Week In Review: How Trump's Policies Moved Stocks - April 25, 2020

Senate passes bill for small-business stimulus, larger companies must return aid money

Catch up on the top industries and stocks that were impacted, or were predicted to be impacted, by the comments, actions and policies of President Donald Trump and his administration with this weekly recap compiled by The Fly:

1. SMALL-BUSINESS STIMULUS PACKAGE: Congressional leaders have reached an agreement with the Trump administration to send hundreds of billions of dollars in fresh assistance to small businesses and hospitals in an effort to curb the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, The Wall Street Journal's Kristina Peterson and Andrew Duehren reported. The Senate passed the $484B bill by a voice vote, sending it to the House for an approval, the authors said. On Friday, President Trump signed the law.

2. NEW GUIDELINES FOR SMALL BUSINESS LOANS: After about 150 public companies received nearly $600M in rescue loans, the Treasury Department stated in update guidance that it was "unlikely that a public company with substantial market value and access to capital markets" would be able to demonstrate that a government-backed loan was necessary for it to support its ongoing business, noted The Wall Street Journal. Treasury is asking publicly traded companies to repay loans they received this month, the report added, noting that Ruth's Hospitality (RUTH) and Shake Shack (SHAK) were among those who received loans. Shake Shake and Kura Sushi USA (KRUS) have previously said they planned to return PPP funding, the report noted.

According to new research published by Morgan Stanley, several companies that have received aid have market values well in excess of $100M including DMC Global (BOOM), Wave Life Sciences (WVE) and Fiesta Restaurant (FRGI), CNBC’s Thomas Franck wrote in an article earlier this week.

3. VA STUDY ON MALARIA DRUG: A malaria drug widely touted by President Trump for treating the new coronavirus showed no benefit in a large analysis of its use in U.S. veterans hospitals, with the researchers reporting that there were more deaths among those given hydroxychloroquine versus standard care, Associated Press' Marilynn Marchione reported. The nationwide study was not a rigorous experiment, the author noted, but with 368 patients, it's the largest look so far of hydroxychloroquine with or without the antibiotic azithromycin for COVID-19. Among companies that had announced efforts to up hydroxychloroquine production are Mylan (MYL), Teva (TEVA), Novartis (NVS), and Bayer (BAYRY).

On Friday, the FDA cautioned against use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for COVID-19 outside of the hospital setting or a clinical trial due to risk of heart rhythm problems. In a statement, the FDA said it is aware of reports of serious heart rhythm problems in patients with COVID-19 treated with hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, often in combination with azithromycin and other QT prolonging medicines. 

4. ABBOTT'S COVID-19 TEST SAFETY: Lab personnel say worries are mounting over the safety of a rapid coronavirus test by Abbott (ABT) that President Trump has repeatedly lauded ― particularly, the risk of infection to those handling it, Kaiser Health News’ Rachana Pradhan reported. Trump and federal health officials have promoted the ease with which the Abbott test can be given to patients, whether at a drive-thru site or a doctor’s office, the author added.

5. 'A JOKE': President Trump said Friday from the oval office, "The Postal Service is a joke. Because they're handing out packages for Amazon and other internet companies and every time they send a package, they lose money on it. The Post Office should raise the price of a package by approximately four times."

6. YEARS WORTH OF TICKETS: President Trump also said from the oval office on Friday, "One of the ways we can help the airlines is buying tickets at a very large discount, maybe 50% off or maybe more, and you buy into four or five years' worth of tickets, and you infuse them with some cash. And in the meantime, we're flying the people of our country for a fraction of the cost it would be when the airlines get back." Publicly traded companies in the airline space include Alaska Air (ALK), American Airlines (AAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL), JetBlue (JBLU), Southwest (LUV), Spirit Airlines (SAVE) and United Airlines (UAL).

7. 'GREAT NEWS': AT&T (T) announced that after serving 13 years as AT&T's Chairman and CEO, Randall Stephenson will retire as CEO but will serve as Executive Chairman of the board of directors until January 2021 to ensure a smooth leadership transition. The AT&T board has elected AT&T President and Chief Operating Officer John Stankey as CEO, effective July 1.

After the announcement, President Trump tweeted, "Great News! Randall Stephenson, the CEO of heavily indebted AT&T, which owns and presides over Fake News @CNN, is leaving, or was forced out. Anyone who lets a garbage "network" do and say the things that CNN does, should leave ASAP. Hopefully replacement will be much better!"

Disclosure: None.

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