Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Stock Market News: Amazon Adds Coronavirus Pay; Travel Ban Hits Delta

By Dan Caplinger - Mar 12, 2020 at 10:47AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Stocks once again plunged on Thursday morning.

The stock market continued its consistent decline on Thursday morning, with market participants seemingly dissatisfied with the measures taken thus far by federal government officials to fight the COVID-19 outbreak. Circuit breakers once again triggered shortly after the open when the S&P 500 (^GSPC 1.05%) dropped 7% on the day, and major market benchmarks have remained around those levels since reopening. As of 11 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 1.05%) was down 1,823 points to 21,729. The S&P 500 fell 179 points to 2,562, and the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC 0.90%) lost 442 points to 7,510.

Major businesses have looked for ways to fight the coronavirus and its impact on their workforce, and (AMZN 3.15%) announced some new measures late yesterday to try to give its employees some reassurance. For Delta Air Lines (DAL 1.90%), though, the news wasn't as good, as the airline stock plummeted again on news that travel would halt between the U.S. and Europe.

What Amazon's doing for workers

Shares of Amazon weren't able to avoid the day's downdraft, falling 5% Thursday morning. The e-commerce giant has had a bad reputation in many circles on how it treats its employees, but it took steps to try to combat that perception in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Amazon logo with yellow up-curving arrow.

Image source:

Amazon HR senior vice president Beth Galetti announced in a blog post late yesterday that the company would take a couple of key measures to help its workforce. First, Amazon said that it would pay employees up to two weeks of pay if they were diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed into quarantine. The extra pay would apply both to full-time and to part-time employees, and it would supplement the unlimited unpaid time off that Amazon has offered to hourly employees through the end of this month.

In addition, Amazon contributed $25 million toward what it's calling the Amazon Relief Fund. The goal of the fund is to support independent delivery companies and drivers, as well as seasonal employees and participants in the Amazon Flex delivery service. If those workers are diagnosed with or quarantined for COVID-19, they can apply for grants from the fund to receive two weeks of pay. The relief fund will also provide anywhere from $400 to $5,000 in the event of a natural disaster, federal emergency declaration, or personal hardship.

Amazon still faces controversy with some of its work practices. But at least in the wake of the coronavirus, the company is taking steps to keep employees more financially secure.

Delta joins the airline rout

Meanwhile, shares of Delta Air Lines were down 12%. The entire airline industry suffered another blow last night on news that the U.S. would institute a travel ban preventing visitors from Europe from coming into the country.

In an address Wednesday night, President Trump said, "To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days." The rules, which go into effect on Friday at midnight, are subject to future adjustment as conditions warrant. The address criticized the European Union, claiming that EU measures failed to stem the spread of the coronavirus from China.

Thursday morning, the White House tried to clarify a few points, making it clear that U.K. travel was unaffected and that U.S. citizens and permanent residents would be able to come back from Europe. However, the impact will still be severe on Delta, which does a considerable amount of transatlantic business and is now looking at even more capacity reductions.

Some argue that airline stocks have now fallen enough to make them enticing takeover targets for potential acquirers like Warren Buffett. There's still considerable uncertainty about how Delta and its peers will weather the COVID-19 outbreak -- and whether travelers will return to the skies even if the disease runs its course relatively quickly.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned, Inc. Stock Quote, Inc.
$109.56 (3.15%) $3.35
Delta Air Lines, Inc. Stock Quote
Delta Air Lines, Inc.
$29.52 (1.90%) $0.55
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
$31,097.26 (1.05%) $321.83
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD) Stock Quote
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD)
$3,825.33 (1.05%) $39.95
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return) Stock Quote
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return)
$11,127.85 (0.90%) $99.11

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 07/02/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.