Coronavirus live updates: Local governments face massive budget cuts; Southwest sees a turning point for travel

FAN Editor

A week of retail earnings kicked off before the market open Tuesday, with Walmart and Home Depot each reporting strong same-store sales growth as consumers stocked up and stayed home during the quarter.  

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testified before the Senate Banking Committee on the Trump administration’s efforts to deal with the financial fallout of the pandemic.

Mnuchin specifically addressed how money from the $2 trillion CARES Act was distributed to individuals and businesses and said the Treasury and Fed are “fully prepared to take losses in certain scenarios” on the remaining capital.

The World Health Organization’s assembly continues for a second day, as critical eyes continue to fall on the agency and the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Monday night, President Donald Trump threatened to pull support from the agency permanently and started a 30-day clock for the WHO to commit to changes. 

This is CNBC’s live blog covering all the latest news on the coronavirus outbreak. This blog will be updated throughout the day as the news breaks. 

  • Global cases: More than 4.82 million
  • Global deaths: At least 319,031
  • U.S. cases: More than 1.5 million
  • U.S. deaths: At least 90,396

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Omada Health capitalizing on the growing interest in digital health

1:38 pm ET — Omada Health raised $57 million from Perceptive Investors and spent about $30 million of it to acquire a start-up that provides virtual physical therapy services called Physera.

The deal marks Omada Health’s first acquisition in the space. Omada, which is one of the most highly valued digital health start-ups, specializes in helping people with chronic conditions. Omada and Physera both sell to health plans and employers. —Christina Farr

Mnuchin says Treasury is prepared to take losses on CARES Act bailouts

1:26 pm ET — Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said that the Treasury and the Fed are prepared to take losses in “certain scenarios” on business bailouts distributed from the CARES Act.

He did not elaborate on what these scenarios would be while testifying in a virtual Senate hearing, CNBC’s Christina Wilkie reports.

The government initially appropriated $500 billion for businesses affected by the coronavirus. —Hannah Miller

Barry Sternlicht wants to incentivize people to be part of contact tracing

1:09 pm ET — Global investor Barry Sternlicht suggested that the U.S. government should pay people to enroll in contact tracing programs.

“Once we can track the virus, we can deal with this virus,” the Starwood Capital founder said on “Squawk Box.” 

Sternlicht said the payment could be between $500 to $1,000, serving as an incentive to get people to sign up.

“I think this contact tracing is a really big deal,” Sternlicht said, calling the public-health strategy “a game changer” in helping accelerate the U.S. economic recovery.  —Kevin Stankiewicz

California business leaders call for $1 trillion more in relief for local governments facing massive budget cuts

An ambulance sits outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, March 23, 2020, as the Senate continues negotiations on a relief package in response to the outbreak of COVID-19, known as the coronavirus.

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

Retail REITs take hard hit on missing rent payments

Walmart CEO says U.S. recovery will be bumpy, different than in China

12:14 pm ET — Walmart has had strong sales in stores and online during the pandemic, but even CEO Doug McMillon isn’t expecting a smooth and simple path forward.

On Tuesday, McMillon told analysts in an earnings call that the retailer expects volatility, even as states loosen lockdowns and shoppers try to return to routines. The company withdrew its financial outlook, citing economic uncertainty during Covid-19.

The big-box retailer has seen a gradual recovery in China, as all of its stores are open and customers shop for more discretionary items. McMillon said the U.S. has taken a different approach, though, and analysts shouldn’t expect the same patterns.

“We may see a bit of a two-step in some places where we make progress; two steps forward, take a step back, and then move forward again,” he said. “Obviously, there are a lot of pieces that have to be put in place from testing to exposure notification.”

He added, “it will be volatile and we’ll just manage it.” —Melissa Repko

Annie Glenn, widow of U.S. Sen. John Glenn, dies from Covid-19 complications

11:54 am ET — Annie Glenn, the widow of astronaut and U.S. Sen. John Glenn, died at the age of 100 from complications related to the coronavirus.

Annie Glenn served as a communication disorders advocate after overcoming a severe stutter, the Associated Press reports. She had been married to her husband for 73 years when he died in 2016. —Hannah Miller

New York City calls on state to provide death benefits to deceased city employees

11:45 am ET — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called on the state government to approve line-of-duty death benefits for the survivors of municipal employees who died while responding to the Covid-19 outbreak.

He said that more than 270 public servants have lost their lives to Covid-19. Line-of-duty death benefits would provide the families of police, transit and other deceased city workers with a portion of their wages after their death.

