The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^SPX) closed down 34.4 points, or 1.1%, on July 7. This breaks a streak of positive days for the market index that started last month.
The biggest news moving the market today was word that five more U.S. airlines had signed letters of intent to accept federal aid under the CARES Act, reminding investors that even with the improvements in economic activity we have seen, the travel and related industries are still in serious trouble.
Looking beyond the airline and aerospace industries, word that Walmart (NYSE:WMT) is launching a subscription service soon gave its shares a boost. The news brought Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) shares down modestly, but not enough to drop them below $3,000 after closing above the mark for the first time yesterday.
We also take a look at a new COVID-19 test from healthcare giant Becton, Dickinson (NYSE:BDX), and Paychex's (NASDAQ:PAYX) warning that its own paycheck will shrink in 2021, after reporting a weak end to fiscal 2020.
Airlines hold out their hats a little further
Of the five airlines reported to have signed up for another helping of the federal dole, four were S&P 500 components Delta Airlines (NYSE:DAL), United Airlines Holdings (NASDAQ:UAL), Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV), and Alaska Air Group (NYSE:ALK), and non-S&P member JetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU).
As a group, these airline stocks are down between 3% and 7.4% on the news, with Delta (down 5.2%) and United (down 7.5%) are the two hardest hit, as the recovery in demand for air travel has stalled. United gave a presentation to employees late Monday that demand is weakening and that it's likely to have to lay employees off later this year -- once it's able to under the terms of federal assistance it has already received.
For context, United is adding 25,000 additional flights for August to its schedule, but even with those additions it will fly about half the volume it did one year ago. Last week Delta warned more than 2,500 pilots that they could be laid off later this year.
It's not just airline stocks facing a shorter runway. Shares of aircraft manufacturers Boeing (NYSE:BA) and Textron (NYSE:TXT) are down 4.7% and 5.3% as the outlook for the airline business gets even more downbeat.
Walmart aiming at Amazon Prime, but Amazon stock stays over $3,000
According to multiple reports, Walmart is planning to launch a subscription program later this month it will call Walmart+. The membership is anticipated to include discounted fuel, free same-day shipping, and other benefits, and at a lower cost than Amazon's Prime subscription. Walmart+ is expected to cost $98 per year, versus $119 for the annual Prime membership, which includes free video streaming, fast shipping on many products, and other benefits.
Walmart stock surged on the news, closing up more than 5% and surging 7% in early after-hours trading. Amazon stock, on the other hand, fell more than 1.7% on the day. However, even news that its biggest retail competitor was planning a frontal attack on a core part of its business wasn't enough to drag the share price back below $3,000. Amazon stock closed above $3,000 for the first time on Monday, making today the first time its shares spent an entire session above that massive mark.
FDA gives Becton, Dickinson the nod on a portable COVID test
Healthcare giant Becton, Dickinson's BD Veritor Plus handheld diagnostic machine is already portable and popular, with more than 25,000 healthcare facilities already using it in the United States. Now it's available to use to diagnose patients for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 illness.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted an Emergency Use Authorization for an antigen test that can be delivered with the BD Veritor Plus. The antigen test, developed by a separate company, can produce a result in 15 minutes, according to Beckton, Dickinson, and the company says it can make 10 million tests by the end of September, at which point it would be able to make about 2 million per week.
Paychex's paycheck comes up short
Payroll and business services provider Paychex reported fiscal fourth-quarter results before market open today, reporting a small 5% decline in adjusted earnings of $0.61 per share, on a 7% decline in revenue to $915 million. In addition to a decline in its results to end its fiscal year, management warned that the new fiscal year it has started won't be any better. The company expects adjusted earnings per share for fiscal 2021 -- which runs through May of 2021 -- will fall between 6% and 10% on a 2% to 5% revenue decline.
That's not just an indication of the company's outlook for its own prospects. As one of the largest payroll services providers in the U.S., it's a stark reminder that the implications for the COVID-19 pandemic on American companies could be deeper and potentially longer-lasting than expected.