Photo: Karol Serewis/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Royal Dutch Shell and Total this morning announced plans to sharply cut spending and freeze share buyback plans.

Why it matters: The moves signal how cratering demand from COVID-19 and the collapse in prices are upending the outlooks for companies large and small.

Driving the news: Shell is cutting planned capital spending this year to $20 billion or lower, compared to the pre-crisis estimate of $25 billion.

  • It also plans to cut operating costs by $3 billion to $4 billion over the next 12 months.

Meanwhile, Total said oil at $30 per barrel means a roughly $3 billion hit to capital spending, which means a new target of under $15 billion this year.

  • The France-based multinational also said it can save $800 million in operating costs compared to 2019.
  • They're just the latest in a string of oil companies — including ExxonMobil and a number of independent U.S. shale producers — to unveil deep cuts of late.

Go deeper: Coronavirus could lead to a wave of defaults for oil companies

Go deeper

More than 32 million Americans are receiving unemployment benefits

Photo: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

More than 32 million Americans are receiving some form of unemployment benefits, according to data released by the Labor Department on Thursday.

Why it matters: Tens of millions of jobless Americans will soon have a smaller cash cushion — as coronavirus cases surge and certain parts of the country re-enter pandemic lockdowns — barring an extension of the more generous unemployment benefits that are set to expire at the end of the month.

1 hour ago - Sports

Alumni fight to save college sports

Data: Mat Talk Online; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

242 collegiate athletic programs have been cut amid the pandemic, altering the careers and lives of thousands of student-athletes.

Yes, but: Some passionate alumni groups have opted to fight, banding together in hopes of saving the programs they helped build and continue to love.

1 hour ago - World

The U.S.-China trade war quietly escalates

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Alex Wong/Getty Images and Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Lost amid headlines about the coronavirus pandemic and the seemingly unstoppable stock market rally, has been the monthslong escalation of tensions in the U.S.-China trade war —  and it's likely here to stay.

Why it matters: The tariffs continue to impress a sizable tax on U.S. companies and consumers, adding additional costs and red tape for small businesses, farmers, manufacturers and households trying to stay afloat amid the pandemic.