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The Margin: People are going blind and dying from drinking hand sanitizer: CDC

Don’t drink hand sanitizer.

While using the alcohol-based gels and liquids has become an integral part of hand hygiene during the coronavirus pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a worrisome report showing some adults are suffering seizures, losing their vision and even dying from consuming hand sanitizer laced with methanol.

The warning comes on the heels of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) expanding list of recalled hand sanitizer products that it says contain methanol, which is a toxic substance that could cause death if too much is absorbed into the skin or it is consumed. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer should only contain ethanol (ethyl alcohol) or isopropanol (isopropyl alcohol), which are safe to use. But some products imported into the U.S. have been found to contain methanol -— despite claiming to have ethanol. Now the FDA’s “do not touch” list of toxic hand sanitizer brands has spilled over to 75 products, including brands such as Blumen and Hello Kitty by Sanrio.

Read more:The FDA’s list of toxic sanitizers is surging—now at 75. Here’s why

The CDC was notified on June 30 about cases of methanol poisoning in Arizona and New Mexico. After reviewing 62 calls to poison centers in those states between May 1 and June 30, it found 15 cases of methanol poisoning by ingestion in adults ages 21 to 65. Thirteen of them were male, and all of them had a history of swallowing alcohol-based hand sanitizer products. Four people died.

The CDC report doesn’t reveal why these individuals drank the hand sanitizer, but it notes that children will sometimes swallow the substance accidentally, or teens and adults with a history of alcohol abuse may drink it as an alcohol substitute.

But what it does describe are the consequences. Methanol poisoning can cause serious side effects and death if left untreated. Six of the 15 people admitted to the hospital suffered seizures, and they still had visual impairments when they were discharged. The report details one case study, in particular: a 44-year-old man who was hospitalized for six days with acute methanol poisoning. His treatment was complicated by seizures, and he went home with near-total vision loss.

“Persons should never ingest alcohol-based hand sanitizer, avoid use of specific imported products found to contain methanol, and continue to monitor FDA guidance.”


“This investigation highlights the serious adverse health events, including death, that can occur after ingesting alcohol-based hand sanitizer products containing methanol,” the CDC report states. “Safety messaging to avoid ingestion of any alcohol-based hand sanitizer product should continue. Persons should never ingest alcohol-based hand sanitizer, avoid use of specific imported products found to contain methanol, and continue to monitor FDA guidance.”

It also cautions that kids using hand sanitizer should be supervised, and that these products should be kept out of reach of children when not in use.

The CDC notes that this report just looked at two states, so cases of methanol poisoning from drinking hand sanitizer could be higher. “Health departments in all states should coordinate with poison centers to identify cases of methanol poisoning,” it writes.

This isn’t the first warning about hand sanitizer products doing more harm than good. Earlier in the pandemic, health officials and liquor brands like Everclear grain alcohol and Tito’s Handmade Vodka warned consumers not to use booze to concoct homemade hand sanitizer while such disinfectant products were hard to come by during the first wave of pandemic panic shopping.

Read more:Why you shouldn’t use Tito’s Vodka to make hand sanitizer — or attempt to make your own hand sanitizer period

The CDC has recommended using alcohol-based hand sanitizer products that contain at least 60% ethyl alcohol or 70% isopropyl alcohol in community settings during the pandemic to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. But as noted above, the FDA has also flagged 75 hand sanitizer products contaminated with toxic methanol. Check out the complete list of recalled sanitizer products here. If you have any in your home, stop using them, and dispose of them in hazardous waste containers. Do not flush them down the toilet or dump them down the drain.

Or you can avoid the risk by avoiding sanitizer altogether — Both the WHO and the CDC agree that scrubbing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds is a much more effective way to reduce the risk of infection. The CDC clearly states in its guidelines that “soap and water are more effective than hand sanitizer at removing certain kinds of germs.”

Stay up to date with MarketWatch’s coronavirus coverage here.

The Margin: ‘Will the public be ready for a vaccine?’ Many Americans say they won’t get the coronavirus vaccine if one is developed

In the race to develop a vaccine to stop the novel coronavirus that’s killed more than half a million people and crippled economies across the globe, we may be overlooking one very important question: Will people actually want to get the vaccine if one becomes available?

