Tuesday morning brought more losses to the stock market, building on Monday's declines as pressure on crude oil prices continued to weigh on market sentiment. After seeing May futures contracts for West Texas intermediate crude go negative on Monday, June futures followed suit today with substantial drops as well. The trend points to ongoing supply-and-demand mismatches throughout the rest of the spring and potentially into the summer. As of 11 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was down 565 points to 23,086. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) fell 82 points to 2,742, and the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) dropped 322 points to 8,238.
Earnings season continued to pick up the pace, and Philip Morris International (NYSE:PM) gave some insight on how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the tobacco market. Meanwhile, Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND) got some good news from China, which has started to reopen some of its markets and represents a solid growth opportunity for the producer of plant-based meat alternatives.
Philip Morris lights it up (for now)
Shares of Philip Morris International fell 5% after the global tobacco manufacturer reported its first-quarter financial results. The numbers were strong, but Philip Morris also warned that coronavirus impacts could hurt performance for the rest of 2020.
Just looking at first-quarter financials, you could actually see some ways in which the pandemic helped Philip Morris. Total shipment volume was down 0.6% year over year after adjusting for some corporate restructuring moves and currency impacts, but Philip Morris said it saw about a 1.7 percentage point boost that was attributable to the COVID-19 outbreak. Net revenue jumped 10%, and adjusted earnings climbed 30% from year-ago levels, with almost a 7 percentage point bottom-line contribution to growth attributable to the coronavirus.
So far, Philip Morris hasn't seen business continuity problems, as many of its factories worldwide remain operational. Only about 20% of capacity has seen government-mandated shutdowns or limits on production. Yet the company did say that new-user adoption of its IQOS heat-not-burn tobacco platform is likely to drop by half while restrictions remain in place in many markets.
Yet Philip Morris noted that most of its largest markets only started seeing the impact of COVID-19 late in the quarter, and it sees more adverse hits to its business coming in the second quarter and beyond. The company withdrew its guidance for 2020, and while it sees disruptions as being temporary, Philip Morris couldn't offer an outlook on exactly when it sees things getting back to normal.
China's hungry for Beyond Meat
Elsewhere, shares of Beyond Meat moved higher by 6%. The company expects a long-awaited initiative to get off the ground this week, and investors have high hopes that it could bring accelerated growth.
Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) is coming out with some new menu items in its China locations in the coming week, including oat-milk based beverages and plant-based food products. On the lunch menu, China's Starbucks stores will include items containing beef substitutes from Beyond Meat as well as another company's pork substitute.
Starbucks sees the move as helpful in pulling customers back into stores. The pandemic has slowed in China, prompting the coffee giant to reopen most of its locations.
For Beyond Meat, though, the implications are even larger. The plant-based food specialist has sought ways to expand beyond the U.S., and Asia represents a huge potential market. If Beyond Meat can impress Chinese consumers with its Starbucks offerings, then it could be just the beginning of a new leg higher for sales growth.