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Fires in Oregon, California and Washington spread, death toll rises

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Desiree Pierce cries as she visits her home destroyed by the Almeda Fire, Friday, Sept. 11, 2020, in Talent, Ore. “I just needed to see it, to get some closure,” said Pierce.

John Locher | AP

Historic wildfires are burning millions of acres and destroying homes in California, Oregon and Washington state, as officials brace for more fatalities and evacuations. 

The fires have killed at least 20 people across the states and dozens more are missing. More than 1 million acres of land in Oregon have been burned and at least 10% of the state’s population is in evacuation zones. The state has dealt with the worst destruction as blazes have already decimated two towns. 

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said Friday that people are still missing and more than 40,000 have fled their homes. The state is preparing for a “mass fatality event” and has declared a state of emergency. Authorities said a man has been arrested and charged with arson in connection with a fire in southern Oregon that has burned hundreds of homes. 

People stand in Alamo Square Park as smoke hangs over San Francisco, California, Sept. 9, 2020.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

In California, more than 3 million acres have burned, a record in the state’s history. The August Complex that started from a series of lightning strikes last month has become the biggest wildfire ever in California. The weather in the state could potentially improve with forecasts of less wind and some rainfall. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom of California gave a bleak update on the situation on Friday afternoon, saying the worst forecasts of climate change has impacted his state. He vowed to direct his administration to speed up California’s environmental goals and invest more in green energy. 

“California, folks, is America fast forward,” Newsom said during a press conference at the Lake Oroville State Recreation Area in Butte County, which is damaged from the North Complex Fire. “What we’re experiencing right here is coming to communities all across the United States of America unless we get our act together on climate change.” 

President Donald Trump will visit California on Monday where he will join local and federal fire and emergency officials to be briefed on the fires. The president is set to visit McClellan Park in Sacramento County, where the state’s fire agency Cal Fire has based its operations. 

Volunteer firefighter Dave White looks on after losing his home in a fire, in Gates, Oregon, on September 10, 2020.

Kathryn Elsesser | AFP | Getty Images

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said the amount of land burned by the fires in just the past five days amounts to the state’s second-worst fire season following the season in 2015, and said the fires should be called climate fires, not wildfires. Fires in the state destroyed most of the homes in the town of Malden and killed a 1-year-old boy. 

Climate change has triggered excessive heat and drought conditions across the world that exacerbate wildfires. In fire-prone California, six of the 20 biggest wildfires in state history have occurred this year. 

“This is not an act of God,” Inslee said at a news conference Friday. “This has happened because we have changed the climate of the state of Washington in dramatic ways.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday said that the state is sending roughly 190 additional firefighters and 50 more trucks to California. Fire crews are also being sent in from Utah and Colorado. 

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said the fires demonstrate that climate change poses an “existential threat to our way of life.”

“Our thoughts are also with the millions of Americans living just outside the path of these fires, forced into an awful choice between relocating in the midst of an ongoing pandemic or staying put in a place where every breath they draw forces them to inhale smoke,” Biden said in a statement on Saturday.

“The science is clear, and deadly signs like these are unmistakable — climate change poses an imminent, existential threat to our way of life,” Biden said. “President Trump can try to deny that reality, but the facts are undeniable.”  

A car is seen around the town where about 10,000 residents were evacuated as the fire continues, in Molalla, Oregon, September 11, 2020.

Carlos Barria | Reuters

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IBM, AMC Entertainment, Logitech, Travelers

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Noam Galai | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

Check out the companies making headlines in midday trading.

IBM – Shares shed more than 6% after IBM’s third-quarter results showed a third straight quarter of declining revenue. The company earned an adjusted $2.58 per share for the quarter, which was in line with Street forecasts, while revenue was slightly above consensus estimates. IBM did not issue current-quarter guidance due to ongoing uncertainty surrounding Covid-19.

AMC Entertainment — Shares of the movie theater chain sank more than 11% after the company warned of a possible bankruptcy in a security filing related to a secondary stock offering. The company said it could burn through its existing cash by the end of 2020 or early 2021 without additional liquidity.

