Financial Daily Dose 6.29.2020 | Top Story: Fracking Giant Chesapeake Energy Files for Ch. 11 Protection

Demolition of an old house
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Fracking pioneer Chesapeake Energy has filed for bankruptcy, “unable to overcome a mountain of debt that became unsustainable after a decade of stubbornly low gas prices.” The company grew wildly in the early 2000s under co-founder and former CEO Aubrey McClendon, but it also amassed $20 billion in debt before McClendon was pushed out in 2013, and that load finally caught up with it – NYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg and MarketWatch and Law360

Boeing has received the long-awaited FAA nod to begin test flights for its 737 Max “to demonstrate that it can fly safely with new flight control software,” a “major step in the company’s effort to get its best-selling plane flying again” – NYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg and MarketWatch

Covid cases hit 10 million worldwide and are surging again across the U.S., yet MarketWatch warns that the virus is but one of 7 factors that could make this a wild week for the markets – MarketWatch

The Times walks us through the stunningly rapid fall from grace of Wirecard (and its former CEO, Markus Braun), which has filed for insolvency proceedings just days after acknowledging a missing (and likely nonexistent) $2.1 billion on its balance sheets – NYTimes

Wirecard’s troubles have brought some unwanted attention to its auditor, Ernst & Young, as well – WSJ

The Fed has released details about the nearly 800 companies “whose bonds it will be buying directly to support the market for investment-grade corporate debt.” Big Auto and Big Tech look like the early winners – WSJ and Bloomberg and MarketWatch

Some pretty wild reporting from the Journal that suggests that the pandemic has made it nearly impossible for banks to determine who’s creditworthy these days. Their ability to do so again will mean a lot for whether Americans will be a facing an extended credit crunch in the very-near future – WSJ

The U.S.’s anti-Huawei campaign has been a well-documented effort in recent years. The Journal brings us up to speed on a new target of America’s ire—Nutech, a “well-connected Chinese state-controlled company whose screening systems for cargo, luggage and passengers are becoming a fixture at ports, border crossings and airports across Europe.” As it did with Huawei, the U.S. is urging allies to steer clear of Nutech because of its alleged threat to “Western security and business” – WSJ

Newsflash. The Nutech focus is part of a much larger (and growing) dispute between the U.S. and China – Bloomberg

A growing movement by major corporations to pull (at least temporarily) their advertising from Facebook in an effort to push the company to “suppress posts that glorify violence, divide and disinform the public, and promote racism and discrimination” is—surprise, surprise—prompting Zuck to rethink Facebook policies (in a way that basic pleas for decency just couldn’t) – Bloomberg and MarketWatch

If you haven’t stumbled across some Covid-era Leslie Jordan, you need to remedy that pronto. Here’s a delightful piece on the longtime character actor, who’s emerged as one of the unexpected stars of the lockdown – NYTimes

Stay safe,
MDR

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