Live Market Tracker: Stocks Slide as Investors Await Corporate Earnings

Ford Motor Company and 3M said they would begin producing powered air purifying respirators at a Ford facility near Flat Rock, Mich., the latest in a series of corporate partnerships that America’s biggest automakers have forged to manufacture medical gear.

In a call with reporters on Monday, the companies said they initially planned to produce 100,000 or more respirators and were “focusing” on a time frame of late April, May and June. The products would be distributed through 3M’s sales network in the United States, they said.

“Demand is far outpacing the supply of this equipment,” said Jim Baumbick, vice president of enterprise product line management at Ford.

Mike Kesti, the global technical director of 3M’s personal safety division, said 3M factories had been running full out since January, and that the partnership with Ford would provide an “infusion of fresh energy.”

Ford said it was also collaborating with Joyson Safety Systems to produce reusable gowns from airbag materials, as well as providing manufacturing support to help Thermo Fisher Scientific expand its production of coronavirus testing kits. It had also begun manufacturing face masks for internal use and pursuing certification for their medical use.

Ford has already begun producing face shields at its Plymouth-Michigan plant, and is planning to begin manufacturing ventilators in collaboration with GE Healthcare beginning next week.

“It’s very likely our advertising clients, consumers, and therefore our company, will be operating under significant financial pressure for some time,” Mr. Lynch said in the note. “As a result, we’ll need to go beyond the initial cost-savings measures we put in place to protect our business for the long term.”

The salaries of those earning $100,000 or more — just under half the company — will be reduced 10 to 20 percent for five months, starting in May, the memo said. The salaries of executives in the senior management team, including Anna Wintour, the artistic director and Condé Nast’s best-known figurehead, will be cut 20 percent. In addition, Mr. Lynch said he would forgo half his salary.

Investors on Monday were sifting through the implications of a number of developments over the long weekend. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other major oil countries said on Sunday that they would trim output to put a floor under crude oil prices, and shares of energy companies were higher even as crude oil futures were slightly lower.

Monday’s decline came after the S&P 500 had rallied more than 12 percent last week, as investors took heart in signs of progress in the fight against the coronavirus and expansive new measures from the Federal Reserve to help ensure that companies and local governments can have access to credit markets.

SoftBank warned investors on Monday that the value of its tech fund may have dropped as much as $16.7 billion over the last fiscal year, a surprise announcement that came as the coronavirus rocked a portfolio already weakened by losses on big bets like WeWork.

SoftBank has used its $100 billion purse to make huge wagers on companies like WeWork and Uber that it thought could fundamentally remake industries, drive out competitors and generate gigantic profits.

But in a statement posted to its website, SoftBank said that it anticipated that the fund would record a loss of 1.8 trillion yen (about $16.6 billion) for the fiscal year that ended in March “due to the deteriorating market environment.”

The loss will be partially offset by revenue from SoftBank’s other businesses, with the company saying it expects to end the year 1.35 trillion yen in the red — its first annual loss in 15 years.

While the coronavirus has been devastating for many companies, SoftBank’s investments in tech companies that provide services like ride sharing and hotel booking have made it particularly vulnerable to the economic disruptions caused by the pandemic.

In October, the company pledged almost $10 billion to bail out WeWork after its highly anticipated initial public stock offering fell apart over accusations of mismanagement. In March, SoftBank’s bet on the satellite start-up OneWeb went bad when the company announced that it had filed for bankruptcy and planned to sell itself.

SoftBank said last month that it would sell $41 billion dollars of its assets to shore up its cash position and finance an $18 billion investment in its own shares.

A major meat plant is closing indefinitely.

Smithfield Foods said Sunday that its Sioux Falls, S.D., plant, one of the nation’s largest pork-processing factories, would remain shut indefinitely after a number of employees were infected with coronavirus.

It came after Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota said on Saturday that nearly 240 workers at the plant had tested positive for the virus — about half of the state’s cases.

Oil prices rise, then lose gains after deal to cut output.

One day after oil-producing nations agreed to the largest-ever production cut, the reaction in oil markets on Monday was largely muted. Although prices briefly jumped at the start of trading, they eventually lost their gains.

West Texas Intermediate, the main U.S. benchmark, fell to $22.41 a barrel.

As large as the cut is — 9.7 million barrels a day, beginning in May, reflecting about 10 percent of global output during normal times — many traders and analysts have said it is insufficient and too late to avoid a huge glut of supplies in the current quarter.

There is also skepticism about the degree to which a wide range of countries will comply with the deal. Mexico’s success in reducing its proposed share of the overall cut from 400,000 to 100,000 barrels a day may well be repeated by other countries, some analysts said.

“It’s simply too late to prevent a superlarge inventory build of over one billion barrels,” analysts from Citigroup wrote in a note to clients on Sunday.

Still, the agreement was the result of an unusual coordinated effort by Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United States to stabilize oil prices and, indirectly, global financial markets. It will head off huge production increases that Saudi Arabia and its allies had planned and, over time, it is expected to help reduce inventories.

Analysts expect oil prices, which soared above $100 a barrel only six years ago, to remain below $40 for the foreseeable future.

“This is at least a temporary relief for the energy industry and for the global economy,” said Per Magnus Nysveen, head of analysis for Rystad Energy, a Norwegian consultancy. “The industry is too big to be let to fail.”

Catch up: Here’s what else you need to know.

Reporting was contributed by Ana Swanson, Ben Dooley, Stanley Reed, Niraj Chokshi, Edmund Lee, Vanessa Friedman, David Gelles, Lauren Leatherby, David Yaffe-Bellany, Vikas Bajaj, Michael Corkery, Matt Phillips, Mohammed Hadi, Clifford Krauss, Katie Robertson and Carlos Tejada.

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