By Francesca Fontana
Americans are turning into fixer-uppers during the pandemic as they spend less on vacations and gyms, giving Lowe's and Home Depot a boost. Revenue surged at the home-improvement retailers as sales to do-it-yourself consumers outpaced demand from professional contractors. The DIY trend played to Lowe's advantage in the quarter, as it relies less on sales to contractors than Home Depot does. Lowe's shares added 0.2% Wednesday.
The McFight between the fast-food-food giant and its former boss escalated this week when former Chief Executive Officer Steve Easterbrook said his former employer had information about his relationships with other employees when it negotiated his multimillion-dollar severance package. McDonald's sued Mr. Easterbrook on Aug. 10, saying he lied to investigators and its board to cover up those relationships to secure the payout. McDonald's has taken the unusual move of seeking to claw back Mr. Easterbrook's severance in court after firing him in November, exposing the company and its board to a rare public fight over compensation awarded to a former executive. McDonald's shares rose 0.8% Monday.
A company with close ties to the White House is President Trump's new favorite bidder for TikTok. Oracle has entered the running to buy the U.S. operations of TikTok, adding a fresh wrinkle to the bidding for the Chinese-owned video-sharing app, and the president offered his endorsement Tuesday. TikTok's owner, ByteDance Ltd., is facing a fall deadline from the Trump administration to divest itself of its U.S. operations. Oracle has closer ties to the White House than most other parties involved in the bidding. Larry Ellison, the company's co-founder, chairman and largest shareholder, earlier this year threw a fundraiser at his house for the president. Oracle shares gained 2.2% Tuesday.
Apple became the first U.S. public company to join the $2 trillion club. It surpassed that market value for the first time Wednesday, highlighting the iPhone maker's commanding role in the world economy. The stock has more than doubled from its March 23 low, boosted by steady demand for the company's devices and better-than-feared results in its core iPhone business as millions of Americans work from home. The milestone is the latest for Apple under Chief Executive Tim Cook, who succeeded late co-founder and product inventor Steve Jobs in 2011. Shares of Apple rose as much as 1.4% to $468.65, eclipsing the $467.77 mark needed to reach the milestone, and ended up 0.1% Wednesday.
Target hit the bull's-eye during this pandemic. The big-box retailer reported the strongest quarterly sales growth in its history on Wednesday, citing broad gains across categories such as food, electronics and home goods and a rebound in clothing sales. The pandemic has boosted the fortunes of big U.S. chains like Target that were able to stay open and feed America's basic needs. The company has benefited as coronavirus concerns fueled demand for services that let shoppers pick up goods in parking lots or skip trips to the store. Target also sells groceries and other household staples that have been in demand as Americans cook and clean more in their homes. Target shares jumped 13% Wednesday.
American Airlines Group Inc.
It just got more difficult to fly from here to there if you live in certain parts of the U.S. American Airlines said it would stop flights to 15 cities once the federal aid for airlines expires in October, an announcement that could escalate pressure on lawmakers to extend another round of aid. The $25 billion bailout required airlines to maintain a certain level of flying to cities in their networks so that no city was cut off entirely. The cuts will affect airports in cities including New Haven, Conn., and Stillwater, Okla.; some aren't served by any other airline. American struck the cities from its schedule from Oct. 7 through Nov. 3, saying it was the first step in re-evaluating its network in the coming weeks. American Airlines shares fell 1.4% Thursday.
You're still able to get a Lyft in California -- for now. A state appeals court on Thursday paused a lower-court ruling that required the ride-hailing company and its rival Uber Technologies Inc. to reclassify their drivers as employees. The reprieve means both companies can continue operating while they fight a high-stakes legal battle with their home state. California sued Lyft and Uber in May for allegedly violating the law, which would require the companies to treat workers as employees rather than independent contractors. As employees, drivers would be eligible for sick days and other benefits, issues that have become more pressing during the coronavirus pandemic. The San Francisco companies have argued that they are technology platforms, not transportation companies, so the drivers aren't part of their usual course of business. Lyft shares gained 5.8% Thursday.
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