GLOBAL MARKETS LIVE: Boeing in trouble, L'Oréal remains positive

03/18/2020 | 09:40am

There is a flurry of business updates and forecasts from companies due to the coronavirus today. All are pretty dire, especially Boeing. But L'Oréal stands out, sending a positive message. And Facebook is giving gifts to its employees.


Mayday, Mayday. Boeing has asked the authorities for $60 billion in aid for the American aeronautics industry to deal with the consequences of the coronavirus epidemic. This envelope is for the industrialist as well as its subcontractors. Donald Trump has already accepted the principle of supporting this strategic part of the American economy. The sector's order books are thick, but Boeing is faced with the 737 MAX debacle and must prepare for a future complicated by the difficulties that the airlines will necessarily experience.

Down, no surprise. Passenger car sales fell by 7.2% in February in major European markets to 1.067 million units, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) announced. Obviously, it will be much worse in March. Manufacturers are continuing to close their plants to put their staff into containment.

Confidence is high. L'Oréal issued an extremely confident statement yesterday on the development of its business, stressing that the experience of previous epidemics shows that after the turbulent period, consumption of beauty products is picking up strongly. The group even believes that it can increase its turnover this year, provided that the epidemic does not exceed a few months and unfolds like the previous ones.

Bonuses for FB employees. Facebook is to pay an exceptional bonus of USD 1,000 to each of its employees as part of the measures taken to combat the coronavirus. The group has also assured all its employees that they will be given the maximum evaluation for their performance in the first half of the year, which will guarantee them access to an interim bonus. An initiative that could give ideas to other companies with large cash flows.

The coronavirus and its consequences. FedEx gives up on its 2020 forecast. United Airlines cuts its international routes by 85% in April. The American hotel industry is asking Donald Trump for $150 billion to overcome the crisis.

The merger is approaching. AbbVie and Allergan have obtained the conditional green light for their merger from the American FTC, which is demanding divestments, which could benefit Nestlé, which is looking at Zenpep, a pancreatic enzyme, and Viokace. Brazikumab is expected to be divested to AstraZeneca.

Continuity is the preferred option. HSBC is appointing Noel Quinn as Chief Executive Officer with immediate effect, having acted as interim CEO since John Flint's ouster. The first British bank chose continuity, even though names had been circulating externally for some time, notably that of Jean-Pierre Mustier, the head of UniCredit, who had denied it.

The sheriff shot Musk. The sheriff in charge of the county where Tesla is based in California reminded managers that the factory had to close due to the containment decided by the authorities, whereas Elon Musk wanted to continue producing.

Too big! SIX is capping the weightings of Roche and Nestlé in the SMI at 18%, as both stocks weighed more than 20% of the index each on Tuesday evening. The next review of the index will take place on March 23.


Romain Fournier
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