U.S. stocks rode a roller coaster in early trading on Wall Street Thursday, first falling and then rising before ending the day flat. Two prominent firms, Lloyd’s of London and Greene King, have acknowledged their ties to the slave trade and pledged to make amends. Carnival Corp (CCL) posted a preliminary $4.4 billion loss in the second quarter as the coronavirus pandemic has forced cruise ship companies to halt operations and suspend cruises.Shares dropped 6.9% to $17.77 in pre-market trading after the world’s biggest cruise operator warned that it expects
June 18 (UPI) — U.S. stocks rode a roller coaster in early trading on Wall Street Thursday, first falling and then rising before ending the day flat.
The Dow ended a three-day winning streak Wednesday and closed with a 170-point loss.
The S&P 500 ended the day mostly flat, gaining just 0.059 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite closed up slightly, rising 0.33 percent.
The Labor Department reported Thursday that 1.5 million American workers filed new unemployment claims last week, a figure slightly higher than most experts predicted. The unemployment rate, however, remained unchanged at 14.1 percent.
Tech stocks helped to drive the Nasdaq to a fifth consecutive day of gains as Amazon stock gained 0.49 percent, Netflix increased 0.47 percent and Facebook dropped 0.17 percent.
Continued declines in stocks that would benefit from lifting restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 limited gains for the S&P and Dow, as American Airlines stock slid 2.89 percent and Carnival cruise lines fell 1.41 percent.
Chem M&A market starts thawing after Covid-19 freeze – banker
Author: Joseph Chang
Britain Grapples With Its Racist Past, From the Town Square to the Boardroom
Two prominent firms, Lloyd’s of London and Greene King, have acknowledged their ties to the slave trade and pledged to make amends.
LONDON — Britain’s uneasy confrontation with its racist history moved from statues in town squares to corporate boardrooms this week, as two prominent British firms, Lloyd’s of London and Greene King, announced they would make amends for their involvement in the slave trade in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Lloyd’s, the insurance giant, and Greene King, which owns pubs and breweries, have been forced to answer for sinister chapters in their past, as part of an unsparing focus on racism brought on by the Black Lives Matter protests against the killing of George Floyd, a black man, by the police in Minneapolis.
Researchers at University College London documented how several important early figures in both firms had enslaved hundreds of people and were compensated for their loss after slavery was abolished in the British Empire in 1833.
Lloyd’s and Greene King each said they would invest in recruiting more black, Asian and other minority employees and provide financial support to charities that promote diversity and inclusion. Neither made a concrete monetary pledge nor referred to their commitments as reparations, but both expressed deep regret.
“There are some aspects of our history that we are not proud of,” said a statement from Lloyd’s, an insurer that traces its roots to 1686, when it pioneered the market for marine insurance. “This was an appalling and shameful period of British history, as well as our own, and we condemn the indefensible wrongdoing that occurred during this period.”
The outcry against symbols of racism has grown to a fever pitch in Britain in recent weeks, with protests across the country, acts of vandalism against monuments to Winston Churchill and a charged debate over the proper way to judge historical figures that has drawn in Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other politicians.
In Bristol, a crowd tore down a bronze statue of the 17th century slave trader Edward Colston and dumped it in the harbor. And one of Oxford University’s colleges said Wednesday it would remove a statue to Cecil Rhodes, an imperialist whose white supremacist views are viewed by some as a precursor to apartheid.
Lloyd’s and Greene King are taking action as the prospect of paying reparations has gained new legitimacy with the protests. In the United States in recent years, it has even emerged as an issue in the presidential race.
It is unclear if the firms are prepared to go so far as making compensatory payments for their past actions. But the announcements by Lloyd’s and Greene King nevertheless opened a new chapter in corporate accountability in Britain, laying bare the role of slavery in enriching some of the country’s best-known corporate names.
Nine British firms were found to have benefited either directly or indirectly from compensation after slavery was abolished. Among those, according to a database compiled by University College London, are HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays Bank and Lloyds Banking Group. Pressure will mount on those banks to make amends.
To some skeptics, the announcements by Lloyd’s and Greene King were public-relations stunts that would do little to address the profound injustice caused by slavery.
“A token nod to encouraging diversity and giving away unspecified amounts to charity is frankly insulting,” said Kehinde Andrews, a professor of black studies at Birmingham City University. Lloyd’s, he said, could only genuinely atone by “turning the company over to the descendants of the enslaved.”
Britain has been slower to come to terms with its ties to slavery than the United States, scholars say, because its trading and ownership of enslaved people often took place thousands of miles from its shores, in the trade between West Africa and the Caribbean, and in British-owned plantations in the West Indies.
Still, there are ambitious efforts to document that history, including the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, a city that once dominated Britain’s slave trade, as well as at a smaller exhibit in Bristol. The mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, plans to display the statue of Colston, which he had fished out of the harbor, there.
