Alaska air carrier RavnAir files for bankruptcy as U.S. Treasury mulls grants By Reuters


© Reuters.

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – RavnAir Group, the largest regional carrier in Alaska, filed for bankruptcy Sunday and grounded all of its 72 planes as it waits on a decision from U.S. Treasury for government assistance.

The Trump administration is weighing applications from numerous airlines as it considers how to disburse $25 billion in passenger airline grants, $4 billion for cargo carriers and $3 billion for airport contractors. Congress approved the bailout funds to help air carriers cover payroll costs.

RavnAir, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware, said Sunday it was suspending all operations and laying off all employees.

“We took these actions to ensure our airline has a future, and to give us time to ‘hit pause'” while it seeks Treasury grants and “other sources of financial assistance that will allow us to weather the coronavirus pandemic and emerge successfully once it has passed.”

In a letter posted Sunday, RavnAir Chief Executive Dave Pflieger said the airline was working to “resume the vital air service you depend on to get home to your families, to your businesses, to medical appointments, and to other duties that are essential to our communities and the state of Alaska.”

Delta Air Lines Inc (N:), American Airlines Group Inc (O:), Spirit Airlines Inc (N:), Southwest Airlines Co (N:), United Airlines Holdings Inc (O:) and JetBlue Airways Corp (O:) are among the airlines that confirmed they filed before a Friday deadline set by Treasury to get speedy consideration.

On Sunday, top Democrats including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Charles Schumer urged Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to move quickly and not impose unreasonable conditions on the grants. Airline unions and many Democrats object to Treasury demanding significant equity or warrants as a condition to the grants.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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American joins United, others in suspending more NYC flights on coronavirus spike By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: American Airlines planes are parked at the gate during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Washington

By Tracy Rucinski

(Reuters) – American Airlines Group Inc (O:) said late Sunday it would suspend more flights in and out of New York City’s three main airports for about a month, joining other airlines that have cut flights to the area following a spike in coronavirus cases.

Between April 9 and May 6, American will operate a total of 13 daily flights from New York’s JFK and LaGuardia airports and New Jersey’s Newark, it said, down from an average of 271 daily flights across all three airports in April 2019.

David Seymour, American’s senior vice president of Operations, told employees that demand for flights to the New York area “is rapidly evaporating” following an increase in COVID-19 cases and a recent advisory from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warning against all non-essential travel to and from New York, Connecticut and New Jersey.

New York has been the hardest-hit U.S. state by the coronavirus pandemic.

United Airlines Holdings Inc (O:) said on Saturday that it was reducing its daily New York City area flights to 17 from 157, while JetBlue Airways Corp (O:) is cutting its schedule by as much as 80% and Spirit Airlines Inc (N:) is canceling all of its flights to the area.

U.S. carriers have drastically reduced their flying schedules around the world as air travel demand has plummeted due to the coronavirus, but the reductions to New York – one of the business capitals of the world – underscore the depth of the health and financial crises.

American said it will only operate flights between 10 a.m. ET and 6 p.m. ET as turn-only operations so that no aircraft or crews remain overnight at the airports, and so that fewer New York crew will be required on the ground.

Facing what they call an unprecedented crisis, airlines around the world are seeking government aid to help them avoid employee layoffs with the hope that travel demand will eventually recover.

In the United States, top Democrats in Congress on Sunday urged the U.S. Treasury to move quickly to award $32 billion in cash assistance to airlines and airport contractors without setting onerous requirements that could lead to bankruptcies.

Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus: open https://tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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HSBC HK shareholders mull legal action over dividend suspension By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: HSBC logo is seen on a branch bank in the financial district in New York

By Sumeet Chatterjee and Felix Tam

HONG KONG (Reuters) – HSBC (L:) shareholders in Hong Kong are considering calling for an extraordinary meeting with management and taking possible legal action against the bank’s decision to scrap dividend payments.

HSBC and other top British banks on Wednesday announced the suspension of dividend payouts after pressure from the regulator to save their capital as a buffer against expected losses from the new coronavirus crisis.

Founded in Hong Kong about 150 years ago as Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp, Europe’s biggest lender by assets has a large number of small shareholders in the city who have long benefited from the bank’s stable dividend payments.

Some of the Hong Kong shareholders have come together and created a dedicated Facebook (NASDAQ:) page, which had more than 3,000 members as of Sunday, to discuss possible action against the London-headquartered bank’s dividend halt.

“At this stage, we must call an EGM (extraordinary general meeting) to let the management explain to us,” H.T. Chan, a 46-year-old retired driver who holds the bank’s stock and is part of the Facebook action group, told Reuters.

“For legal action, it depends on what they respond in the EGM. Hopefully, we can call this meeting.”

Shareholders of a company with at least 5% of the total voting rights may require it to convene an extraordinary general meeting, according to Hong Kong laws.

As of Sunday, the newly formed HSBC Shareholders Alliance in Hong Kong had registered members with combined ownership of about 2% of the bank’s stock, Ken Lui, the convenor of the alliance, told reporters on Monday.

“Our goal is to gather 5% of shareholding to call for an EGM … we are very optimistic as we have only set up this alliance four, five days ago.”

