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Johan Sverdrup oil field in the North Sea west of Stavanger, Norway. Photo: Getty Images

The multinational oil giant Equinor said Thursday that it's sharply cutting its first quarter dividend payouts by 67% compared to the prior quarter, citing "unprecedented market conditions and uncertainties."

Why it matters: Norway-based Equinor is the first oil major to cut dividends due to the pandemic-fueled collapse in oil prices and demand.

  • And they may not be the last. PVM Oil Associates analyst Tamas Varga tells CNBC that other oil-and-gas giants might follow suit.
  • “Clearly, suspending share buybacks and cutting capex (capital expenditure) does not do the trick anymore. In these turbulent times cash is king and the battle for remaining financially sound intensifies,” Varga said.

The big picture: Oil majors including Equinor have already been cutting spending and suspending share buybacks due to the crisis.

  • More broadly, oil companies and contractors across the board have been cutting back amid the price collapse.
  • Just this week the oilfield services giant Halliburton posted a $1 billion first-quarter loss and, per the Houston Chronicle, has laid off almost 1,200 people in the U.S. this month.

Go deeper: Oil's long and painful road back from the coronavirus disruption

Go deeper

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Mike Allen, author of AM
Jul 31, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden campaign vows virus focus

Joe Biden puts on a mask after a campaign event in Wilmington, Del., on Tuesday. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden's campaign contends that President Trump's talk of delaying November's election is an effort to distract, and vows to be what a Biden aide called "laser-focused" on Trump's pandemic response.

Why it matters: After aides convinced the president that the issue was hurting him badly in the polls, Trump has tried for the past two weeks to show renewed focus on the coronavirus, including the restoration of his briefings.

Jul 31, 2020 - Health

GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi nab $2.1 billion federal vaccine deal

A Sanofi vaccine manufacturing plant in France. Photo: Joel Saget/AFP via Getty Images

The Trump administration is paying GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi $2.1 billion to help the companies get their coronavirus vaccine through clinical trials, cover some manufacturing costs and purchase an initial batch of 100 million doses.

The big picture: The deal, which also includes the option of buying another 500 million doses, is part of the federal government's plan to accelerate the development of as many promising vaccine candidates as possible.

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