Amazon’s Q2 forecast weighed down by $4-billion in COVID-19 related costs, shares fall Inc. on Thursday warned that it could post a loss in the second quarter as it tacked on about US$4 billion in costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, sending its shares down 5 per cent in extended trade.

The e-commerce giant has been spending heavily to keep up with a surge in online orders. The company had earlier said it would hire about 175,000 workers and raise wages by US$2 for hourly workers as well as overtime pay, which would increase expenses by nearly US$700 million.

“Under normal circumstances, in this coming Q2, we’d expect to make some US$4 billion or more in operating profit. But these aren’t normal circumstances. Instead, we expect to spend the entirety of that US$4 billion, and perhaps a bit more, on COVID-related expenses getting products to customers and keeping employees safe,” Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos said in a statement.

Amazon forecast operating

Read More

Afghanistan likely facing coronavirus ‘health disaster’: U.S. watchdog By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Men wait to receive free food donated by the Afghan government, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Jalalabad, Afghanistan

By Jonathan Landay

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Afghanistan, beset by a poor healthcare system, malnutrition, war and other vulnerabilities, likely is facing a “health disaster” from the coronavirus, a watchdog report to the U.S. Congress warns.

The report released late on Thursday by Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John Sopko could heighten concerns among U.S. officials and lawmakers that the pandemic threatens to derail stalled U.S.-led peace efforts.

The spread of COVID-19 already has significantly impacted Afghanistan, the report said, from complicating the peace initiative to forcing border crossing closures that have disrupted commercial and humanitarian deliveries.

“Afghanistan’s numerous and, in some cases, unique vulnerabilities – a weak health-care system, widespread malnutrition, porous borders, massive internal displacement, contiguity with Iran, and ongoing conflict

Read More

Here’s who is winning (and losing) during Q1 earnings seasons so far

The Street was bracing for a mixed earnings season. While the impact of the coronavirus has, in many cases, been immediate and dire, corporate earnings for the first quarter are on a lag. “Two-plus of the three months were pretty decent,” says Charles Schwab chief investment strategist Liz Ann Sonders, making earnings for the quarter as a whole “not terribly relevant.”

So far, roughly half of companies have reported. According to a Refinitiv note on Wednesday, there have been 90 negative EPS preannouncements issued by S&P 500 companies, versus 42 positive ones. But much like the GDP report for the first quarter, which came in at -4.8%, first-quarter earnings won’t “tell you all that much about the depth and scope of the impact of the lockdowns,” suggests LPL Financial equity strategist Jeff Buchbinder.

Most estimates show that year-over-year earnings growth for the quarter is down about 15% or 16%, and BofA Global Research … Read More