Even before COVID-19 reached pandemic proportions, the growing anti-vaccination movement already saw one-fifth to two-fifths of Americans questioning the safety of vaccines. And these skeptics aren’t the only ones now questioning how safe and effective a coronavirus vaccine developed at “warp speed” will be, considering vaccines normally take up to a decade to develop. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, told Reuters on Wednesday that a coronavirus vaccine could arrive in early 2021. But many Americans aren’t ready for it.

Yahoo News and YouGov have been polling Americans for the past few months, and the most recent survey released this week finds that the public embrace of a potential vaccine has hit a new low. Only 42% of Americans said they planned to get vaccinated if and when a vaccine becomes available, which is down from 55% in late May, and 46% in early July.

Combining the number of Americans who said they wouldn’t get vaccinated with the number who said they were unsure (36%) accounts for about three quarters of the population. This is notable because estimates suggest that 70% to 90% of the country would need to be vaccinated to achieve the herd immunity needed to stop COVID-19 from spreading.

Now a new survey from a collaboration by Harvard, Rutgers, Northeastern and Northwestern universities digs even deeper into why some people are ready to give a future coronavirus vaccine a shot, and why others are much more skittish. And the willingness to get vaccinated differs greatly based on where people live, their political party and several social factors, including income.

“Health experts expect that a COVID-19 vaccine will be ready for the public in the first half of next year. But will the public be ready for a vaccine?”

— Katherine Ognyanova, Rutgers University

Two-thirds of adults in this national survey of almost 20,000 people said that they were likely to vaccinate themselves and their children once a COVID-19 inoculation is developed. But the percentage of those willing to get vaccinated was below 60% in 11 states, mainly in the conservative South and Midwest. Yet it was above 70% in 11 states along the more liberal West Coast and in the Northeast.

There was also correlation between education level and income with a willingness to get a coronavirus vaccine, as 78% of those who had obtained at least bachelor’s degree said they planned to get vaccinated, compared to 58% of those who didn’t finish high school. And a little more than half (59%) of those earning less than $25,000 intended to vaccinate, versus more than three quarters (78%) of those making six figures.

What’s more, while 67% of white Americans, 71% of Hispanics and 77% of Asian American respondents said they were likely to get the future vaccine, barely half of African American respondents (52%) agreed — even though the minority population has been hit especially hard by the virus. And this aligns with a Reuters/Ipsos poll from May that found that only half of Black Americans were somewhat or very interested in a vaccine.

The Reuters report suggested this distrust stems from incidents like the infamous U.S. government study at Tuskegee, which deliberately left Black men untreated for syphilis for decades to study its effects on them. The subjects thought they were getting free medical care, but they actually did not receive proper medical treatment.

Indeed, trust is a major factor in whether or not the roughly 20,000 Americans in the new national survey said they would seek out a coronavirus vaccine. Those who trust doctors, hospitals, scientists and researchers “a lot” were almost four times more likely to say they would consider getting a COVID-19 vaccination over those who trust them “not at all.” And whether one believes the media is feeding them “fake news” also matters, as 82% of those who trust the news media would get vaccinated, compared to 48% of those who don’t trust it.

Related:This Seattle man volunteered to be injected with an experimental COVID-19 vaccine: ‘It was kind of my duty as a healthy individual to step up’

The researchers found one notable exception to the trust rule, however, and that was President Donald Trump. People with the greatest trust in Trump were the least likely to seek vaccination (61%), while those with the least trust in him were more likely (72%) to get vaccinated. Three in four Democrats (75%) surveyed also said they would likely get vaccinated, compared to Republicans and Independents, who were both at 62%.

“Health experts expect that a COVID-19 vaccine will be ready for the public in the first half of next year,” said study co-author Katherine Ognyanova from Rutgers University–New Brunswick in a statement. “But will the public be ready for a vaccine?”

Maybe not. A recent CBS News poll found that half of Americans said they are taking a “wait and see” approach, watching what happens to others before getting vaccinated, themselves. On Long Island, New York, almost one-third of residents are “unsure” about getting a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a Newsday survey. A San Antonio, Texas, poll found one in five people are also uncertain about getting vaccinated.

Related:Race for a COVID-19 vaccine has drug makers scaling up manufacturing — before one is developed

Indeed, vaccine researcher Natalie Dean, an assistant professor of biostatistics at the University of Florida, wrote in a New York Times op-ed this week that “even I would place myself in the ‘not sure’ bucket,” as, “the evidence that would convince me to get a COVID-19 vaccine, or to recommend that my loved ones get vaccinated, does not yet exist.”

