Hess, General Motors, Amazon: Stocks That Defined the Week
By Francesca Fontana
Energy stocks were among the only gainers Monday after weekend
attacks on Saudi oil production facilities. Shares of U.S. energy
companies surged, with Hess increasing 11%, Devon Energy adding 12%
and Occidental Petroleum gaining 6%. Energy stocks have been
crushed by low commodity prices and investors wary of oversaturated
commodity markets. Saudi Arabia raced to restore crude production,
as the attacks raised concerns about the security of supplies.
General Motors Co.
Early Monday, nearly 46,000 workers at General Motors walked off
the job in the first strike at the auto maker in more than a
decade, causing GM shares to fall 4.2%. The United Auto Workers
called on employees to strike after negotiations for a new
four-year labor agreement hit a standstill. Union negotiators are
pressing the company to keep idled plants open, increase pay and
benefits for less-senior workers and provide more job security for
temporary workers. Industry analysts have estimated that the strike
could dent GM's profit by between $50 million and $100 million
daily. Companies that supply parts to GM have been forced to idle
plants and lay off workers as the strike continues.
Amazon.com's shares took a hit after The Wall Street Journal
reported the e-commerce giant has adjusted its product-search
system to more prominently feature listings that are more
profitable for the company. The change, which the company hasn't
publicized and which was contested internally for years, is
particularly sensitive as the U.S. and the European Union are
examining Amazon's dual role as both marketplace operator and
seller of its own branded products. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D.,
Mass.) has argued that Amazon stifles small businesses by unfairly
promoting its private-label products and underpricing competitors;
Amazon has disputed this claim. Amazon shares fell 1.7% Monday.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said in memos that
Walmart likely discriminated against 178 female store workers by
paying them less or denying them promotions because of their
gender, The Journal reported Tuesday. The charges involve workers
in more than 30 states. The EEOC documents ask Walmart and the
women who filed complaints to come to a just resolution of the
matter, which could include a settlement and changes to Walmart's
practices, labor lawyers told the Journal. A Walmart spokesman said
the company told the agency it is willing to engage in the
conciliatory process. Shares rose 0.8% Tuesday.
FedEx cut its earnings guidance, citing lower revenue
projections for its global Express business, which caused the
delivery giant's shares to fall the most in a decade on Wednesday.
The slowdown for Express, which ferries packages and around the
world by plane, is due in part to uncertainty around global trade.
FedEx Chief Executive Frederick Smith said during the company's
earnings call that the company had expected a resolution to the
U.S. trade dispute with China as it entered its current fiscal
year, but the "restoration of normalcy" it hoped for hasn't taken
place. Shares plummeted 13% Wednesday.
General Mills Inc.
Investors lost their appetite for General Mills Wednesday, with
shares losing 0.9% after the packaged-food maker extended its sales
slump. The company has struggled to rejuvenate growth amid tougher
competition from trendier products and less expensive store brands.
The company said it has seen poor demand for brands such as Yoplait
yogurt and Nature Valley granola bars. Still, General Mills has
made some progress: U.S. cereal sales rose 1% in the quarter, and
its yogurt sales in the U.S. were flat, compared with double-digit
declines in the past. "It's about making sure we give consumers
what they want," Chief Executive Jeff Harmening told the
Could AT&T say goodbye to DirecTV? The telecom company is
exploring parting with the unit, the Journal r eported late
Wednesday. AT&T's shrinking satellite business is under a
microscope after activist investor Elliott Management Corp.
disclosed a $3.2 billion stake and pushed for strategic changes in
a letter to AT&T's board. Elliott has told investors that
AT&T should unload DirecTV, The Journal has previously
reported, and people familiar with the matter told the Journal that
AT&T's CEO met with Elliott's portfolio manager on Tuesday to
discuss streamlining. Shares gained 1.1% Thursday.
Write to Francesca Fontana at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
September 20, 2019 17:32 ET (21:32 GMT)
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