Travelers — The insurance stock gained 3.9% after it reported better-than-expected results for its third quarter. Travelers reported $3.12 in adjusted earnings per share on $8.28 billion of revenue. Analysts surveyed by FactSet were looking for $3.03 per share and $7.59 billion. The company reported growth in its underwriting business and its investment income.

Logitech — Shares of the accessory maker surged more than 18% after beating on the top and bottom lines of its third-quarter earnings. Logitech earned $1.87 per share on revenue of $1.26 billion. Wall Street expected 57 cents per share on revenue of $841 million, according to Refinitiv.

Procter & Gamble – Shares rose 1.5% after the consumer giant reported better-than-expected quarterly results. The company said its earnings per share came in at $1.63 in its fiscal first quarter, versus $1.42 expected per Refinitiv. Its revenue rose 9% as the pandemic fueled higher demand for its household products. P&G also raised its sales outlook for fiscal 2021.

Regions Financial — The stock popped more than 7% after reporting better-than-expected quarterly results. Regions Financial earned 52 cents per share on revenue of $1.64 billion, compared to the 33 cents per share on revenue of $1.49 billion forecast on Wall Street.

Synchrony Financial — Shares fell more than 4% after reporting disappointing sales for the third quarter. The company made $3.46 billion in revenue, missing estimates of $3.49 billion, according to Refinitiv. Earnings came in in line with estimates at 72 cents per share.

Comerica — The bank’s stock rallied more than 7% after reporting earnings that topped analyst expectations. Comerica earned $1.44 per share, above the 83 cents expected on Wall Street. Revenue came in at $710 million, higher than the forecast $696 million.

UBS — Shares of the bank rose more than 6% after reporting its quarterly profit doubled, driven by strong investment banking and a boost in profit from its wealth management division. UBS also set aside $2.5 billion for potential dividends and stock buybacks.

Revlon – The stock price gained about 1% even after its warning to bondholders that they might not get paid if the company’s distressed-bond exchange fails. The embattled cosmetics retailer said that without 95% participation from bondholders, most of the company’s debt will accelerate and become payable next month, in which case the bonds could be worth next to nothing.

PPG Industries – Shares gained more than 1% after the company reported third-quarter earnings. The paint and coatings maker earned $1.93 on an adjusted basis, which topped estimates by one cent. Revenue also came in above forecasts.

— with reporting from CNBC’s Yun Li, Jesse Pound and Pippa Stevens.


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GM’s official run at Tesla starts with electric Hummer debut Tuesday

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AMC warns bankruptcy is on the table as cash runs low

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A medical worker wearing a mask walks near the AMC movie theater in Times Square amid the coronavirus pandemic on May 7, 2020 in New York City.

Alexi Rosenfeld | Getty Images

AMC has agreed to sell as many as 15 million shares of its stock, but equity in the company could soon be worthless if the largest theater chain in the world files for bankruptcy.

On Tuesday, AMC continued to warn investors about its dwindling cash pile and said it may have to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy if it is unable to secure additional sources of liquidity.

Shares of the company tumbled more than 11% on the news. AMC’s stock, which has a market value of around $387 million, has plunged 56% so far this year.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy would likely allow AMC to stay in business while it reworks its debts and sorts out new lines of liquidity.

Movie theater chains in the U.S. have been slammed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which first shuttered theaters and then drove away customers and major Hollywood blockbusters.

AMC was particularly vulnerable because of the more than $4.75 billion in debt it had amassed before the crisis from outfitting its theaters with luxury seating and from buying competitors such as Carmike and Odeon. AMC has around 1,000 theaters and more than 11,000 screens globally.

“We will require significant amounts of additional liquidity and there is substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern for a reasonable period of time; holders of our Class A common stock could suffer a total loss of their investment,” the company wrote in the SEC filing.

While New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave movie theaters hope over the weekend when he announced that theaters outside of New York City could reopen. Studios had told movie theater operators that they would withhold major releases if New York remained closed.

Also on Tuesday, AMC released a preliminary earnings report. The company said it had earned around $119.5 million in revenue during the three-month period ended Sept. 30. That’s a steep fall from the $1.32 billion AMC tallied during the same period last year.

For the first nine months of 2020 AMC took in revenue of $1.08 billion, a fraction of the $4.02 billion it garnered during the same period last year.


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