In a historic move, crude oil prices crashed Monday on weak demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic and oversupply woes. The May contract for U.S. WTI crude oil (CL=F), expiring Tuesday, plunged into negative territory for the first time ever, settling at -$37.63 per barrel. The June contract for oil tumbled but held above $20 per barrel.
It all comes down to storage, according to experts. “It should be noted however that near-term WTI prices are trading at massive discounts to later-dated contracts — primarily due to concerns about the storage hub in Cushing filling to capacity — with the more active June contract falling by around a third as much,” Deutsche Bank’s Jim Reid wrote in a note Monday.
Netflix, Chipotle earnings
The streaming giant has been holding up amid the market volatility caused by the coronavirus. Social distancing encouragements and “shelter-in-place” mandates across the world have locked people indoors, and Netflix was among a handful of companies that have gotten a boost over the past couple months.
“Netflix shares have performed well since the start of 2020 and are up ~28% YTD despite the significant consumer disruption caused by COVID-19. With consumers staying home and limiting their time outside, Netflix usage has risen over the last several weeks since stay-at-home orders were introduced, according to Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos,” Cowen analyst John Blackledge said in a note April 15.
Blackledge also alluded to the spike in Google searches for the term “Netflix” in the final three weeks of the first quarter.
Furthermore, Loop Capital analyst Rob Sanderson pointed out that Netflix could be close to free cash-flow positive this year due to the massive industry-wide production halts due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Given the industry production shutdown, we estimate NFLX will spend $2.5B less this year, and be close to free cash-flow positive. With the largest library and the entire industry shut down, we think NFLX will spend less while expanding its competitive edge,” Sanderson said in a note April 17.
Netflix is expected to report adjusted earnings of $1.87 per share on $5.74 billion in revenue during its first quarter, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Wall Street estimates 7.69 million global paid subscriber additions, representing 17% year-over-year subscriber growth.
Meanwhile, Chipotle will also deliver its first quarter results after the market close. The burrito giant has yet to update its investors about how the business is faring amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Much like its peers, Chipotle has closed its dining rooms and is relying solely on takeout and delivery during the pandemic, and analysts believe that likely hurt the business in March and April. While learning about the impact of the virus on Chipotle’s business will be a focal point, Credit Suisse analyst Lauren Silberman noted that what management says about the future will be more important.
“We expect the narrative will begin to shift to the future of the industry, and which restaurants are best positioned to take advantage of the imminent demand and supply imbalance ... We believe restaurants best positioned are those that appeal to younger cohorts (less cautious), have strong off-premise businesses (including digital ecosystems) and offer compelling value,” Silberman said in a note April 17.
“We see chains as better positioned than independents given access to resources and more established off-premise & digital infrastructures, with opportunities for market share gains over the medium to long-term as restaurant supply contracts,” she added.
Chipotle shares are down about 3% this year and have outperformed the broader market’s 12% decline during the same time period. The options market is implying about an 8.6% move in either direction following the earnings announcement.
Heidi Chung is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @heidi_chung.
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