University College London has posted online the identities of 47,000 slave owners who claimed £20 million ($24 million), in today’s currency values, in compensation, according to Matthew Smith, the director of the project.
For Greene King, which employs 38,000 people in its pubs and breweries across Britain, the links are uncomfortably direct.
The company was founded in 1799 by Benjamin Greene, who ran sugar cane plantations in the West Indies and owned at least 231 enslaved people. When Greene was forced to surrender his estates, on the islands of Montserrat and St. Kitts, he was paid the equivalent of nearly £500,000 ($621,000) in today’s terms.
Greene’s descendants included a governor of the Bank of England, a Conservative member of Parliament, a director-general of the BBC and the author Graham Greene, according to the university’s database.
“It is inexcusable that one of our founders profited from slavery and argued against its abolition in the 1800s,” Greene King’s chief executive officer, Nick Mackenzie, said in a statement. “While that is a part of our history, we are now focused on the present and the future.”
The company said it would contribute a “substantial investment” to the black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, work with outside charities and seek to improve diversity and inclusion in its own ranks.
Afua Hirsch, a columnist at The Guardian who writes on race in Britain, said that steering funds to minority groups in general showed “a complete lack of understanding that this is a history that involves black people, and not even all black people, but specifically those of Afro-Caribbean descent.”
In the case of Lloyd’s, the connection to slavery was through Simon Fraser, one of its founding subscribers, who owned at least 162 enslaved people and ran the Castle Bruce estate in Dominica. Fraser’s heirs were compensated with the equivalent of nearly £400,000 ($496,000) in today’s money.
Lloyd’s said it would examine how it presents its corporate history and its “organizational artifacts” to make sure they are “explicitly non-racist.” In its statement, it said, “There is a long way to go but we are determined that we can and will create a culture in the Lloyd’s market in which everybody can flourish.”
As the Black Lives Matter protests have proliferated, some politicians have stumbled. When Britain’s foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, was asked on Thursday in response to the George Floyd protests whether he would “take the knee” in a gesture of solidarity with victims of police brutality, he suggested it had come from the HBO series “Game of Thrones,” and was “a symbol of subjugation, subordination, rather than one of liberation.”
The only time he would take the knee, he added, was for “the Queen and the Mrs. when I asked her to marry me.”
After opposition leaders assailed Mr. Raab for insensitivity and demanded an apology, he tried to clean up his remarks, declaring on Twitter, “To be clear: I have full respect for the Black Lives Matter movement, and the issues driving them. If people wish to take a knee, that’s their choice and I respect it.”
Geneva Abdul contributed reporting.
Author: Mark Landler
Carnival Posts $4.4B Quarterly Loss Sending Shares Down 7% In Pre-Market
Carnival Corp (CCL) posted a preliminary $4.4 billion loss in the second quarter as the coronavirus pandemic has forced cruise ship companies to halt operations and suspend cruises.
Shares dropped 6.9% to $17.77 in pre-market trading after the world’s biggest cruise operator warned that it expects a net loss on both a U.S. GAAP and adjusted basis for the second half of 2020. Carnival expects the monthly average cash burn rate for the second half of the year to amount to about $650 million and said that it was also planning to accelerate the sale of more ships.
Revenue in the second quarter ended May 31, plunged to $700 million from $4.8 billion a year earlier. Sales missed analysts’ expectations by $37.8 million.
“Cruise operations have been in a pause for a majority of the second quarter,” Carnival said in a statement. “In addition, the company is unable to definitively predict when it will return to normal operations.”
Meanwhile, the cruise operator said that it is seeing growing demand from new bookings for 2021. For the six weeks ending May 31, 2020, about two-thirds of 2021 bookings were new bookings, the company said.
As of May 31, Carnival had a total of $7.6 billion of available liquidity and $8.8 billion in export credit facilities that are available to fund ship deliveries originally planned through 2023.
Carnival has this year seen its shares shed as much as three-quarters of their value following major coronavirus outbreaks on a number of cruise ships, including Carnival’s Diamond Princess. The stock has seen some relief over the past month soaring more than 50% as the cruise operator experienced a surge in bookings amid prospects that it may restart some cruises in August.
Still, analysts are for now staying on the sidelines. The Hold analyst consensus shows 8 Hold ratings and 4 Sell ratings versus 3 Buy ratings. The average price target stands at $15.66, reflecting 18% downside potential over the coming year. (See CCL’s stock analysis on TipRanks)
Meanwhile JPMorgan analyst Brandt Montour this month raised the stock’s price target to $20 from $16, while maintaining a Hold rating, saying that the shares are reflecting a “reasonable, albeit slow,” recovery in operations.
In the short-term though, Montour expects shares to “remain choppy and range-bound” until investors receive more clarity on “several pressure points,” including sailing requirements, firm restart dates, and signs that new cruisers and older passengers will reengage with the product.
Author: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ben Mahaney)