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  • Bill Gates calls COVID-19 vaccine conspiracy theories 'wild' and 'unexpected'
    Entertainment
    Yahoo Finance

    Bill Gates calls COVID-19 vaccine conspiracy theories 'wild' and 'unexpected'

    Bill Gates says misinformation online could result in fewer people being vaccinated against the coronavirus.

  • British Firms Fall Into Distress at Fastest Pace Since 2017
    Business
    Bloomberg

    British Firms Fall Into Distress at Fastest Pace Since 2017

    (Bloomberg) -- British firms fell into distress at the fastest pace in three years between July and September with measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic impacting the hospitality and retail sectors the hardest.About 30,000 more businesses are now struggling to meet their debt obligations, taking the total to 557,000, according to a survey of U.K. companies by insolvency specialist Begbies Traynor. That’s a 6% increase since June, and a 9% rise since the end of the first quarter.More than 1,700 bars and restaurants and almost 3,000 retailers had a minor debt ruling against them or saw a deterioration in key financial indicators since March, according to the report. The number could rise even more rapidly as courts start to operate normally and the government gradually withdraws support measures.About 1.8 million people worked for small and medium-sized enterprises which were in distress at the end of September, according to Begbies Traynor.“The recently launched, reduced version of the furlough scheme and the end to government guaranteed loans will serve to give many businesses a brutal reality check,” said Ric Traynor, executive chairman at Begbies Traynor. “Lack of profitability and accumulated debt will catch up with them once the subsidies end and they face the harsh realities of the challenging economic environment.”A separate report published by the U.K.’s Office for National Statistics on Thursday found that 4% of companies surveyed have no cash reserves and another 39% have cash buffers only for the next six months. Nearly half of the companies reported a drop in revenues compared with normal trading levels at this time of the year, the survey shows.(Adds data for SMEs in fourth paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Exxon to Cut 14,000 From Global Workforce After Energy Slump
    Business
    Bloomberg

    Exxon to Cut 14,000 From Global Workforce After Energy Slump

    (Bloomberg) -- Exxon Mobil Corp. will slash its global workforce by 15% over the next two years, an unprecedented culling by North America’s biggest oil explorer as it struggles to preserve dividends.The cuts will include 1,900 U.S. jobs, mostly in Houston, as well as reductions in contractors and layoffs previously announced in Europe and Australia. Personnel reductions are Chief Executive Officer Darren Woods’s latest effort to curtail spending and halt the worst string of quarterly losses since Exxon assumed its modern form with the 1999 takeover of Mobil Corp.“These actions will improve the company’s long-term cost competitiveness and ensure the company manages through the current unprecedented market conditions,” the company said in a statement on Thursday.Exxon rose 3% to $32.51 at 12:34 p.m. in New York and was the day’s best-performing exploration stock in the S&P 500 Index.Exxon’s total reduction will affect about 14,000 people, split between employees and contractors, spokesman Casey Norton said by email. The cuts will come through attrition, targeted redundancy programs in 2021, and scaled-back hiring in some countries.Exxon’s Big Oil rivals are also cutting thousands of jobs in response to the pandemic-induced demand slump. BP Plc plans to slash 10,000 jobs, Royal Dutch Shell Plc will cut as many as 9,000 roles and Chevron Corp. has announced around 6,000 reductions.Exxon’s workforce stood at about 88,000 people, including 75,000 in-house employees and the rest comprised of contractors, as of year-end 2019, Norton said.Suburban CampusIn the U.S., the pain will be particularly acute at the suburban Houston location where Exxon opened a sprawling, glass-walled campus in 2014 to house 9,000 employees from exploration, chemicals and other units that had previously been dispersed throughout the metro area. The company’s corporate headquarters remains in the Dallas area.The fact that Exxon is cutting at all is a sign of its weakened financial position compared to its former status as the S&P 500 Index’s biggest company less than a decade ago and a profit powerhouse used to riding out oil-price cycles.This year’s downturn has been particularly damaging because it affected refining, usually a cushion in times of low oil prices, and because it came at a time when Exxon was already increasing borrowing to fund a large expansion program. The company was forced to retreat on these plans in April, reducing capital spending by $10 billion and delaying or scaling back most of major projects.The stock has plunged more than 50% this year. Its dividend yield is now more than 10%, indicating that investors are anticipating a cut. Exxon maintained the quarterly payout on Wednesday, and is expected to post its third consecutive quarterly loss when it reports earnings tomorrow.(Updates with details from second paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • These states suffer from the weakest job recovery as election approaches
    News
    Yahoo Finance

    These states suffer from the weakest job recovery as election approaches

    Hawaii is suffering from the worst job market in the United States. Here are the other states in trouble as the election approaches.