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Walt Disney to Lay Off 32,000 Workers as Covid-19 Hits Theme Parks
Topic of the day
Walt Disney Co. is planning to layoff 32,000 employees, primarily at its theme parks, as the coronavirus continues to hit the entertainment company's businesses hard. Disney announced 28,000 job cuts in September and it expects to terminate its employees' contracts in the first half of fiscal 2021. Disney warned that it could take additional measures such as not declaring future dividends and either reducing or not making certain payments, such as contributions to its pension and postretirement medical plans. Like many companies, Disney has been severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic that has seen governments around the world announcing lockdowns that have led to closure of leisure parks, cruise ships and movie halls. The U.S. is among the worst hit by the pandemic and it is unclear when the company will be able to reopen its Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, Calif. that has been closed since March.
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The SMI continued its sideways movement Thursday, staying within a narrow 30-point band to rise just 0.1 percent to 10,498 points. There was a lack of US market participants and stimuli because of the Thanksgiving holiday, with little tradable news. Traders are waiting to see what signals the traditional "Black Friday" shopping spree in the US gives, as buoyant consumer sentiment would be positive for consumption, but also for markets. Defensive heavyweights Roche, Nestle and Novartis each rose by up to 1 percent, keeping the index in positive territory. Roche was buoyed by a positive analyst comment, despite a slight target decrease. Cyclical stocks Richemont, Adecco, Credit Suisse and UBS all fell by up to 1 percent. After US tech stocks had outperformed the broader US market Thursday, the Swiss sector also rose. Logitech gained 2.3 percent, AMS 0.5 percent. Comet surged 9 percent after issuing positive comments about its strategy implementation and confirmed its targets for 2020.
European stocks drift lower as traders take a breather while the U.S. market stays closed for the Thanksgiving holiday. The Stoxx Europe 600 falls 0.1%, the FTSE 100 is down 0.4%, the CAC-40 sheds 0.08% and the DAX retreats 0.02%. Among individual European stocks, Repsol fell 3.5% after the Spanish energy company said it would invest EUR18.3 billion ($21.8 billion) between 2021 and 2025 in a push to accelerate the energy transition. Shares in Lloyd Banking Group, Barclays and other financial-services companies weighed on the U.K.'s FTSE 100 benchmark, a day after the nation's fiscal watchdog said the economy is on course to record its worst contraction in 300 years. Signs that the U.K. may leave the EU without a trade agreement and introduce new barriers to commerce have also made money managers wary of investing in British stocks. "Clearly, Brexit news over the past day hasn't been as positive," said Edward Park, chief investment officer at Brooks Macdonald. "It could over the medium term and long term be far more influential in terms of GDP than Covid," Mr. Park said of a no-deal Brexit. Recent buoyant stock markets in the U.S. and Europe contrast with a worsening economic outlook for the next several months, as rising coronavirus cases weigh on consumer confidence and restrictions crimp activity. Credit Agricole SA's recently launched bid for its Italian subsidiary to take over Credito Valtellinese SpA is facing resistance from some Credito Valtellinese shareholders, amid concerns the current offer undervalues the Italian bank. Petrus Advisers Ltd., shareholders of Credito Valtellinese, said Wednesday in a letter addressed to the board of directors and chief executive of the Italian bank that it wouldn't tender its shares as Credit Agricole Italia SpA's current offer of EUR10.50 a share is inadequate. Aviva PLC said Thursday that trading for the first nine months of the year has been resilient and that it is declaring a dividend for the first half. The FTSE 100-listed insurer said performance was driven by its core markets, partially offset by declines in the manage-for-value portfolio as margin was prioritized over volume. The company said that it is exploring options across the manage-for-value portfolios, including in France, Poland, the remainder of Italy and its joint ventures. U.K. and Ireland Life new business sales rose 40% to 9.2 million pounds ($12.3 million) for the nine-month period, with value of new business rising 5% to GBP203 million.
Today is the Thanksgiving holiday, which will see markets in the U.S. close on Thursday, then reopen on Friday for a shortened session of trading.
In Asia, major benchmarks were mixed in a cautious session, while U.S. stock futures edged lower.
The U.S. stock and government-bond markets were closed for the holiday. U.S. Treasury yields edged down in Asia as safe-haven buying among some investors pushed bonds higher.
UBS rises the CRH target to.450 (3.230) p – Buy
IR rises the BP target to 260 (190) p – Hold
Citi rises the Santander target to 2,35 (1,75) EUR – Neutral
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