine probably will evolve its surface proteins in a way that they won’t be recognized by the antibodies we have right now, and we will have to update our vaccines.”

Gottlieb said the Covid virus did not seem to be mutating its proteins as rapidly as the seasonal flu and estimated that vaccines would need to be updated about every three years.

Eli Lilly said Monday that its Covid antibody therapy “should maintain full activity against the new strain” identified in the U.K.

“Covid mutations are a reality, and there is at least some disappointment around what’s actually in the stimulus deal, which means we may see this translate into volatility as we narrow in on the end of 2020,” said Chris Larkin, managing director of trading and investing product at E-Trade.

On Friday, the Fed announced it will allow the nation’s big banks to resume share buybacks in the first quarter of 2021 subject to certain rules. JPMorgan shares were up almost 3%.

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Travel-related stocks came under pressure on news of an infectious new coronavirus strain in the U.K., which triggered more severe lockdowns and travel restrictions across Europe.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/12/20/stock-market-futures-open-to-close-news.html

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Airbnb says first-quarter revenue rose 5% as vacationers return to travel

Airbnb’s net loss tripled, but the company expects its adjusted margin to improve in the second half of the year as travel restrictions ease up.

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Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky attends the Cannes Lions on June 20, 2016, in Cannes, France.

Richard Bord | Getty Images

Airbnb said revenue increased 5% in the first quarter, beating analysts’ estimates, as the rapid pace of vaccinations led to more travel. The company’s net loss tripled because of debt repayments and restructuring costs.

Here’s how the company did:

  • Earnings: Loss of $1.95 per share
  • Revenue: $886.9 million, vs. $714.4 million as expected by analysts, according to Refinitiv.

The increase in year-over-year revenue followed a 22% decline in the fourth quarter.

The coronavirus pandemic considerably curtailed rental activity on Airbnb, but the business appears to be recovering as vaccines becomes more widely available and governments lift travel restrictions. The company reported 64.4 million nights and experiences booked, up 39% from the fourth quarter and up 13% year over year. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected 62.5 million nights and experiences booked.

Booking nights dropped in every quarter last year compared with the same period in 2019.

Gross booking value, Airbnb’s way of tracking host earnings, service fees, cleaning fees and taxes, totaled $10.3 billion, up 52% year over year and above the $7.87 billion FactSet consensus.

Airbnb’s net loss tripled as it repaid debt for loans it took out early in the pandemic, and as the company continued to pay restructuring fees following layoffs. It also had a $113 million impairment related to office space in San Francisco.

Its average daily rate rose 25% from the prior quarter to $160, reflecting an increase in the amount customers are spending for homes and experiences. Airbnb pointed to strength in bookings in North America, along with complete homes and locations outside cities, all of which tend to bring higher rates. The company said 24% of nights booked came from stays of at least 28 days, compared with 14% in 2019.

“The two trends I do think are going to invert are we are going to see a recovery of urban travel and a recovery of cross border,” Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said on a conference call with analysts. “This has been our bread and butter before the pandemic, and I think those are significant tailwinds for us.”

Chesky talked about the potential to offer deals to travelers who can be flexible about when they travel.

“There’s a lot of other opportunities for us, I think, to point demand to where we have available supply, which will allow us to steadily increase occupancy,” he said.

Cancellation rates are now considerably lower than in 2020 but remain higher than they were in 2019, said Dave Stephenson, the company’s finance chief.

The company issued general commentary on the quarters ahead, saying that in the second quarter its adjusted earnings margin before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization could break even or be slightly positive. That margin was -7% in the first quarter, and it should be higher in the second half of the year than the first half, Airbnb said in a letter to shareholders.

“We expect revenue in Q2 2021 to be significantly higher than that of Q2 2020, given the impact of Covid- 19 on the prior year period, and to be at a similar level to that of Q2 2019,” the company said. “In Q2 2021, we expect the positive momentum of recovery experienced in Q1 2021 to be partially offset by the continued uncertainty of travel restrictions and lockdowns in EMEA.”

