By Ciara Linnane, MarketWatch
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide now stands at 48.9 million, the Johns Hopkins data show , and the death toll is 1.2 million. At least 32 million people have recovered from COVID-19.
Brazil has the second highest death toll at 161,106 and is third by cases at 5.6 million.
India is second in cases with 8.4 million and third in deaths at 124,985.
Mexico has the fourth highest death toll at 93,772 and 10th highest case tally at 949,147.
The U.K has 48,210 deaths, the highest in Europe and fifth highest in the world, and 1.1 million cases, or eighth highest in the world.
What‘s the economy saying?
The U.S. regained 638,000 jobs in October and the unemployment rate fell to 6.9%, reflecting a surprising show of strength for the economy even as coronavirus cases rose to record highs, MarketWatch’s Jeffry Bartash reported.
Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast 503,000 new jobs. Private-sector employment rose by a more robust 906,000, but a sharp decline in government employment pulled down the overall total.
The better-than-expected employment report suggests the economic recovery is setting deeper roots, giving the next occupant of the White House some breathing room when he takes office in January. The latest results pointed to a victory by Democrat Joe Biden.
Unemployment sank to fresh postpandemic low of 6.9% from 7.9% in September as more people went back to work, but economists say the official rate understates the true level of joblessness.
Some 11 million of the 22 million jobs that were lost early in the pandemic still haven’t been recovered, however.
“The recovery in the economy and the labor market remained on track in October,” said Joel Naroff of Naroff Economic Advisors. “Can we keep it up? It is all about the virus, not any underlying weakness in the economy.”
What are companies saying?
• Carnival Corp.‘s /zigman2/quotes/202325446/composite CCL -3.54% Costa Cruises will suspend cruises to Greece, citing travel restrictions imposed by the Greek government in response to increases in new coronavirus cases. Costa Deliziosa will end the current cruise on Nov. 7, will cancel the next seven scheduled cruises and expects to resume operations on Dec. 26, with an Italian itinerary.
• DISH Network Corp. /zigman2/quotes/207505872/composite DISH +0.10% reported surprise increases in third-quarter profit and revenue, with both beating expectations by wide margins during the pandemic. Revenue grew to $4.53 billion from $3.17 billion, while the FactSet revenue consensus called for a decline to $3.13 billion. Net pay-TV subscribers increased by 116,000 in the quarter, compared with a 148,000 increase a year ago, while retail wireless net subscribers decreased by 212,000.
• CVS Health Corp. /zigman2/quotes/209664499/composite CVS -1.43% beat estimates for the third quarter and raised its full-year guidance, amid strong demand for coronavirus testing. Revenue rose to $67.056 billion from $64.810 billion, also ahead of the FactSet consensus of $66.624 billion. “We’ve opened more than 4,000 COVID-19 test sites across the country since March, and have administered over 6 million tests,” Chief Executive Larry Merlo said in a statement. “We’re helping businesses and universities safely reopen, and we were recently selected to administer COVID-19 vaccinations in long-term-care facilities. “CVS raised its full-year adjusted EPS guidance to a range of $7.35 to $7.45 from a previous $7.14 to $7.27. The FactSet consensus is for $7.23.
• Hershey Co. /zigman2/quotes/202765576/composite HSY -0.22% reported third-quarter profit and revenue that rose above expectations, and provided an upbeat full-year outlook. “Our core U.S. business remains healthy as consumers reach for small treats during the pandemic, and our decision to lean into Halloween ahead of the season supported consumers’ desire to find new and creative ways to celebrate safely,” said Chief Executive Michele Buck. Revenue rose 4% to $2.22 billion, just above the FactSet consensus of $2.18 billion, as price realization provided a 2.9 percentage point benefit and volume growth was a 90 basis point benefit. Gross margin improved to 48.7% from 44.2% last year. The company reinstated its 2020 earnings guidance, after withdrawing it in April because of the uncertain effects of the pandemic. The company now expects 2020 adjusted EPS of $6.18 to $6.24, above the FactSet consensus of $6.05.
• Marriott International Inc. /zigman2/quotes/200170042/composite MAR +0.07% reported a surprise third-quarter profit and revenue that fell a little less than forecast, while not providing financial guidance given “numerous uncertainties” associated with the pandemic. Revenue dropped 57.3% to $2.25 billion, topping the FactSet consensus of $2.22 billion. Worldwide revenue per available room (RevPAR) dropped 65.9%, after falling 84.4% in the second quarter. Occupancy in North America was 37%, nearly double the second-quarter rate, primarily driven by leisure and drive-to demand, with business and group recovering more slowly. “While COVID-19 is still significantly impacting our business, our results for the third quarter showed continued improvement in demand trends around the world,” said Chief Executive Arne Sorenson. China occupancy was 61% and the RevPAR decline of 26% was a 35%-percentage-point improvement from the second quarter.
• Peloton Interactive Inc.’s /zigman2/quotes/208035743/composite PTON -1.11% pandemic surge continued through the summer, and the company expects that the holidays will bring its first-ever billion-dollar quarter. Peloton on Thursday reported first-fiscal-quarter earnings of $69.3 million, or 20 cents a share, after posting a loss of $1.29 a share a year ago. The interactive-exercise-equipment company more than tripled sales to $757.9 million from $228 million in the same quarter last year. Analysts on average expected earnings of 11 cents a share on sales.
• Roku Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205087179/composite ROKU +5.18% showed that it continues to benefit from the shift of advertising dollars away from traditional television. The streaming-media company delivered a big revenue beat for the period, buoyed by a “confluence of very positive trends,” Chief Financial Officer Steve Louden said on Roku’s earnings call. He called out “strong performance” on the advertising side as well as record growth for Roku’s streaming-player business and robust sales of TVs running the company’s operating system.
• Fresh off its election victory to avoid classifying drivers as employees in California, Uber Technologies Inc. /zigman2/quotes/211348248/composite UBER +1.27% reported that its business continued to recover from a pandemic-induced slowdown. “All early evidence makes it increasingly clear that it’s a matter of when, not if, our rides business will recover,” Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi said on the company’s earnings call, although he noted that the performance of the segment continues to be correlated with lockdowns. Uber narrowed its loss although revenue fell and missed estimates.
• ViacomCBS Inc. /zigman2/quotes/200340870/composite VIAC +0.87% topped third-quarter earnings and revenue expectations Friday even as the company continues to face pressure in its advertising and theatrical businesses due to the COVID-19 crisis. Viacom’s revenue for the quarter decreased to $6.2 billion from $6.7 billion, while analysts had been expecting about $6 billion. Viacom disclosed that its affiliate revenue was up 10% from a year prior, while advertising revenue dipped 6% “driven by the adverse effects of COVID-19, including lower demand in the advertising market.” Content licensing revenue fell 33%, “driven by the timing of program availabilities and the adverse impacts of COVID-19,” while theatrical revenue was “immaterial” given closures or capacity reductions at many movie theaters due to the pandemic. Publishing revenue increased 29% as the company cited “strong releases” during the quarter, including Mary Trump’s “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.”
• Yelp Inc. /zigman2/quotes/201334325/composite YELP -0.83% reported third-fiscal-quarter revenue and earnings that beat Wall Street estimates, even as it swing to a loss and revenue fell 16%. Yelp reported a loss of $1 million, or a penny a share, compared with net income of $10.1 million, or 14 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue slid 16% to $220.8 million from $262.5 million a year ago. However, net revenue increased 31% from the second quarter as shelter-in-place orders relating to the pandemic eased.