Mar 4, 2020 - Economy & Business

SEC says companies impacted by coronavirus can delay earnings filings

SEC chairman Jay Clayton testifies during the House Financial Services Committee hearing, Oct. 4, 2017. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

The Securities and Exchange Commission said on Wednesday it would give coronavirus-impacted companies more time to file key financial documents — including quarterly reports — on a conditional basis.

Why it matters: It's among the first agencies to announce regulatory relief for corporations affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

  • If granted an extension by the SEC, Wall Street may get details about whether the coronavirus hurt these companies' bottom lines — and by how much — later than usual.

Details: Companies that can show they need extra time because their operations have been impacted by the outbreak may get a 45-day extension to file regulatory documents.

  • "Disruptions to transportation, and limited access to facilities, support staff, and professional advisors as a result of COVID-19, could hamper the efforts of public companies and other persons with filing obligations to meet their filing deadlines," the SEC notes.

What they're saying: The "situation may prevent certain [companies] from compiling these reports within required timeframes," SEC chairman Jay Clayton said in a press release.

  • But Clayton warned companies "to provide investors with insight regarding their assessment of, and plans for addressing, material risks to their business" as a result of the coronavirus.

Go deeper

SEC first federal agency to ask staff to work remotely over coronavirus

The SEC building in Washington, D.C. Photo: Mark Wilson/Newsmakers

The Securities and Exchange Commission emailed employees at its headquarters in Washington, D.C., Monday asking them to work from home after a worker with respiratory symptoms was told they could potentially have the novel coronavirus.

Why it matters: The SEC is the first federal agency to take such action. It said it made the directive "effective immediately," which means people who work on the building's ninth floor must telework, out of "an abundance of caution," per the Washington Post, which first reported the news. "To the best of our knowledge, the employee remained asymptomatic during the employee’s time in the building," the SEC added.

The Trump administration's 180 on stock buybacks

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump told reporters on Thursday he would be "OK" with a conditional coronavirus bailout that bans stock buybacks for companies that receive federal relief.

Why it matters: Trump's tax cuts set off a record-setting buyback spree in corporate America. The comments are a shift in tone, given that his deputies have defended share repurchases in the past.

Tech's moment to shine (or not)

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Thanks to the coronavirus crisis, Big Tech, after battling criticism for three years, has an opportunity to show the upside of its scale and reach.

Why it matters: If companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon are able to demonstrate they can be a force for good in a trying time, many inside the companies feel, they could undo some of the techlash's ill will and maybe blunt some of the regulatory threats that loom over them.