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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Photo: Valery Matytsin\TASS via Getty Images

Royal Dutch Shell said Thursday that it's cutting shareholder dividends for the first time since World War II as the company reported a steep drop in quarterly profits.

Why it matters: The decision underscores how the coronavirus-fueled collapse in prices and demand is upending the oil landscape and forcing even the most powerful companies to scramble to protect their finances.

  • Shell, which like other companies is also steeply cutting capital spending, said in announcing the dividend cut that "the deterioration in the macroeconomic and commodity price outlook" due to COVID-19 is "unprecedented."
  • "The duration of these impacts remains unclear with the expectation that the weaker conditions will likely extend beyond 2020," the company warned.

Driving the news: Shell said it would reduce its first quarter dividend to 16 cents per share, a 66% cut. If that reduction is maintained all year, Shell will save about $10 billion, Reuters reports.

  • The company reported $2.9 billion in Q1 net profits, which is down 46% from the same period a year ago.

What's next: U.S.-based multinational giants Exxon and Chevron report their earnings Friday.

Go deeper: Oil industry has more bleak days ahead as coronavirus crushes demand

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Aug 5, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Shale's struggles will persist despite a rise in oil prices

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

WTI, the benchmark U.S. oil future, traded Wednesday morning at its highest since early March — highlighting how the worst of shale's crisis is seemingly over, though more bankruptcies likely lie ahead.

Why it matters: Its price at the time — $43 — is still too low for many producers to do well, though it varies from company to company.

Battle for the soul of a new web

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A well-funded and intensely motivated chunk of tech's hive mind is finding common cause in a vast new project: rebuilding the web on a foundation of cryptocurrency and blockchain tech. They call it "Web3."

The big picture: Developers, investors and early adopters imagine a future in which the technologies that enable Bitcoin and Ethereum will break up the concentrated power today's tech giants wield and usher in a golden age of individual empowerment and entrepreneurial freedom.

First look: Biden summons top CEOs on supply chain

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Biden will meet Monday afternoon with CEOs of big retailers, grocers and consumer-products firms to send this message, according to the White House: Products will be on shelves for holiday shopping.

Zoom out: Black Friday sales rebounded from 2020.