Stocks fall…Manufacturing continues to retreat…Construction spending edges higher
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are falling in morning trading on Wall Street as major U.S. companies provide details of how the coronavirus is disrupting their businesses. The S&P 500 lost 2% in the early going but is still on pace for a small gain for the week, which would be its third in the last four weeks. Amazon fell after its profits sank because of a sharp increase in costs related to providing deliveries safely during the pandemic, despite a big increase in revenue. Bond yields rose and the price of oil rose slightly. Many world markets were closed for the May Day holiday.
WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. manufacturing retreated again in April, a victim of economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak. The Institute for Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, says its manufacturing index dropped to 41.5 last month from 49.1 in March. Anything below 50 signals contraction. The news was bad across the board: Production, new orders, hiring and export orders all fell faster in April than they did in March. But economists had expected an even bigger drop.
WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. construction spending edged up 0.9% in March as building activity escaped the early impacts of the coronavirus shutdowns. The Commerce Department says the increase followed a 2.5% drop in spending in February. While the overall figure did not decline in March, analysts believe big drops in activity will start showing up in the April report given the impacts already seen in other parts of the economy. For March, residential construction rose up 2.3% as strength in apartment construction offset a drop in single-family homes. Nonresidential construction fell 1.3%, with spending for hotels and office buildings both declining.
NEW YORK (AP) – Profits are down at Exxon Mobil as the global pandemic reduced demand for oil. The Irving, Texas oil giant lost $610 million in the first quarter, down 126% from the same time last year. The company says revenue was $56.16 billion, down 12% from the same quarter in 2019. But oil producer Chevron turned a profit in the first quarter. It’s reporting $3.6 billion in profits, up 36% from the same time last year. But Chevron says its financial picture is likely to be depressed in the future because of the coronavirus.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – As the coronavirus pandemic continues to force the closure of meatpacking plants across the country, hog farmers have had to respond quickly to a rapidly growing backlog of animals in their barns by killing and disposing of pigs. Many large-scale hog farmers have little choice once barns reach full capacity. Officials estimate about 700,000 pigs across the nation can’t be processed each week and will be euthanized if plants don’t resume operations. To help farmers, the USDA has set up a center that can supply the tools needed to euthanize hogs.