Sensex surges 622 points; HDFC rallies over 5%

Oil Rises After API Report

Oil prices rose on Wednesday amid signs of improving demand and a drawdown in U.S. crude inventories.

Benchmark Brent crude for July delivery climbed 26 cents, or 0.75 percent, to $34.91 per barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for July were up 0.15 percent at $32.01 a barrel.

The June contract expired on Tuesday at $32.50 a barrel, up 2.1 percent from its previous close.

Oil demand in the world’s top oil importer, China, has rebounded to pre-coronavirus levels, the Bloomberg reported earlier this week, citing sources.

China was the first to go into lockdown after the Covid-19 virus emerged in Wuhan, but it was also the first country to exit lockdown.

The demand outlook is improving further as several countries across the world ease lockdown measures.

Meanwhile, the American Petroleum Institute reported late Tuesday that U.S. crude supplies fell by 4.8 million barrels to 521.3 million barrels in the week to May 15.

The data also showed gasoline stockpiles edged down by 651,000 barrels, while distillate inventories climbed by 5.1 million barrels.

Official data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) is due later in the session.


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Harbor Freight Recalls 454,000 Jack Stands

Harbor Freight Tools, a privately held discount tool and equipment retailer, has recalled two types of Pittsburgh-brand jack stands over concerns that they could collapse suddenly during use.

The recall, in cooperation with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA, involves around 454,000 units of Pittsburgh Automotive 3 Ton and 6 Ton Heavy Duty Steel Jack Stands.

The affected jack stands, which were produced between 2013 and 2019, include three separate model numbers 56371, 61196, and 61197.

On the three-ton units, the number can be found on the label at the top, while on the six-ton stands, the numbers are printed in the yellow section of the label on the base.

Harbor Freight said in the NHTSA filing, “For certain units of the Pittsburgh Automotive 3 Ton and 6 Ton Heavy Duty Steel Jack Stands there is a potential, while under load and with a shift in weight, for the pawl to disengage from the extension lifting post, allowing the stand to drop suddenly. This condition could cause serious injury for people near or under a lifted vehicle, and/or damage to property.”

The agency noted that the product quality had become inconsistent due to the aging of the tooling.

Harbor Freight has removed all affected stands that are yet to be sold from its inventory.

The Calabasas, California-based company said the affected units can be exchanged for a gift card equal to the retail price of the jack stands, once the stores reopen after lifting of the ‘Shelter At Home Orders.’


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Lowe’s Cos. Q1 adjusted earnings Beat Estimates

Lowe’s Cos. (LOW) released a profit for its first quarter that increased from the same period last year.

The company’s earnings totaled $1.34 billion, or $1.76 per share. This compares with $1.05 billion, or $1.31 per share, in last year’s first quarter.

Analysts had expected the company to earn $1.31 per share, according to figures compiled by Thomson Reuters. Analysts’ estimates typically exclude special items.

The company’s revenue for the quarter rose 10.9% to $19.68 billion from $17.74 billion last year.

Lowe’s Cos. earnings at a glance:

-EPS (Q1): $1.77 vs. $1.22 last year.
-Analysts Estimate: $1.31
-Revenue (Q1): $19.68 Bln vs. $17.74 Bln last year.

US restaurants fear mass closures over COVID-19

Al Jazeera asks if the home of one the hottest food scenes in the US, Philadelphia, has any chance of making a comeback.

In the US, many cities are entering a third month of lockdown with most businesses closed.

It has hit all sectors – but particularly independent restaurants and their staff.

Al Jazeera’s Gabriel Elizondo reports from Philadelphia, where its food scene is trying to ride out the shutdown.

More than 1,000 COVID-19 infections in Buenos Aires slum

Activists in Argentina are calling for the government to help a poor area of Buenos Aires, which has been hit hard by COVID-19.

People in some of Argentina’s poorest neighbourhoods are demanding government help to stop the spread of the coronavirus through their communities.

There are more than 1,000 confirmed cases in the Villa 31 slum in Buenos Aires, which is overcrowded and lacks running water.

Al Jazeera’s Teresa Bo reports from Buenos Aires.

Lebanon banking association says gov't debt restructuring must minimise damage to depositors

BEIRUT, May 20 (Reuters) – Lebanon’s banking association has called for a government debt restructuring that minimizes damage to its nearly 3 million domestic bank depositors, part of recommended amendments to a government rescue plan seen on Wednesday.

The association, which has heavily criticised Beirut’s rescue plan for relying heavily on bank sector contributions, proposed a government debt defeasance fund with a contribution of $40 billion in public assets. (Reporting by Tom Arnold Writing by Eric Knecht; Editing by Jon Boyle)

Sensex surges 622 points; HDFC rallies over 5%

Equity benchmark Sensex rallied 622 points on Wednesday, propelled by gains in index-heavyweights HDFC twins and Reliance Industries despite weak cues from global markets.

The 30-share index settled 622.44 points or 2.06% higher at 30,818.61, while the NSE Nifty rose 187.45 points, or 2.11%, to end at 9,066.55.

HDFC was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, surging over 5%, followed by M&M, L&T, Tata Steel, Bajaj Finance, HDFC Bank and Sun Pharma.

On the other hand, IndusInd Bank, Hero MotoCorp, Bharti Airtel and Asian Paints finished in the red.

While stock-specific action led benchmarks higher, experts forecast continued volatility in the near-term amid rising number of coronavirus cases in the country.

The number of COVID-19 cases in India spiked to 1.06 lakh, while the death toll rose to 3,303, according to the health ministry.

Globally, the number of cases linked to the disease has crossed 48.97 lakh and the death toll has topped 3.23 lakh.

Bourses in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul settled with gains, while Shanghai ended in the red.

Stock exchanges on Europe were trading with losses in early deals.

International oil benchmark Brent crude futures climbed 1.24% to USD 35.08 per barrel.

On the currency front, the rupee depreciated by 14 paise to provisionally end at 75.80 against the US dollar.