Related:Should you volunteer for a COVID-19 vaccine trial? Who qualifies, and what are the side effects?

The way things stand now, legacy drug makers and small startups alike are working feverishly to develop vaccines or treatments that target COVID-19. More than 150 potential coronavirus vaccines are being developed around the world, and 27 are in human trials, the New York Times reports. They include AstraZeneca AZN, +0.46%, Novavax NVAX, -3.45%, the Pfizer PFE, -0.46% and BioNTech BNTX, -5.19% project, and Moderna MRNA, -2.69% — which is entering Phase 3 of its vaccine trial. On Wednesday, Johnson & Johnson JNJ, -0.57% said it will receive more than $1 billion from the U.S. government to manufacture 100 million doses of its investigational COVID-19 vaccine.

But developing a vaccine in record time won’t amount to much if it’s not safe and effective, and if the public doesn’t trust it. One study found that a coronavirus vaccine’s effectiveness may have to be higher than 70% or even 80% before Americans can safely stop social distancing. By comparison, the flu vaccine is just 20% to 60% effective. Debbie Kaminer, a law professor at Baruch College in New York who has written about the legal questions around vaccination laws, wrote in a recent column that, “a safe and effective vaccine could end the coronavirus pandemic, but for it to succeed, enough people will have to get inoculated.”

There are now 18.9 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, and at least 708,540 people have died, according to the latest tallies on Thursday afternoon. The U.S. death toll hit 158,300 after a 10th straight day in which more than 1,000 deaths were counted.

Follow MarketWatch’s coronavirus coverage here.

NewsWatch: A bullish ‘golden cross’ forms in the Dow industrials


A golden cross has formed in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, more than five months after a bearish chart pattern materialized in the aftermath of the carnage wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. See full story.

This Seattle man volunteered to be injected with an experimental COVID-19 vaccine: ‘It was kind of my duty as a healthy individual to step up’

Neal Browning, a 46-year-old network engineer at Microsoft Corp., was one of the first people in the U.S. to receive a dose of Moderna Inc.’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine. See full story.

Mortgage rates fall to a record low for the eighth time this year, making buying a home more affordable for many Americans

While home buyers may have plenty of options for cheap financing, they won’t have much choice about what properties they can purchase. See full story.

Bill Gates: Another crisis looms and it could be worse than the coronavirus

The Microsoft co-founder is urging the government to address climate change with the same “sense of urgency” as it has the coronavirus crisis. If the proper measures aren’t taken, he wrote, then the impact could be far more devastating. See full story.

Quicken Loans parent’s stock rises as company looks to build ‘the Amazon for financial services’

Quicken became the country’s largest mortgage lender following the debut of the Rocket Mortgage digital application. See full story.


‘I was the supervisor of the department that processed and reconciled parking citations. Since mid-March, the number of parking citations drastically fell due to the coronavirus pandemic.’ See full story.

Quicken Loans parent’s stock rises as company looks to build ‘the Amazon for financial services’

Shares of Rocket Companies RKT, +19.50% , the parent of major mortgage lender Quicken Loans, gained over 20% after initially falling flat following its initial public offering.

Rocket Cos. first traded at $18 when it debuted on the New York Stock Exchange Thursday morning, in line with its IPO price. The company said late Wednesday that it had sold 100 million shares in the offering at $18 a share. Last week, the company said it was aiming to offer $150 million shares priced between $20 and $22 a share.

Rocket’s stock rose 20% throughout the day to close above $21, within its initial target range. Rocket president and chief operating officer Bob Walters chalked up the lower-than-expected IPO price to the company being “a bit of an enigma for the public markets.”

“In the secondary markets we’re seeing that trade up, so that gives us a bit of validation at least early on,” Walters said. Walters assumes the president mantle for the now-public company after holding the same title for many years at its largest subsidiary, Quicken Loans. Much of Quicken’s leadership team took the top ranks at the new company, which was carved out of co-founder Dan Gilbert’s empire, including CEO Jay Farner and chief financial officer Julie Booth.

Don’t miss:Quicken Loans is going public: 5 things to know about the mortgage lender

The company made the decision to go public for two reasons. First, Gilbert wanted to take out a small amount of equity, which Walters said he will invest in Detroit and Cleveland. The Detroit-based Quicken was valued at $35 billion in the listing, giving it a higher market value than neighbor Ford Motor Co, according to Bloomberg.