The company said it’s too soon to say whether the recovery in the first half of the year will keep the same pace in the second half.

“Although we have seen booking lead times start to lengthen when compared with Q4 2020, we continue to have limited visibility for growth trends in the second half of 2021,” Airbnb said. “With the increased availability of vaccines and the easing of some travel restrictions, there has been greater willingness by guests to search for and book travel later in the year. Offsetting this is the difficulty in predicting factors such as future Covid-19 outbreaks or travel restrictions globally, which impact the actual rate at which guests complete their stays (at which point we recognize revenue).”

Airbnb reported financials for the second time as a public company, having completed its IPO in December. Airbnb shares have fallen about 8% since the start of 2021, while the S&P 500 is up about 10% over the same period.

WATCH: Airbnb CEO on the campaign to attract more hosts as demand surges

  • Earnings: Loss of $1.95 per share
  • Revenue: $886.9 million, vs. $714.4 million as expected by analysts, according to Refinitiv.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/13/airbnb-abnb-earnings-q1-2021.html

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Disney misses on subscriber expectations, parks revenue still hurt by Covid restrictions

Disney+ had been bolstering the company’s success as it was losing out on business from Covid restrictions, but it seems the rapid growth is starting to slow.

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In this handout photo provided by Walt Disney World Resort, guests stop to take a selfie at Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort on July 11, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Matt Stroshane | Walt Disney World Resort | Getty Images

Disney reported second quarter results Thursday, posting lower-than-expected revenue and subscriber counts for its streaming service.

The company’s stock dipped around 3.5% in after-hours trading.

  • Earnings per share: 79 cents vs 27 cents expected in a Refinitiv survey of analysts
  • Revenue: $15.61 billion vs $15.87 billion expected in the survey

Streaming

The company missed on subscriber estimates for Disney+, coming in at 103.6 million paid subscribers. It was expected to post 109 million, according to FactSet.

The streaming service had been bolstering the company’s success as it was losing out on business from Covid restrictions, but it seems the rapid growth is starting to slow. Still, the company reiterated its plans to see between 230 million to 260 million subscribers to Disney+ by 2024.

“This quarter’s numbers were exactly as we projected internally, so no disappointment here,” CEO Bob Chapek told CNBC’s Julia Boorstin.

Average monthly revenue per user dipped 29% year over year to $3.99, which the company attributed to the launch of Disney+ Hotstar. The service has lower average monthly revenue per paid subscriber than traditional Disney+ in other markets, pulling down the overall average for the quarter.

Disney CFO Christine McCarthy said on the company’s earnings call that excluding Hotstar, average revenue per paid Disney+ subscriber would have been $5.61 in the quarter.

Average monthly revenue per paid subscriber grew slightly for Disney’s other direct-to-consumer platforms, ESPN+ and Hulu.

The company said it now has around 159 million total subscribers across its streaming services as of the end of the second quarter. Revenue for Disney’s direct-to-consumer business grew 59% to $4 billion, which has helped offset losses in other segments affected by the pandemic.

Disney announced it is also extending its MLB contract through 2028 and that it signed an eight-year soccer deal with LaLiga.

Parks

Revenue at Disney’s parks, experiences and products segment fell 44% to $3.2 billion, as many of its theme parks were either closed or operating at reduced capacity and its cruise ships and guided tours were suspended.

The company said the outbreak cost this division around $1.2 billion in lost operating income during the latest quarter.

Disney recorded a one-time $414 million charge during the quarter for impairments and severance for the planned closure of an animation studio and Disney-branded retail stores, and severance paid to workers at its parks and and resorts businesses.

Disney reopened its two California-based parks on April 30, so any revenue garnered over the last few weeks is not reflected in the fiscal second-quarter results. However, the parks’ reopening could boost expectations for the fiscal third quarter.