HSBC Chief Executive Noel Quinn in a letter to Hong Kong shareholders after the decision to suspend the dividend said the bank’s board would review the position once the economic impact of the pandemic was better understood.

“We profoundly regret the impact this will have on you, your families and your businesses. We are acutely aware of how important the dividend is to our shareholders in Hong Kong.”

Commenting on the possible legal action by the Hong Kong-based shareholders, one London-based institutional investor told Reuters he believed the group had little chance of reversing the decision.

“I see the debate about the banks’ dividends as a very short one: regulator tells them what to do and they comply – end of story.”

Hong Kong is HSBC’s single most important market, and it is one of three note issuing banks there.

A spokeswoman for HSBC said on Sunday the bank was not able to comment on any legal proceedings not yet commenced.

“I am following the majority action. This is a significantly essential issue as you have promised substantial and persistent dividend-paying, but you fail to do that,” said Kingsley Chow, a 39-year-old unemployed man relying on dividend income.

“Our first demand, at least, you have to open EGM to explain to us face-to-face, not just an apology letter!,” he wrote on the Facebook page, referring to Quinn’s letter.





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European stock index futures jump as coronavirus death toll slows By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt

(Reuters) – European stock index futures jumped more than 4% on Monday as a slowdown in coronavirus death toll in France and Italy raised hopes that lockdown measures were starting to show results.

Euro Stoxx 50 futures () were up 4.1% at 0600 GMT, with German DAX futures () and French futures () gaining 4.5% and 4%, respectively.

Italy reported its lowest daily COVID-19 death toll for more than two weeks on Sunday, while France’s daily death toll from the novel coronavirus dropped and admissions into intensive care slowed.

The benchmark STOXX 600 index () ended Friday with the sixth weekly decline in seven as dismal business activity data for March foreshadowed a deep economic and earnings recession due to the outbreak.

Gains for FTSE 100 futures () were kept in check by reports that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was still in hospital on Monday suffering persistent coronavirus symptoms 10 days after testing positive for the virus.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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Oil skids on oversupply fears, stocks jump on virus slowdown By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A pump jack operates in front of a drilling rig at sunset in an oil field in Texas

By Swati Pandey

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Oil prices skidded on Monday after Saudi-Russian negotiations to cut output were delayed, keeping oversupply concerns alive, while stocks jumped as investors were encouraged by a slowdown in coronavirus-related deaths and new cases.

In currency markets, sterling fell after British Prime Minister was admitted to hospital following persistent coronavirus symptoms as the pandemic rapidly spreads.

Brent crude () fell as much as $3 in early Asian trading after Saudi Arabia and Russia postponed a meeting over a potential pact to cut production to Thursday. [O/R]

Analysts said the news could lead to some sell-off in currency markets too.

Also weighing on the pound were fears other senior government officials who were in the same briefing as Prime Minister Boris Johnson could be affected by the virus, said Karl Schamotta, chief market strategist at Cambridge Global Payments in Toronto, Canada.

The pound fell 0.4% in early trade on Monday in a knee-jerk reaction and was last down 0.3% at $1.2222.

“It is stating the obvious to say the viral outbreak and the containment measures to fight it are central to market action,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.

Indeed, equity investors looked at the positives with major European nations including France and Italy reporting lower fatality rates.

U.S. stock futures () jumped more than 1.5% in early Asian trading on Monday after U.S. President Donald Trump expressed hope the country was seeing a “levelling off” of the coronavirus crisis.

The gains came despite New York Governor Andrew Cuomo cautioning that it was not yet clear whether the crisis in the state had reached a plateau.

Investors took solace from the fact that COVID-19 cases appeared to be reaching a peak in Europe with Italy seeing the number of patients in intensive care falling for the second consecutive day.

In Asia, Australia’s benchmark index () added 0.5%, Japan’s Nikkei was up 0.2% () while South Korea’s KOSPI index () climbed 1.4%.

That left MSCI’s broadest index of Asian shares outside of Japan () up 0.1%. China markets were closed for a public holiday.

“Focus in markets will now turn to the path out of lockdown and to what extent containment measures can be lifted without risking a second wave of infections,” National Australia Bank analyst Tapas Strickland wrote in a note.

“Key to a strong rebound in China will be the ongoing lifting of containment measures with Wuhan – the epicentre of the outbreak – set to lift containment measures on April 8.”

Strickland, however, noted many in China were still subject to social distancing and isolation restrictions to prevent a resurgence in infections.

The pandemic has claimed more than 64,000 deaths as it further exploded in the United States and the death toll climbed in Spain and Italy, according to a Reuters tally.

Concerns about heavy damage to the global economy have pushed investors into the perceived safety of government bonds where yields are at or near all-time lows. [US/]

Elsewhere in currencies, the dollar was up a touch against the yen at 108.58. . The euro () was barely moved at $1.0803 while the risk sensitive Australian dollar was up 0.2% at $0.6004.

In commodities, Brent crude futures () slipped 6.2%, or $2.13, to $31.98 a barrel while U.S. crude () dived 7.4%, or $2.12, to $26.12. [O/R]

was down 0.2% at $1,612.9 an ounce.





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