As the Dow Jones Industrial Average is in the midst of what could be its worst weekly decline since the financial crisis amid concerns regarding the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, many of the companies that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average are preparing for potential workplace disruptions.
As of Thursday, there were 82,550 cases of the coronavirus worldwide and 2,810 deaths caused by the illness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed Wednesday night that an individual in California had tested positive for COVID-19, despite not having traveled to an affected country or been in known contact with someone else who had contracted the virus.
Altogether, there are 60 cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., including 45 people who were repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that docked in Japan and from Wuhan, China, which is considered the epicenter of the outbreak.
Earlier this week, the CDC advised schools and workplaces to begin developing contingency plans for possible closures because of the outbreak. Many companies have warned that the outbreak will have a material impact on earnings as the coronavirus disrupts supply chains and international travel.
MarketWatch asked the current 30 companies that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -2.45% about how they are preparing for potential workplace closures and whether the outbreak could have a material impact on their earnings.
For company comments beyond the Dow: What other U.S. companies are saying about the coronavirus outbreak
Here is what they said:
3M MMM, +2.88% did not respond to a request from MarketWatch about how the outbreak is affecting its business and what contingency plans it has developed for its workforce. However the company said that it is ramping up production of respirators at manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Asia and Europe in response to global demand.
“3M expects demand for respirators to outpace supply for the foreseeable future,” the company said. “In China and around the world, 3M is working with customers, distributors, government and medical officials to help get supplies where they are most needed. 3M is also closely monitoring and responding to any potential impact on our broader supply chain.”
Apple Inc. AAPL, -4.40% declined to comment. However, in an update to the company’s quarterly guidance released on Feb. 17, the company noted that work is starting to resume in China at its own factories and manufacturing partner sites as they are reopening after being closed. The company noted that return to normal conditions has been slower than anticipated.
“The health and well-being of every person who helps make these products possible is our paramount priority, and we are working in close consultation with our suppliers and public health experts as this ramp continues,” the company said.
Cisco Systems Inc. CSCO, -2.43% said it is “focused on helping reduce the impact of Coronavirus on our customers and employees.” The company noted that its Webex division, which develops and sells online meeting and video conferencing applications, has seen an expanded user base in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Traffic on some of Webex’s routes in China has increased 22 times, while the company has seen between four and five times as many users in Japan, South Korea and Singapore. A company spokeswoman noted that Cisco internally uses Webex technology as well.
“To further support more working from home, we are offering free Webex in impacted countries, alongside unlimited use for our existing customers in these countries. We care about keeping people safe and our thoughts are with all those impacted,” said Sri Srinivasan, senior vice president and general manager for Cisco’s team collaboration group. The company’s existing guidance does not yet reflect any potential supply chain disruptions from the coronavirus.
Coca-Cola Co. KO, -3.04% said it has standing procedures in place to prepare for situations like the coronavirus outbreak, including business continuity and emergency plans. The company has suspended non-essential international travel to and from the Asia-Pacific region and Italy.
The company noted in a statement to MarketWatch that it has taken precautionary measures to protect employees, which include “providing face masks and hand sanitizers, installing temperature screening in offices and manufacturing facilities, as well as setting up health monitoring mechanisms in affected regions.”
“Those efforts will continue until further notice,” the company said. “As the situation evolves, we will take additional actions as needed to help protect the health and safety of our associates.”
Coca-Cola referred MarketWatch to an update regarding the company’s full-year guidance. The company currently predicts that the novel coronavirus will have an two- to three-point impact to unit case volume and a one- to two-penny impact to earnings per share in the first quarter, however the company said it expects it will achieve its previously-stated 2020 guidance.
Home Depot Inc. HD, -2.26% has put all travel to and from Asia on hold until further notice. Additionally, the company has implemented a 14-day, stay-at-home policy for employees who have returned to the U.S. from Asia within the past two weeks. “This is a very fluid situation and we’re watching it closely. We’ve had a cross-functional team led by our medical and health management group that’s been looking at this from several angles as the situation develops,” a company spokeswoman said.