The city has already extended health insurance for an additional 45 days to the families of city employees who died from the coronavirus, de Blasio said. —Noah Higgins-Dunn

Worker incentives hit Home Depot’s profit and e-commerce accelerates 

People wearing masks wait in line in front of the Home Depot store in Flatiron amid the coronavirus pandemic on May 18, 2020 in New York City.

Alexi Rosenfeld | Getty Images

11:23 am ET — Home Depot said in its first-quarter earnings report that it spent about $640 million on efforts to boost wages and protect workers in a bid to keep employees coming in during spring, its busiest season of the year.

The company said it has increased wages, doubled overtime pay and is providing weekly bonuses. It’s one of the few retailers that appear to have picked up business during the coronavirus pandemic with revenue rising more than 7% as the company saw accelerating growth of its e-commerce platform.

“As shelter-in-place orders rolled out across the country in mid- to late-March, we saw our digital businesses accelerate from approximately 30% growth in early March to triple-digit growth in early April,” executive vice president of merchandising Ted Decker told investors. “During the last three weeks of the quarter, traffic to was consistently above Black Friday levels.” —William Feuer

Trump to meet GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill as coronavirus response enters new phase

President Donald Trump alongside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., talks to the media about Robert Mueller’s report upon arriving for the Senate Republican Policy luncheon in the Capitol on Tuesday, March 26, 2019.

Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call Group | Getty Images

11:07 am ET — President Donald Trump plans to come to Capitol Hill around noon to have lunch with Republicans, two GOP sources told NBC News.

Vice President Pence was scheduled to meet with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin earlier Tuesday morning.

The president’s lunch meeting comes as Republicans and Democrats trade barbs over what provisions should be included in additional legislation to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Tuesday morning began testifying remotely before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee about the CARES Act, which Trump signed into law in late March. —Kevin Breuninger 

Google expects to reach 30% office capacity by end of year

10:58 am ET — A bulk of Google employees will return to the office by the end of the year, but the days and times they come in will be on a rotating schedule to continue social distancing.

“I expect by the end of the year, we’ll be at 20% to 30% capacity. Which may still mean we are able to get 60% of our employees in once a week, or something like that,” Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said on “The Vergecast” podcast.

Google will start off with having 10% to 15% of workers in the office at any time, he said. —Jessica Bursztynsky 

McCarthy says liability protections for businesses, doctors are top GOP priority 

10:52 am ET — House Minority Leader McCarthy, R-Calif., told CNBC that “liability protections would be the No. 1 thing I would look at” in an additional coronavirus relief bill. “No bill will pass without it,” McCarthy said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

McCarthy and other Republican leaders including Vice President Mike Pence, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., were scheduled to meet on Capitol Hill Tuesday morning to discuss their priorities for another coronavirus relief bill. —Kevin Breuninger 

Southwest hits a turning point with new bookings outpacing cancellations

Ground operations employees load baggage onto a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 aircraft on the tarmac at John Wayne Airport (SNA) in Santa Ana, California.

Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

10:03 am ET — Southwest Airlines says the worst of a drop in bookings appears to be over, but demand is still far off last year’s levels as the coronavirus continues to keep travelers away.

The Dallas-based airline said new bookings are now outpacing cancellations. As a result of the improvement, Southwest expects its May year-over-year operating revenue to be down 85% to 90%, from a previous forecast of a 90% to 95% drop.

It also expects planes to be fuller — up to 30% — from a previous forecast of 5% to 10% full. —Leslie Josephs

Amazon delivers over 100 million items to front line workers and government employees

9:54 am ET — Amazon said it has delivered more than 100 million medical items to front-line workers and government agencies during the coronavirus pandemic.

The company’s business-to-business marketplace in late March debuted a dedicated section of its website where “organizations on the front lines” could order items including N95 masks, ventilators and surgical gloves, among other things. Amazon received an influx of requests from front-line workers at the end of March and early April, as safety gear and ventilators were in extremely short supply.

Since the launch, Amazon said more than 20,000 customers have used the site to secure essential supplies, with personal protective equipment and janitorial sanitation products, like medical grade disinfectant solutions, being the most popular. —Annie Palmer

Customers return as Olive Garden’s parent company reopens dining rooms

9:50 am ET — Olive Garden’s parent company, Darden Restaurants, began reopening dining rooms with limited capacity on April 27, and it looks like the move is lifting sales.

