The more than $1B the White House is allocating for vaccine development is part of a broader $2.5B request to combat the coronavirus outbreak. The rest of the money would be used for therapeutics and the stockpiling of personal protective equipment such as masks. The DHHS had already tapped into an emergency infectious disease rapid response fund and is seeking the immediate transfer of more than $130M from other HHS accounts.
Diving deeper into the U.S. grocery industry, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is opening its first full-size, cashierless store in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle. The 10,400 sq. ft. location has been five years in the making, and will stock roughly 5,000 items, including fresh produce, meats, bakery treats and alcohol. It incorporates the same technology found in the two dozen or so Amazon Go locations, and will source some items similar to Whole Foods, which it paid $13.7B for in 2017.
Go deeper: ‘2020 Will Be Amazon’s Comeback Year’ by D.M. Martins Research.
General Electric (NYSE:GE) shed almost 78,000 employees in 2019, or more than a quarter of its workforce, as divestitures left the conglomerate with the same number of personnel as it had in 1951. GE sold its oil and gas business to Baker Hughes (NYSE:BKR) in 2017 but kept a majority stake until last year, while its transportation business was merged with Wabtec (NYSE:WAB) in early 2019, transferring those workers. “Our work is by no means finished, but we are on the right path,” CEO Larry Culp wrote in his second annual letter to shareholders.
Go deeper: Revenue from GE’s Life Sciences division continues to stagnate, writes Shock Exchange.
OPEC and its allied oil-producing nations are still working to rebalance global crude markets amid speculation of tensions in the alliance over whether to cut output further. “We do communicate with each other and we did not run out of ideas,” Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said at the ICCUS conference. Crude tumbled more than 5% at its session low on Monday, falling into bear market territory as the number of coronavirus cases surged outside of China.
Juul Labs (JUUL) plans to present to federal regulators a new version of its vaporizer designed to unlock only for users at least 21 years old, WSJ reports. It’s part of an application that the company must file to keep its products in the U.S. market as vape manufacturers face a May 12 deadline to submit their devices to the FDA for review. Marlboro maker Altria (NYSE:MO), which owns a 35% stake in Juul, has been assisting Juul with the application.
“Following our disappointing 2019 business performance… we recognize that we have been pursuing growth in an unhealthy and undisciplined way,” Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE) wrote to staff in an internal email. As a result, the travel group is laying off 12% of its workforce, or about 3,000 employees, in an effort to “streamline and focus” under chairman Barry Diller following the removal of its CEO and CFO late last year. The cuts are not connected to the coronavirus outbreak, though Expedia said earlier it expects a $30M-$40M loss in the current quarter due to the disease.
Mallinckrodt (NYSE:MNK) tanked 19% into the close on Monday following a report stating that the company was considering a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing for its U.S. generics business. The company was also said to have begun confidential discussions with creditors as it deals with fallout (debt maturities and liabilities) from the opioid crisis. Shares are now up 19% in premarket trade after disclosing a settlement that would resolve all opioid-related claims, and earnings that beat expectations.
Shares of Mastercard (NYSE:MA) fell 3% in extended trading after the company warned that the coronavirus could hurt its 2020 revenue due to “cross-border travel, and to a lesser extent cross-border e-commerce growth.” United Airlines (NASDAQ:UAL) further withdrew its FY 2020 guidance, citing “heightened uncertainty” surrounding the current outbreak. Moving in the opposite direction are shares of Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA), which climbed 15% AH on news it shipped the first batch of its mRNA-1273 vaccine to U.S. government researchers to be used in a planned phase 1 study.
Go deeper: Coronavirus fears are putting IPOs on hold.
The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. has jumped to 53, most of them connected to the Diamond Princess (NYSE:CCL) cruise ship. Moving east… Hong Kong extended school closures till mid-April, a cabin crew member of Korean Air tested positive for the coronavirus and the CDC raised the U.S. travel advisory alert for South Korea, where cases have risen to 893. Japan’s health minister also said it’s too early to talk about canceling the 2020 Olympics, while China fully banned trade and consumption of illegal wildlife.