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Stock Market Wrap-Up: Facebook Bets on India; Airlines Seek More Cash

By Dan Caplinger – Apr 22, 2020 at 3:53PM

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Wednesday brought nice gains for the broader market.

Wall Street saw some upward movement on Wednesday as market participants looked once again to Washington for help in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Another round of stimulus efforts managed to make it through the Senate, with the intent of shoring up some of the depleted programs that quickly ran out of money in the $2.2 trillion CARES Act.

Gains were fairly balanced across the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI -1.15%), S&P 500 (^GSPC -1.02%), and Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC), although small-cap stocks lagged with somewhat smaller gains.

Today's stock market

Index

Percentage Change

Point Change

Dow

+1.99%

+457

S&P 500

+2.29%

+63

Nasdaq Composite

+2.81%

+232

Data source: Yahoo! Finance.

Among individual stocks, social media pioneer Facebook (META 0.07%) made a large investment toward long-term growth, defying the many companies that are holding back on strategic moves amid the current economic turmoil. For airline stocks, though, efforts to raise more cash have left them between a rock and a hard place.

Making a move in the world's second-largest nation

Shares of Facebook jumped more than 7% Wednesday, outpacing gains in the broader market. The social media company made a strategic move that it hopes will accelerate growth in a key international market.

Facebook announced an investment of $5.7 billion in Indian telecommunications operator Jio Platforms Limited. As a unit of Reliance Industries, Jio has built up a customer base of more than 388 million people in less than four years. In a country that has seen more than 560 million people get internet access just since 2015, Jio's work has been impressive.

The Facebook logo in blue and white

Image source: Facebook.

In exchange for the money, Facebook will receive a 10% stake in Jio, making the social media company its largest minority shareholder. Facebook hopes to integrate some of Jio's small business platforms with its own products in the hope of coming out with improved combinations of services that will drive growth.

The move is a shot across the bow of some of Facebook's biggest rivals, as the social media player wants to develop a larger e-commerce presence in India to fend off companies such as Amazon.com (AMZN -0.54%) and Walmart (WMT -0.93%). Some analysts are skeptical about its eventual success, but Facebook hopes it'll have the last laugh in building a larger presence in the world's second-largest country.

More cash for airlines?

Elsewhere, airline stocks came under pressure again on Wednesday, missing out on the rally. The ailing companies are looking for ways to make it through the current crisis without running out of money, but none of their options seem particularly good.

Delta Air Lines (DAL 0.33%) fell 2.5% after announcing a loss for the first quarter of 2020. The Atlanta-based airline said it hopes to identify some cost-cutting measures to reduce daily cash spending by half. At the same time, it's looking to tap federal programs to obtain more money, raising debt to ensure enough liquidity to make it through the period of reduced flight schedules and revenue.

Some alternatives were worse. United Airlines Holdings (UAL -1.30%) saw its share price drop 7% following its decision to raise $1 billion through a secondary offering of stock. United sold 39.25 million shares of stock at $26.50 per share, down from the $27.88 share price as of Tuesday's close.

Investors still fear that airlines will end up needing more operating capital than is available before conditions return to anything resembling normal. For now, the companies are doing what they need to do to survive, but it's still unclear what that means for their longer-term prospects.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Dan Caplinger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon, Delta Air Lines, and Facebook and recommends the following options: short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon and long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Meta Platforms, Inc. Stock Quote
Meta Platforms, Inc.
META
$139.07 (0.07%) $0.09
Delta Air Lines Stock Quote
Delta Air Lines
DAL
$30.62 (0.33%) $0.10
United Airlines Holdings Stock Quote
United Airlines Holdings
UAL
$34.96 (-1.30%) $0.46
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
^DJI
$29,926.94 (-1.15%) $-346.93
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD) Stock Quote
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD)
^GSPC
$3,744.52 (-1.02%) $-38.76
Amazon.com, Inc. Stock Quote
Amazon.com, Inc.
AMZN
$120.30 (-0.54%) $0.65
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return) Stock Quote
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return)
^IXIC
$11,148.64 (%)
Walmart Stock Quote
Walmart
WMT
$131.68 (-0.93%) $-1.24

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

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