“We are very encouraged by the initial guest response,” McCarthy said, adding that forward-looking bookings are strong as coronavirus case counts decline and vaccines ramp up.

Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said earlier Thursday fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a face mask or stay six feet away from others in most settings, whether outdoors or indoors. Chapek pointed toward the new guidance as good news for the company, saying in the earnings call it will be a bigger catalyst for growth and attendance.

“I think in relatively short order you’re going to see our attendance go up significantly,” Chapek later told CNBC.

As of Thursday, Disney’s Paris-based theme park is the only location that has not reopened to the public.

Content sales and licensing revenues fell 36% for the quarter to $1.9 billion. The award-winning “Nomadland” was Disney’s only theatrical release in the U.S. over the quarter (it debuted simultaneously on Hulu). “Raya and the Last Dragon,” Disney’s latest animated feature, also debuted in some theaters internationally. It was made available on Disney+ Premier Access for $30.

Several Marvel titles are on the horizon, such as “Black Widow,” “Eternals,” “Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings,” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home” as well as “Cruella,” “Jungle Cruise,” “Free Guy,” “Encanto” and “West Side Story.”

The company said that “Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings” and “Free Guy” will be released first in theaters, with an exclusive 45-day window. Disney said earlier Thursday its blockbuster film “Jungle Cruise” will debut in theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access on July 30.

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Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/13/disney-dis-q2-2021-earnings.html

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As much as $365 billion wiped off cryptocurrency market after Tesla stops car purchases with bitcoin

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Tesla would suspend car purchases using bitcoin, wiping off billions of dollars of value from the cryptocurrency market.

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Artur Widak | NurPhoto | Getty Images

GUANGZHOU, China — Hundreds of billions of dollars were wiped off the entire cryptocurrency market after Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the electric vehicle maker would suspend car purchases using bitcoin.

At around 6:06 a.m. Singapore time on Thursday when Musk made the announcement, the value of the whole cryptocurrency market stood at around $2.43 trillion, according to data from Coinmarketcap.com.

Around 8:45 a.m., the market capitalization had dropped to around $2.06 trillion, wiping off around $365.85 billion. The market has pared some losses. Since Musk’s tweet, the cryptocurrency market had seen $165.75 billion wiped off its value at around 9:22 a.m. Singapore time.

In February, Tesla announced in a regulatory filing that it had purchased $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin and planned to accept the cryptocurrency for payments.

Musk cited environmental concerns on Thursday and said Tesla is “concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel.”

Bitcoin is not issued by a single entity like a central bank. Instead, it is maintained by a network of so-called “miners.” These miners use purpose-built computers that require a lot of energy to solve complex mathematical puzzles in order for bitcoin transactions to go through. Bitcoin’s energy consumption is larger than some individual countries.

At around 9:34 a.m. Singapore time, bitcoin was down over 12%, dipping below the $50,000 mark for the first time since Apr. 24, according to CoinDesk data. Despite the recent pullback, bitcoin is still up over 400% in the last 12 months.

Other cryptocurrencies ether and XRP were also sharply lower.

Musk has been a big proponent of digital currencies including bitcoin and dogecoin, helping to drive their prices higher in recent months.

The Tesla CEO said the company will not be selling any bitcoin and intends to use it for transactions “as soon as mining transitions to more sustainable energy.”

Bitcoin has garnered interest in the last year as companies such as Square and Tesla announced bitcoin purchases and large institutional investors entered the cryptocurrency space. Major investment banks like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have also sought ways to allow their wealthy clients to get bitcoin exposure.

Around 8:45 a.m., the market capitalization had dropped to around $2.06 trillion, wiping off around $365.85 billion. The market has pared some losses. Since Musk’s tweet, the cryptocurrency market had seen $165.75 billion wiped off its value at around 9:22 a.m. Singapore time.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/13/bitcoin-btc-price-falls-after-tesla-stops-car-purchases-with-crypto.html

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