Rocket’s prospectus noted that the proceeds of the offering would mainly go toward purchasing businesses and Class D stock from Rocket Cos.’ previous holding company, Rock Holdings Inc., which is owned by Gilbert. And following the deal, Gilbert will retain majority voting power in the company.

But Walters also emphasized that the offering was done in order to award employees with stock. “That may be fairly common in Silicon Valley, but it’s not that common in Detroit,” he said.

Quicken Loans rose to become the country’s largest mortgage lender in recent years following the debut of Rocket Mortgage, its digital mortgage application process. Rocket Mortgage proved especially popular among millennials, Walters said, who now form the largest generation of home buyers in the market.

Read more:Foreign buying of American real estate plunged before the pandemic — will COVID-19 push it even lower?

Today, many lenders “are working hard to have their own version of that,” Walters said. Rocket, meanwhile, is looking to enhance its technology so that it can make the mortgage process more efficient and scale up how many applications it can process. He compared the company’s ambitions to Amazon AMZN, +0.62%.

“Amazon has a consumer-facing website where you can find goods and buy goods, but lots of companies have a consumer-facing website,” Walters said.

“What Amazon has that no one else has is an unbelievable logistics platform,” he continued. “Essentially, we’re building the Amazon for financial services — building this leveragable, scalable platform that we can do significant amount of mortgages through and quite frankly also enable some of our other partners through our Rocket Pro channel to leverage that platform as well.”

‘These are really extraordinary times, very profitable times for us.’

— Rocket Cos. president Bob Walters on the low interest rate environment.

To accomplish that goal, the company will need to hire more tech talent, Walters said. The hope is that by going public and providing stock compensation, they’ll be about to poach workers from Silicon Valley.

Currently, the company closes around 100,000 mortgages a month, Walters said. While he did not cite a specific target for the future, he suggested the company hopes to scale up to closing as many as 200,000 loans each month.

Rocket’s IPO occurred the same day that Freddie Mac FMCC, +2.45% announced that the average interest rate on the benchmark 30-year mortgage had fallen to a record low. It was the eighth time this year a record had been set.

Earlier in the pandemic, Quicken CEO Farner predicted that rates would not end up dropping below 3% because of the pandemic — though that’s just what happened. The ultra-low rate environment has been a boost for the mortgage industry, providing it with a steady flow of refinance applications. Walters estimated that within the $11 trillion mortgage market, around $9 to $10 trillion is tied up in loans where the homeowner could benefit financially from refinancing.

It could take many years to work through all that demand if rates stayed that low. “Whether interest rates will stay or not nobody knows, but these are really extraordinary times, very profitable times for us,” he said.

As interest rates fell because of the pandemic, the numbers of Americans requesting payment relief on their home loans initially rose significantly. Quicken escaped that trend, seeing about half of what the rest of the industry saw in terms of its forbearance rate. But even if the rate were to go up, the company is prepared, Walters said.

“There’s no challenge at this point from a liquidity standpoint,” he said.

Retire Better: ExxonMobil will suspend its 401 (k) matching—as threats to its dividend mount

Chances are you own stock in ExxonMobil Corp. XOM, -0.47% whether you know it or not.

It’s found in some 2,553 mutual funds and numerous exchange-traded funds, for example. That’s on top of the approximately 353,000 people who own it outright in their brokerage accounts.

Which is why news that the oil and gas giant is ending 401(k) matching for its 75,000 employees is a big deal. It’s a signal that XOM is worried about its dividend and is taking drastic measures to shore up the payout, currently 87 cents per quarter. The 401(k) news was first reported by Reuters.

The iconic industrial giant—whose roots stretch back to 1870, when John D. Rockefeller founded Standard Oil—has been on the financial defensive for some time. Earlier this year, ExxonMobil said it was slashing capital spending 30% to $23 billion. That’ll help maintain the dividend, which costs the company an estimated $15 billion a year.

Read: New blow to workers — some companies are cutting 401(k) contributions

The dividend has long been considered sacrosanct at ExxonMobil, a classic “widows and orphans” stock. And in a rarity in corporate America, the dividend has been hiked for 37 years in a row, making the company a rare “Dividend Aristocrat.” It’s a title that’s anointed to firms that raise their payouts each year for at least a quarter-century, and is considered a matter of great pride by the firm.

