By Ciara Linnane, MarketWatch
New Hampshire is adopting a face-mask mandate, and a group of Midwest governors has produced a video urging their residents to double down on safety measures.
In other news:
• Nearly a million Chinese people have been given an experimental COVID-19 vaccine developed by state-owned Sinopharm, the South China Morning Post reported. China and Russia have both registered vaccines and started treating citizens, even though the vaccines are undergoing clinical trials to establish safety and efficacy.
States Impose New Covid-19 Restrictions as Cases Surge Across the U.S.
As the U.S. continues to set records for new daily coronavirus cases, states from the coasts to the Midwest began enforcing new restrictions to get the surge in infections under control. Photo: Kena Betancur/AFP
• Spain is planning to vaccinate much of the population by mid-2021, according to local reports. The announcement was made by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who said the government has drawn up a “comprehensive vaccination plan” that will be presented at a cabinet meeting next week. Spain and Germany are the first two countries to have devised a full immunization scheme. The EU has contracts to reserve hundreds of millions of doses of future vaccines with BioNTech, Purevac, AstraZeneca and Sanofi if they can be brought to market.
• South Australia entered a lockdown because a pizza baker lied to tracers about how he contracted the virus, the BBC reported. The man claimed he was a customer at a pizzeria, prompting health officials to assume he had caught COVID-19 during a very short exposure and leading them to believe the strain was highly virulent. “To say I am fuming is an understatement,” the state premier, Steven Marshall, told reporters.
• Sweden recorded a record 7,240 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, the Guardian reported, citing health-agency statistics. The previous one-day record was 5,990, set earlier in November. Sweden counted 66 deaths, boosting its overall toll to 6,506, or several times higher per capita than neighboring countries. Sweden has taken a controversial approach to the pandemic, declining to lock down while relying on its citizens to behave responsibly. It has started to revise that approach in the face of surging infections.
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide now stands at 57 million, according to the Johns Hopkins data, and the death toll is 1.4 million. At least 36.6 million people have recovered from COVID-19.
Brazil has the second highest death toll at 168,061 and is third by cases at 5.9 million.
India is second in cases with 9 million, and third in deaths at 132,162.
Mexico has the fourth highest death toll at 100,104 and the 10th highest case tally at 1 million.
The U.K has had 53,870 deaths, the highest in Europe and fifth highest in the world, and 1.5 million cases, seventh highest in the world.
China, where the disease was first reported late last year, has had 91,965 cases and 4,742 fatalities, according to its official numbers.
What are companies saying?
• Carnival Corp.’s /zigman2/quotes/202325446/composite CCL +8.08% Princess Cruises is extending the suspension of cruises through March, and for some of its cruises for another year, in response to the CDC’s phased approach to resuming cruises. Princess said all cruises will now be suspended through March 31, while cruises lasting longer than seven days to and from U.S. ports will be suspended through Nov. 1 of next year. The company is also extending the suspension of cruises to and from Japan through June 25. “We are focused on preparing our ships to meet the CDC health and safety requirements for our eventual return to service,” said Princess President Jan Swartz. “We also appreciate the continued support we have received from our guests, partners and travel advisers, reinforcing for all of us why we do what we do.”
• Eli Lilly & Co. /zigman2/quotes/200106384/composite LLY +0.31% won FDA emergency-use authorization for its rheumatoid arthritis drug Olumiant as a COVID-19 treatment if it’s used in combination with Gilead’s remdesivir. The drug combination can be used in adults and children older than 2 years old who have been hospitalized with COVID-19 and require supplemental oxygen, mechanical ventilation, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. These tend to be the sickest COVID-19 patients. Lilly also recently received an emergency authorization for its COVID-19 antibody treatment, making it the only drug manufacturer to have received EUAs for two different COVID-19 therapies. Data from a clinical trial found that the combination of Olumiant and Veklury can help speed up recovery times for some severely ill, hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
• Foot Locker Inc. /zigman2/quotes/204092533/composite FL +0.25% reported a surprise increase in same-store sales and profit that rose well above expectations. Sales increased 9% to $2.11 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $1.95 billion, while same-store sales rose 7.7% to beat forecasts for a decline of 0.2%. “Although the back-to-school season kicked in later than usual due to COVID-19–related delays, momentum built as the quarter progressed, and we were pleased with our customers’ continued strong engagement across our family of brands,” said Chief Executive Richard Johnson. The company did not provide financial guidance, given continued uncertainties created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Hibbett Sports Inc. /zigman2/quotes/201173500/composite HIBB +6.53% blew past estimates for the third quarter and raised its guidance. Sales rose 20% to $331.4 million from $275.5 million, ahead of the $286 million FactSet consensus. Same-store sales rose 13.2% to top the 10% FactSet consensus. E-commerce sales rose 50.7% to account for 13.2% of total sales, up from 10.5% a year ago. “We believe the increase in overall sales was positively impacted by continued strength in omni-channel adoption, improved new customer retention, market disruption, and availability of in-demand product, which collectively helped increase the revenue per transaction in the quarter,” the company said. “The direction of the pandemic is uncertain, but we will continue to adapt and safeguard our customers and team members, while also striving to generate positive returns,” said Chief Executive Mike Longo. The company is now expecting fourth-quarter same-store sales to range from a high-single digit increase to a low double-digit increase. It expects EPS to range from $1.00 to $1.10, compared with a FactSet consensus of 60 cents.
• Williams-Sonoma Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202067350/composite WSM -1.95% announced third-quarter earning that blew past estimates as it benefited from at-home dining during the pandemic. Williams-Sonoma posted net income of $201.8 million, or $2.54 a share, compared with net income of $74.7 million, or 94 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue grew 22% to $1.77 billion from $1.44 billion a year ago. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had expected earnings of $1.56 a share on revenue of $1.59 billion.