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Stocks making the biggest moves midday: Big Lots, H&R Block, Exxon Mobil & more


Check out the companies making headlines in midday trading. 

Big Lots — Shares of Big Lots rallied more than 6% in midday trading after it confirmed it received notice from two activist investor groups that plan to nominate nine director candidates to replace the company’s board. Ancora Advisors and Macellum Capital argued in a letter that the current board lacks the skills necessary to lead the retailer to unlock shareholder value through smart capital allocation and monetization of its real-estate holdings.

United, Southwest, and American Airlines; Delta & Alaska Air — Airline stocks rebounded sharply after chief economic advisor Larry Kudlow said the White House is considering “targeted measures” to offset the negative impact on the industry. Southwest Airlines jumped 2%, while United Airlines surged more than 5%. Alaska Air Group popped 6% and Delta Air Lines rose 2.5%. American Airlines rose 4%.

H&R Block — Shares of the tax preparation company tanked nearly  9% following its disappointing quarterly earnings. H&R Block reported a loss of 59 cents per share, while analysts polled by Refinitiv were expecting a loss of 55 cents per share. Revenue beat estimates, coming in at $519.2 million.

Energy stocks — Major energy stocks fell sharply on Friday as the price of crude continued to decline and OPEC+ failed to reach an agreement on production cuts. Occidental Petroleum fell more than 12%, while Marathon was down nearly 10%. Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips were both trading about 4% lower.

American Outdoor Brands — Shares of the firearm manufacturer cratered nearly 28% after reporting dismal third-quarter earnings. American Outdoor reported earnings of 13 cents per share on revenue of $166.7 million. Both metrics were below analyst forecasts of 23 cents per share on sales of $187.3 million, according to Refinitiv. The company said it experienced lower-than-anticipated orders from certain strategic retailers across multiple product categories.

Cruise Lines — Cruise stocks declined again on Thursday amid reports about the U.S. government intervening due to the coronavirus epidemic. Reuters reported that the federal government was weighing options to discourage travelers from going on cruises, while the Washington Post reported that the White House may give tax relief to the industry. Carnival and Royal Caribbean fell more than 1.5%, while Norwegian Cruise Lines was about 0.1% below yesterday’s close.

Kroger — The national supermarket chain reversed some of its Thursday bounce on Friday, falling nearly 5% in midday trading. Credit Suisse downgraded the stock on Friday to neutral from outperform, telling clients that the equity looks fairly valued at its current price of around $32. “Whereas we believe much of KR’s share strength in recent
months is related to a renewed expectation for consistency in results going forward, momentum buying around the Berkshire Hathaway stake and assumed coronavirus stock-up exposure likely played a role,” wrote analyst Judah Frommer.

— CNBC’s Jesse Pound and Maggie Fitzgerald contributed to this report.

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