But the pandemic and resulting economic collapse which crushed energy prices has put the company in a vise.

“XOM’s balance sheet has been tested by the pandemic and the associated drop in crude oil prices, which have hurt operating cash flows,” writes CFRA analyst Stewart Glickman. “For 2020, we see the company as roughly cash flow neutral, and thus preservation of the dividend (so far) has entailed more borrowing.” He adds: “Assuming crude oil prices do not relapse, we think XOM can sustain the dividend without additional borrowing.”

This is pure guesswork, as the pandemic rolls on, including fears of so-called “second wave” that could further hurt energy demand and prices.

ExxonMobil’s move is the latest in a wave of corporate retrenchments that have occurred since the pandemic and accompanying economic crisis began six months ago.

Scores of companies have taken often drastic measures to shore up their balance sheets. Some companies laid off workers. Some furloughed them—a fancy word for a temporary layoff. Others cut or suspended 401(k) contributions to workers’ retirement plans. Others took it to shareholders, slashing, or in some cases, eliminating dividends. This is unquestionably painful for income-oriented investors who have come to rely on dividends to maintain a certain standard of living.

ExxonMobil, which just last week reported its second consecutive quarter of losses, amid “global oversupply and COVID-related demand impacts,” has said it remains committed to its dividend. But other oil majors have slashed theirs. Two examples: This spring, Royal Dutch Shell RDS, -0.16% cut its dividend for the first time in 80 years; BP BP, -2.88% —after saying it was also committed to its dividend—announced a 50% cut two days ago.

Market Extra: A bullish ‘golden cross’ forms in the Dow industrials

A golden cross formed in the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.68%, more than five months after a bearish chart pattern materialized in the aftermath of the carnage wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A golden cross occurs when the 50-day moving average for an asset price trades above the 200-day MA, while a so-called death cross, comparatively, is when the 50-day falls below the long-term average.

On Thursday, the Dow’s 50-day stood at 26,251.34, and the 200-day moving average was at 26,229.91, according to FactSet data, marking the first time the short-time moving average has punched up above the longer-term average since March 20, and forming a chart pattern that is widely regarded as signaling that a trend higher for stocks appears to be at hand.

As MarketWatch’s Tomi Kilgore notes, crosses, overall, aren’t necessarily good market-timing indicators, however, as they are well telegraphed, but they can help put an asset’s move into perspective.

The last golden cross for the Dow occurred on March 19, 2019 and led to a steady rally for stocks until the death cross that formed nearly exactly year later in the wake of the pandemic.

Read: MarketWatch’s snapshot of the market for Thursday

The golden cross for the Dow comes about a month after a similar cross occurred in the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.64%.

Despite continued weakness in the economy, with the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic in many parts of the U.S. and the world, stocks have still climbed, boosted by government spending and Federal Reserve support for markets.

Technology names have been at the vanguard of the rally from the lows that were put in U.S. markets back in March as they benefited from work-from-home orders while businesses were shut down. However, the perception that technology-related companies are better situated to prosper in the aftermath also has helped the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.99% to register 31 record closes so far in 2020 while the S&P 500 and Dow have lagged behind.

The Dow, made up of 30 companies, has the lowest concentration of so-called technology or technology related companies and is a price-weighted gauge so its performance has been slightly weaker than those for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq.

More than half of the Nasdaq comprises tech-related companies while more than a quarter of the S&P 500 consists of tech names.

Only a fifth of the Dow is tech, including Microsoft Corp MSFT, +1.60%. Apple AAPL, +3.48%, Cisco Systems CSCO, +0.93%, Visa V, +1.36%, International Business Machines IBM, +0.53% and Intel Corp. INTC, -0.04%

Those behemoth companies have helped the overall market mount a recovery from the coronavirus-induced lows, and as a result tech-leaning indexes have risen by the most.

The Nasdaq has surged by nearly 62% since its March 23 low and the S&P 500 has climbed almost 50%.

The Dow, isn’t far behind, and has gained 47% since its late-March nadir.

That said, the golden cross formation may suggest to some that the 124-year-old blue-chip index isn’t far from notching its first record since Feb. 12. The Dow stands about 7.5% from its all-time high, while the S&P 500 is about 1.3% from its Feb. 19 record closing high.

