Missouri Minute: Boeing reports record losses; uneven vaccine rollout continues

Hello, MBA readers,

Gov. Mike Parson laid out his plans for 2021 on Wednesday in his State of the State address, outlining his strategy for handling the pandemic and other issues vital to Missouri. Among these was Medicaid expansion, which voters approved last year and Parson has budgeted $1.9 billion to fund in the next fiscal year. As the governor shared his budget for the state, retail investors on social media shared spending plans of their own. They went on a buying frenzy focused on AMC Entertainment, the theater operator based in the Kansas City area. AMC has struggled to avoid bankruptcy during the pandemic, but on Wednesday it became the latest company to see a surge in investment driven by users of Reddit and other social media platforms. AMC trading volume soared, and the stock price closed up 300%. As AMC shares shot up, Boeing reported the largest loss in its history. The aerospace giant, which employs about 16,000 people in the St. Louis area, announced it lost more than $12 billion in 2020 as the pandemic hammered the aviation industry.

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Boeing reports record losses for 2020
The aerospace company lost almost $12 billion as demand for new jetliners tanked and its new passenger jet, the 777X, faces a three-year delay. (Wall Street Journal)

Plane maker plans $45 million addition to St. Louis County campus
The St. Louis County Council unanimously endorsed incentives for a 30,000-square-foot expansion by Boeing, which employs about 16,000 people in the St. Louis region. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Canadian private equity firm hires lobbyist amid pension litigation
Catalyst Capital Group has hired a Missouri lobbyist after the Missouri State Employees’ Retirement System accused the firm of mishandling investments. (Kansas City Star)

Concorde Career Colleges to open campus at St. Joseph Medical Center
The 50,000-square-foot facility on the campus of the Kansas City hospital will teach nursing, respiratory therapy and cardiovascular sonography. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Stowers Institute adds executive director to boost research
Alejandro Sanchez Alvarado will take on the new position after working at the Kansas City Institute for 10 years. (Kansas City Business Journal)

St. Louis restaurant reopens early after closing for alleged COVID-19 violations
G&W Meat and Bavarian Sausage says the shutdown was a misunderstanding with the health department, while the health department claims it was justified. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

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Share prices and trading volume of AMC Entertainment Holdings surged on Wednesday as retail traders rallied around the stock on social media, marking the latest salvo in a recent campaign pitting them against short sellers.

Go figure

$1.9 billion

That is how much Gov. Mike Parson has budgeted for Medicaid expansion in his spending blueprint for the next fiscal year. He laid out that budget Wednesday during his annual State of the State address. The majority of the Medicaid expansion costs will be covered with federal funds, as was detailed in the amendment Missouri voters approved in August, the Missouri Independent reports. The remainder will come from savings expected from a reduction in costs to the state’s Medicaid program. In total, Parson proposed a budget of $34.1 billion, down about $1.1 billion from last year. On Wednesday, the governor expressed skepticism about the financial feasibility of Medicaid expansion, but said he would move forward with it because it was required by the constitution. Parson also detailed his plan to deal with the pandemic in 2021.

Say that again

“Someone doesn’t show up, and there is an extra dose, if they can find an arm, no matter what priority group that person is in, that’s what we would advise them to do.”

That’s Lisa Cox, spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, commenting on distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, The Kansas City Star reports. In one case in the Kansas City area, too many vials of the Moderna vaccine had been thawed and were in danger of being wasted, so pharmacists chose to administer doses in an effort to avoid discarding them. While some of the people who received the vaccine reportedly did not fit the Phase 1B eligibility requirements, state health officials supported the decision to avoid wasting the vaccine. St. Louis County has been experiencing high demand for the vaccine, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports, and local officials are struggling to acquire a large enough supply to meet demand for vaccinations. With an eye to the future when more doses are available, the county is planning for a mass vaccination site in Ferguson.

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AMC, the cinema chain based in the Kansas City area, has stepped into the spotlight of the recent stock surge fueled by the WallStreetBets group on Reddit, CNN Business reports. The same group is also responsible for the recent surge in stocks for both GameStop and Blackberry. Attention for the beleaguered theater operator caused the hashtag #SaveAMC to trend on Twitter on Wednesday as AMC’s stock price soared. Due to such trading volatility, TD Ameritrade put a hold on trades for both AMC and GameStop.


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