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Steelmakers See Weaker Demand Amid Pandemic — Earnings at a Glance

Demand for steel and copper weakened in the first quarter as the Covid-19 pandemic weighed on industrial sectors.

Hyundai Steel Co.: The South Korean steelmaker swung to a net loss in the first three months of the year, as the pandemic depressed demand and the company’s affiliates in China experienced a slower-than-expected recovery.

Posco: The South Korean steelmaker’s first-quarter net profit dropped 44% due to weaker steel demand and lower product prices.

Freeport-McMoRan Inc.: The mining company swung to a loss for the first quarter, becoming the first big player in the sector to detail the impact of the pandemic. The company lowered its estimate for 2020 copper sales volumes by about 15%.

Auto-parts makers were feeling the pain as well.

Autoliv: The Swedish maker of airbags and safety belts posted a lower first-quarter net profit but said its task force to manage the situation in China was expanded globally with timely cost-reduction actions to offset much of the headwinds from weak light-vehicle production.

Gentex Corp.: The Zeeland, Mich.-based company, which makes automotive components, reported a smaller profit in the first quarter as the Covid-19 pandemic slowed global automobile production.

Hyundai Mobis Co.: The South Korean auto parts maker’s first-quarter net profit fell 28% due to a slowdown in production and sales in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Other earnings reported Friday, at a glance:
American Express Co.: The financial-services company more than tripled its provision for credit losses in the first quarter, and its chief executive said volumes were heavily impacted by the pandemic.

Barnes Group: The Bristol, Conn., provider of engineered products and industrial technologies reported lower but more-than-expected profit and sales for the first quarter as it reduced its operations due to the pandemic toward the end of the period. Barnes said it expects the current quarter to be significantly affected by the global shutdown.

Kia Motors Corp.: The South Korean auto maker’s first-quarter net profit plunged 59% from a year earlier as it starts to feel the pain from the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced the closure of some plants.

Nestle SA: The Swiss food and beverage company’s sales fell in the first quarter but it backed its full-year guidance, saying it is still early to assess the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic. North America and Europe benefited from stockpiling in ready-made dishes, pet care and coffee. Out-of-home consumption channels reported a significant decline but e-commerce grew to exceed 10% of total sales.
Sanofi SA: Stockpiling of prescription drugs and strong demand for flu vaccination and over-the-counter cough and cold medication in response to the coronavirus pandemic boosted the French health-care company’s sales in the first quarter.

Shinhan Financial Group Co.: The South Korean company’s first-quarter net profit fell 1.7% from a year earlier due to weaker gains from its derivatives segment amid pandemic-driven market volatility.

Synovus Financial Corp.: The regional-bank holding company reported a smaller profit in the first quarter as it set aside more money to cover credit losses related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Verizon Communications Inc.: The largest U.S. wireless carrier by subscribers said the coronavirus pandemic slowed its core wireless business in the March quarter as Americans bought fewer new smartphones amid widespread store closures.
Source: Dow Jones

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