To be sure, a rejection of the golden cross isn’t unprecedented. A golden cross formed in January of 2016 but the Dow fell back into a death cross before carving out a new high, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

Market Extra: Nasdaq Composite’s record rally takes it to fastest 1,000-point milestone in 20 years

The Nasdaq Composite Index on Thursday marked its fastest 1,000-point rally to a new round-number milestone in 20 years.

It has been 40 trading days since the Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.99% registered its most recent 1,000-point move on June 10 and with its close above11,000 representing the quickest such ascent since the 38-day sessions it took to climb from 3,000 to 4,000 achieved in 1999 (see attached table)

To be sure, that period of powerful gains for the Nasdaq came during the dot-com boom and bust 20 years ago, where valuations of tech-centric companies were arguably more divorced from their earnings than they are now. And point moves become less impressive as the index rises. A rise from 10,000 to 11,000 marks a 10% rise, while the 1999 move from 3,000 to 4,000 was a rise of 33%.

“Although 11,000 by itself doesn’t mean much, these big round numbers are a nice reminder of just how strong this rally has been since the March lows,” Ryan Detrick, chief investment strategist at LPL Financial, wrote via email.

Some investors have expressed concern that the Nasdaq, led by the giants of the tech sector, have is now well ahead of rational ways of measuring its value, including price to earnings, or P/Es.

The Nasdaq Composite has soared more than 60% since hitting a March 23 low, while the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.64% has climbed 50% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.68%, which has a lower concentration of tech-related companies, has climbed over 47% over the same period.

The Nasdaq on Thursday was trading in record territory, powered by megacap companies, including Microsoft Corp. MSFT, +1.60% and Tesla Inc. TSLA, +0.30% as well as notable so-called FAANG names, Facebook Inc., Apple Inc. AAPL, +3.48%, Inc. AMZN, +0.62%, Netflix Inc. NFLX, +1.38%, and Google parent Alphabet Inc. GOOG, +1.79% GOOGL, +1.74%.

Those handful of companies have been considered by investors more resilient to the uncertain outlook created by the COVID-19 pandemic that has driven the U.S. economy into a recession.

“Yes, technology is probably extended in the near-term, but when you look at how strong earnings and guidance have been from the group, you realize there’s a reason the Nasdaq is at 11,000 and why eventual continued strength is quite likely,” Detrick said.

: Uber’s delivery business tops core ride-hailing as pandemic rocks earnings

Uber Technologies Inc. reported second-quarter earnings Thursday.

Getty Images

Uber Technologies Inc. posted another quarterly loss of more than $1 billion Thursday as the COVID-19 crisis took a toll on its core ride-hailing business, which was actually surpassed by Uber’s food-delivery business.

Uber UBER, +4.54% reported a second-quarter loss of $1.78 billion, or $1.02 a share, on revenue of $2.24 billion, compared with a record loss of $4.72 a share on revenue of $3.17 billion in the year-ago quarter. Revenue fell 29%, showing the dramatic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on a once fast-growing business.

The company’s results fell short of Wall Street’s expectations on the bottom line, but revenue actually held up better than analysts projected. Analysts surveyed by FactSet on average had expected Uber to post a loss of 81 cents a share, or nearly $1.4 billion, on revenue of $2.1 billion.

Uber’s ride-hailing business has taken a huge hit. Gross bookings fell 35% to $10.2 billion, but bookings within the “mobility” segment fell more steeply at 73%, and ride-hailing revenue plunged 67% from last year to $790 million.

Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi described the ride-hailing business as “a tale of 10,000 cities” in a conference call Thursday afternoon, saying that cities in Asia and Europe are bouncing back while the U.S. is struggling.

“Our Mobility recovery is clearly dependent on the public health situation in any given area,” he said.

Meanwhile, Uber Eats bookings more than doubled from last year, saving the quarter as Uber prepares to dramatically increase the size of that business with the acquisition of PostMates. Uber Eats brought in more revenue than ride-hailing for the first time, rising 103% to $1.21 billion. The company and analysts had expected increased demand in its food-delivery business to help offset the plunge in rides, as would-be riders spent the bulk of the second quarter sheltering in place but got more used to ordering takeout.

