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Dow Jones News: Disney Furloughs Workers; 3M Defends Exports; Boeing Loses a Big Order

By Timothy Green – Apr 3, 2020 at 12:05PM

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Disney's parks aren't opening anytime soon, 3M comes under fire from the president, and Boeing lost a huge order.

The stock market headed lower on Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI -0.14%) down 1.3% at 11:15 a.m. EDT. U.S. payrolls declined by 701,000 in March, according to data from the Labor Department, but the report doesn't account for millions of layoffs later in the month.

Those layoffs were a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the economically crippling actions taken by governments to slow the spread. There are now over 245,000 cases of the virus and more than 6,000 deaths in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Shares of Disney (DIS -0.63%) were down Friday morning after the entertainment company announced it would furlough workers later this month. The stock of 3M (MMM -0.39%) also slumped as the company's mask production was criticized by President Trump. Shares of Boeing (BA -1.05%) managed to buck the trend and rise slightly, despite the company losing a major order for commercial jets.

Man with hand on face looking at paper.

Image source: Getty Images.

Disney furloughs workers

The pandemic has forced Disney to close its U.S. parks, and it will likely be awhile before the company can begin welcoming guests again. Theme parks are a crucial part of Disney's empire. The parks, experiences, and products segment brought in over $26 billion of revenue in fiscal 2019.

With no opening day in sight for Disney's parks, the company announced it would begin furloughing nonessential U.S. employees across the company starting on April 19. Disney had previously committed to paying all employees through April 18.

Furloughed employees will continue to receive full healthcare benefits, and Disney will pay the cost of healthcare premiums. The company declined to say how many employees would be affected.

This move will save Disney some cash as it grapples with much of its business grinding to a halt. Disney stock was down 3.1% Friday morning; shares are down more than 38% from their 52-week high.

3M responds to Trump

3M is manufacturing as many N95 respirators as it can to meet demand for the crucial safety equipment during the pandemic. On Thursday, the Trump administration invoked the Defense Production Act to require 3M to prioritize orders from FEMA. Trump also criticized 3M in a tweet for exporting some masks to foreign countries, saying that he "hit 3M hard today" over the issue.

The company issued a statement on Friday welcoming the invocation of the Defense Production Act and defending exports to Canada and Latin American markets. It warned of humanitarian implications of halting exports of masks, and indicated that such a move would likely lead other countries to do the same. 3M argued this would lead to a net decrease in masks available in the U.S.

With 3M in President Trump's crosshairs, the stock slumped 2.3% Friday morning. Shares of the conglomerate are down about 39% from their 52-week high.

Boeing loses a big order

Beleaguered airplane manufacturer and defense company Boeing didn't need any more bad news, but that's exactly what it got on Friday. Aircraft lessor Avolon, the world's third-largest lessor of commercial jets, has canceled an order for 75 Boeing 737 Max planes that were set to be delivered in 2023. Avolon also pushed back delivery of 16 other 737 Max planes to 2024 at the earliest.

The 75-plane deal with Boeing was worth nearly $11 billion at list prices, according to Reuters. Avolon is facing unprecedented challenges during the pandemic, with the company saying more than 80% of its customer base had requested relief from payment obligations.

This news comes one day after reports that Boeing was offering buyout packages to employees to save cash and reduce the need for involuntary layoffs. Shares of Boeing were up 1.5% Friday morning despite the bad news. The stock is down a whopping 68% from its 52-week high.

Timothy Green has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends 3M and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $60 calls on Walt Disney and short April 2020 $135 calls on Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Boeing Stock Quote
$132.11 (-1.05%) $-1.40
Walt Disney Stock Quote
Walt Disney
$100.80 (-0.63%) $0.64
3M Stock Quote
$115.17 (-0.39%) $0.45
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
$30,273.87 (-0.14%) $-42.45

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