The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was rallying on Friday, up 1.1% at 2:05 p.m. EDT. Gilead Sciences published data on Friday showing that antiviral drug remdesivir reduced risk of death in severe cases of COVID-19, although additional trials are needed. This good news was offset by the numbers: The U.S. reported over 63,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 for July 9, a new record.
A rising tide lifted many boats. Boeing (NYSE:BA) stock was up on Friday despite a major airline reportedly threatening to cancel 737 Max orders, and financial stocks JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), American Express (NYSE:AXP), and Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) rose even as an analyst warned about massive loan loss provisions for the second quarter.
American Airlines may cancel 737 Max orders
Boeing is on track to get its grounded 737 Max planes back in the air sometime this year, solving one problem that has plagued the company since early 2019. But the end of the grounding won't matter much if airline customers don't want or need the new planes.
On Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported that American Airlines had threatened to cancel some 737 Max orders. American Airlines had planned on taking delivery of 17 planes this year, but the company is reportedly having difficulty finding financing. Air passenger volumes are deeply depressed due to the pandemic, and with cases of COVID-19 surging in many U.S. states, a full recovery may take years.
While passenger volumes have risen since April, when stay-at-home orders were in full effect, the numbers remain dire. The total number of travelers going through TSA checkpoints on July 9 was down 73% from one year ago, according to TSA data.
Boeing could be facing a long period where demand for new commercial airplanes is far below historic levels. With the U.S. unable to get the pandemic under control, new stay-at-home orders in some areas are possible. Some states in the Northeast have already imposed quarantine requirements for anyone traveling from hotspots, which is likely further depressing demand for air travel.
Boeing stock brushed off the news on Friday, and was up about 3% in the afternoon.
Bank earnings could be rough
Major U.S. banks will begin reporting their second-quarter results next week, and one analyst expects the numbers to be ugly.
Wells Fargo analyst Mike Mayo expects the loan loss provisions reported by big banks to be worse than in the first quarter. Companies that hold loans on their books take charges to account for expected losses from those loans, which reduce earnings. With the pandemic shutting down much of the U.S. earlier this year, banks took big losses to boost their loan loss reserves in the first quarter.
JPMorgan Chase, American Express, and Goldman Sachs all booked significant loan loss provisions in the first quarter. JPMorgan took an $8.3 billion charge, American Express took a $2.6 billion charge, and Goldman Sachs took a $937 million charge. All were up substantially from the prior-year period.
Mayo expects the second quarter to be the worst quarter for banks since the financial crisis, predicting that earnings will drop by 50% in some cases. The silver lining: The second quarter may mark the bottom. For long-term investors, Mayo sees banks as good investments due to depressed valuations.
Despite the bleak second-quarter outlook, financial stocks were rallying on Friday. JPMorgan stock was up 5%, American Express stock was up 2.6%, and Goldman Sachs stock was up 4.2% by the afternoon.