At a roughly $30 billion annual gross bookings run rate at the end of Q2 our Delivery business alone is now as big as our Rides business was when I joined the Company in 2017,” Khosrowshahi said in a conference call Tuesday, while adding that PostMates produced annualized gross bookings of $4 billion in the quarter. “We’ve essentially built a second Uber in under three years with an accelerated growth profile, a global footprint and an enormous [total addressable market] .”

Shares of Uber UBER, +4.54% dropped more than 4% in after-hours trading after ending the regular session up 4.6% at $34.72. The stock is up 16% this year.

Uber released results at the same time its lawyers were defending against a lawsuit brought against the company and rival Lyft by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the city attorneys of San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego over the companies’ noncompliance with a state law that would classify their drivers as employees instead of independent contractors. A preliminary injunction hearing, in which the plaintiffs were seeking immediate reclassification of the drivers before a trial, was set for Thursday afternoon at San Francisco Superior Court.

Earnings Results: GoPro sales top diminished expectations amid pandemic

GoPro Inc. saw losses swell and revenue decline in the second quarter as the pandemic forced closures of retail stores, but sales came in ahead of expectations with management citing “resilient” demand.

Shares were down more than 2% in after-hours trading Thursday.

The company posted a net loss of $51 million, or 34 cents a share, compared with a loss of $11.3 million, or 8 cents a share, in the year-earlier quarter. On an adjusted basis, GoPro GPRO, -0.62% lost 20 cents a share, whereas it earned an adjusted 3 cents a share a year prior. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had been expecting a 17-cent adjusted loss per share.

GoPro’s revenue for the second quarter declined to $134.2 million from $292.4 million a year earlier. The company’s revenue came in above the FactSet consensus of $114.2 million, which had come down from a prior estimate of $137.4 million as of late April and a forecast for $255.8 million as of late March.

“Our direct-to-consumer model is gaining momentum and we’re seeing a faster-than-expected rebound at retail,” Chief Financial Officer Brian McGee said. GoPro disclosed in its earnings release that sales from accounted for 44% of revenue and that channel inventory declined 25% sequentially.

The company said in prepared comments released on its investor site that demand “consistently improved throughout the quarter” and that the company set a new quarterly record for the number of people starting free trials of its Plus service. Plus hit a monthly free-trial record in June that it then surpassed in July, and management expects 600,000 to 700,000 paying Plus subscribers by the end of the year, up from 372,000 in the second quarter.

GoPro saw 95% of revenue coming from cameras priced above $300 in the quarter, which McGee said in the prepared comments was a continuation of past momentum for higher-priced cameras.

“Assuming we do not see a further erosion of consumer confidence due to the pandemic, our expectation is that we will be profitable in the second half of 2020 and nearly break-even to profitable for full year 2020,” he said in the comments.

See also: Fastly stock drops 18% as analysts weigh in on how TikTok may affect the edge-computing platform’s growth

Chief Executive Nick Woodman said in a statement that the company has seen “resilient consumer demand for GoPro” and argued that the brand “has proven to be a part of global consumers’ ‘new normal’ during the pandemic.”

Shares of GoPro have gained 71% over the past three months as the S&P 500 SPX, +0.64% has risen 18%.

Here’s what the Bank of England did to interest rates on Thursday — what’s next?

The U.K. central bank kept its key rate steady at 0.1% and its bond-buying target unchanged at £745 billion on Thursday, but warned that the U.K. economy would not rise back to its 2019 level before the end of 2021. It also gave the clearest signal yet that it no longer considers negative rates as taboo.

The pound rose on the news, up 0.4% against the euro GBPEUR, +0.12% and 0.3% against the dollar GBPUSD, +0.22% in London mid-day trading

The Bank of England’s short-term prospects for the U.K. economy are, however, less somber than they were three months ago, with unemployment at the end of the year seen at 7.5% of the population (versus 10% previously).

Inflation currently stands at an annual 0.6% but could decline to 0.25% in the latter part of the year, the BoE said, warning that it could take another two years before it finally hits its official 2% annual target.

The Bank said it is still reviewing its rate policy, but that negative rates are among the options under study. It “will continue to review the appropriateness of a negative policy rate as a policy tool alongside its broader toolkit,” it indicated.

So, what’s the outlook?

Both decisions on rates and quantitative easing were unanimous among the nine-member monetary policy committee. But tough choices lie ahead, when the Bank will have to decide how to contribute to the stimulus the U.K. economy will need when, come January, it is hit by another major shock — Brexit.