During an earnings call with investors Tuesday, Home Depot Chairman, CEO and President Craig Menear indicated the company could not yet determine how the illness outbreak would affect the company’s earnings. “Based on what we know today, we couldn’t say that there would be a hit,” Menear said, adding that the company is putting plans in place to mitigate any risk going forward.”
International Business Machines Corp. IBM, -2.78% said it is complying with government regulations related to travel and is asking employees to work from home where it is recommended. The company also said it is deciding whether to participate in large meetings or trade shows “on an individual basis.”
Intel Corp. INTC, -3.52% has implemented travel restrictions to areas that were significantly affected by the outbreak. “We’re monitoring the situation closely and working to ensure that our employees have the information and resources they need to stay safe,” said William Moss, Intel’s director of reputation communications.
Johnson & Johnson JNJ, -1.93% said it has taken actions to promote virus prevention with its employees, and to support the continued production and distribution of medical and pharmaceutical products, if COVID-19 cases continue to spread.
“We have robust continuity plans in place to prepare for unforeseen events and to meet the needs of patients, customers and consumers who depend on our products,” the company said in an emailed statement to MarketWatch. “These steps include maintaining critical inventory at major distribution centers away from high-risk areas and working with external suppliers to support our preparedness plans.”
Earlier this month, J&J said its Janssen Pharmaceutical business has expedited its investigational coronavirus vaccine program through an expansion of its collaboration with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).
Microsoft Corp. MSFT, -4.14% did not respond to MarketWatch’s request for comment, but warned late Wednesday that it will not meet its financial guidance for the fiscal third quarter, as its supply chain is returning to normal operations at a slower pace than anticipated following the coronavirus outbreak.
Nike Inc. NKE, -1.41% did not directly respond to a request for comment regarding contingency plans for its employees, but previously announced that it has closed about half its stores in China, and that it planned to provide an update on the impact of COVID-19 when it reports third-quarter results on March 24.
Pfizer Inc. PFE, +0.33% said it has yet to see any impact on its business from the coronavirus outbreak, but is preparing its workforce for the potential spread of the disease.
The company has provided precautionary guidance on flexible working arrangements specific to certain locations affected by the coronavirus outbreak, in addition to ensuring colleagues have the latest government direction relevant to their country and region,” the company said in a statement.
Procter & Gamble Co. PG, -3.62% did not directly respond to a request for comment regarding contingency plans, but previously said it expected the coronavirus outbreak to have a material impact on earnings for its fiscal third quarter, which ends in March. The consumer products company said it has 387 suppliers in China that ship materials which will impact 17,600 finished products.
United Technologies Corp. UTX, -2.57% did not respond to a request for comment regarding contingency plans for its employees, but has previously said it assumes its factories in China will be back online in March, with any negative impact on first-quarter results being offset by the performance the rest of the year.
Visa Inc. V, -2.14% did not respond to a request for comment regarding contingency plans for employees, but has previously said it did expect some impact from the coronavirus outbreak. The credit card company said the impact will depend on how long the situation lasts.
Walmart Inc. WMT, -1.06% did not respond to a request for comment regarding contingency plans for employees, but has previously said it anticipates some negative financial impact from the coronavirus outbreak. The discount retail giant said all of its stores in China remain open, but most have restricted hours.
Walt Disney Co. DIS, -2.53% did not respond to a request for comment regarding contingency plans for employees, but said the coronavirus outbreak could hurt earnings if its theme parks in Shanghai and Hong Kong remain closed for months.
The following companies did not return MarketWatch’s request for comment and have not put out any public statements regarding coronavirus:
American Express AXP, -2.86%
Boeing BA, -3.42%
Caterpillar CAT, -1.56%
Chevron CVX, -2.00%
Dow Chemical DOW, -4.51%
Exxon Mobil XOM, -3.55%
Goldman Sachs GS, -3.08%
JPMorgan Chase & Co. JPM, -2.61%
McDonald’s MCD, -2.22%
Merck MRK, +0.03%
Travelers Companies Inc. TRV, -1.71%
UnitedHealth UNH, -2.44%
Verizon VZ, -2.04%
Walgreen WBA, -1.28%