Wall Street saw what's become a rare mixed performance on Thursday morning, as different parts of the stock market reacted differently to recent news. The European Central Bank decided overnight to go forward with a monetary stimulus package similar to what the Federal Reserve put in place earlier this week, and although investors weren't entirely certain about its impact, the effort still seemed to make people willing to hunt for bargains. As of 11 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was still down 37 points to 19,862. However, the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) perked up a single point to 2,399, and the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) gained a healthy 118 points to 7,108.
Even amid tough economic times and soaring unemployment, Domino's Pizza (NYSE:DPZ) gave would-be workers some good news that points to the health of its business. Meanwhile, shareholders in Ford Motor (NYSE:F) weren't as lucky, as they'll have to endure at least a period without receiving any dividend income on their stock.
Domino's serves up jobs
Shares of Domino's Pizza jumped 9% on Thursday morning, easily outperforming most of its restaurant stock peers. The pizza delivery chain is bucking a key trend that's hurt many of its rivals, and investors are pleased at the results.
Domino's is looking to hire a wide variety of new employees, according to a press release from the company. Full-time and part-time positions will be available, with roles including pizza makers, customer service representatives, managers, and delivery people. In addition, Domino's is looking for commercial drivers to help with its domestic supply chain.
CEO Richard Allison put the announcement in context. "While many local, state, and federal rules are closing dine-in restaurants," Allison said, "the opportunity to keep feeding our neighbors through delivery and carryout means that a small sense of normalcy is still available to everyone." As the CEO pointed out, the ability to help laid-off restaurant workers from other chains is something Domino's is proud of.
Domino's has been one of the best performing stocks of the past decade, and it's held up well so far during the recent bear market plunge. Smart strategic moves like this play a key role in making sure Domino's can maintain a competitive edge over other players in the restaurant space.
Ford makes a cut
Elsewhere, shares of Ford Motor were down 4%. The automaker made the difficult decision to suspend its dividend, responding to the cash crunch that many companies are facing as they reduce or halt production and business activity.
Ford had agreed to shut down many of its factories across the globe, including its key North American and European operations. Along with its automaker peers, Ford had reached agreement with the United Auto Workers to allow for the shutdowns, and now, the company faces the possibility a long period of potentially no revenue coming in. Suspending the dividend will save Ford about $2.4 billion per year.
Some had hoped Ford wouldn't cut its payout, citing the need of Ford family shareholders to keep receiving income. Yet even with a significant cash cushion, the automaker decided to draw down some of its lines of credit to ensure that it has ample liquidity.
In addition, Ford hopes to help customers affected by the coronavirus outbreak, with temporary payment relief to certain buyers of new cars. Shareholders will bear the cost, but many hope that by taking the pain now, Ford will put itself in a better position for an eventual recovery.