Darden’s same-store sales fell just 49% during the week ended May 17,  with nearly half of its dining rooms operating again. For the week ended April 26, same-store sales plunged 60.1% compared with a year earlier. 

The company plans to have more than 65% of its dining rooms reopened with limited capacity by the end of the month after closing all of them on March 20.

Darden also said it fully repaid its $750 million credit facility on May 5, citing “increased confidence in our cash flow projections and stabilization in the credit markets.” —Amelia Lucas

Stocks dip ahead of Powell and Mnuchin testimony

Jerome Powell, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, left, and Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Treasury secretary, arrive for a Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) meeting at the U.S. Treasury in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018.

Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images

9:38 am ET — Stocks opened lower as investors looked ahead to testimony from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. Their testimony is part of required updates to Congress on the economic response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 94 points lower, or 0.4%. The S&P 500 slid 0.3% while the Nasdaq Composite hovered around the flatline. Read the latest updates on stock market activity from CNBC’s Fred Imbert and Yun Li. —Melodie Warner

Kohl’s quarterly net sales crater with stores forced shut during pandemic

9:20 am ET — Kohl’s net sales tanked 43.5% during the first quarter ended May 2. The retailer said it has now reopened about 50% of its more than 1,100 locations across the country. But the coronavirus pandemic has put a new layer of pressure on the company, which was already struggling to grow sales. Kohl’s declined to report its same-store sales for the latest quarter.

“We know this experience will have a lasting impact to customer behavior and the retail landscape,” CEO Michelle Gass said in a statement. —Lauren Thomas

Pier 1 to wind down its business after no buyer comes through

9:14 am ET — Struggling home goods retailer Pier 1 Imports said it is seeking court approval to wind down its business. It was not able to find a buyer in bankruptcy proceedings during the coronavirus pandemic. When it filed for bankruptcy protection in February, prior to the Covid-19 crisis slamming the U.S. economy, Pier 1 was planning to shut about half, or 450, of its stores.

“This decision follows months of working to identify a buyer who would continue to operate our business going forward,” CFO Robert Riesbeck said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the challenging retail environment has been significantly compounded by the profound impact of COVID-19, hindering our ability to secure such a buyer and requiring us to wind down.” —Lauren Thomas

U.S. outpaces rest of world in newly reported cases 

75% of Singapore’s economy can resume on June 2 

8:15 am ET —Singapore’s government said three-quarters of the country’s economy can resume normal operations starting on June 2, with one-third of the workforce resuming on-site operations, according to Reuters. 

Laborers returning to work include those working in manufacturing, production, finance, insurance and wholesale trade, Reuters reported. Some schools will also reopen as part of the phased plan. 

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong cautioned the partial resumption of operations will likely mean an uptick in daily new Covid-19 cases. The city-state has confirmed nearly 28,800 cases of the virus. —Sara Salinas

Correction: An earlier version gave an incomplete name for Health Minister Gan Kim Yong.

The latest on U.S. hot spots

Walmart, Home Depot report same-store sales jumped

U.S. will send 200 ventilators to Russia as Russian coronavirus cases near 300,000

A woman wearing a protective mask holds flowers near a makeshift memorial for medics, who reportedly died in Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Region in the times of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in central Saint Petersburg, Russia April 28, 2020.

Anton Vaganov | Reuters

7:26 am ET — The U.S. will start delivering 200 ventilators to Russia this week, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow said, according to Reuters. It comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly requested assistance from the U.S., and President Donald Trump offered to send 200 U.S.-made ventilators. 

Russia now has the second-highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases after the U.S. — 299,941. It has recorded 2,837 deaths, as of Tuesday. The first batch of 50 ventilators should be ready for shipment on Wednesday, while the rest will be ready shortly after, the embassy said in a statement, according to Reuters.

Russia had sent the U.S. ventilators in early April as the coronavirus pandemic took hold in New York, but the U.S. said it would not use the ventilators as the same model was linked to two fires in Russian hospitals. –Holly Ellyatt

Read CNBC’s coverage from CNBC’s Asia-Pacific and Europe teams overnight here: Russia’s cases near 300,000; Trump threatens to withdraw from WHO

Free America Network Articles

Leave a Reply

Next Post

Pence says he isn't taking unproven hydroxychloroquine treatment for coronavirus that Trump takes

US Vice President Mike Pence speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, in the Brady Briefing Room at the White House on April 13, 2020, in Washington, DC. Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday that he is not […]