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

12 mins ago - Technology

What a President Biden would mean for tech

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A Biden presidency would put the tech industry on stabler ground than it's had with President Trump. Although Biden is unlikely to rein in those Democrats who are itching to regulate the big platforms, he'll almost certainly have other, bigger priorities.

The big picture: Liberal Silicon Valley remains one of Democrats' most reliable sources for big-money donations. But a Biden win offers no guarantee that tech will be able to renew the cozy relationship it had with the Obama White House.

Virtual school is another setback for struggling retail industry

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A virtual school year will likely push retailers even closer to the brink.

Why it matters: Back-to-school season is the second-biggest revenue generating period for the retail sector, after the holidays. But retailers say typical shopping sprees will be smaller with students learning at home — another setback for their industry, which has seen a slew of store closures and bankruptcy filings since the pandemic hit.

1 hour ago - Health

The pandemic hasn't hampered the health care industry

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The economy has been tanking. Coronavirus infections and deaths have been rising. And the health care industry is as rich as ever.

The big picture: Second-quarter results are still pouring in, but so far, a vast majority of health care companies are reporting profits that many people assumed would not have been possible as the pandemic raged on.