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Fed's first bond buys include big oil, fracking pioneer files for bankruptcy, and other news from around the web

Daily news headlines about the stimulus and recovery from June 29, 2020.

Big oil, big tobacco, Warren Buffett among Fed's bond purchases

The U.S. Federal Reserve bought $428 million in bonds of individual companies through mid-June, making investments in household names like Walmart and AT&T as well as in major oil firms, tobacco giant Philip Morris International Inc, and a utility subsidiary of billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway holding company.

Issuers in the energy industry accounted for about 8.45% of the bonds purchased.

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Fracking pioneer Chesapeake Energy files for bankruptcy protection

Chesapeake Energy, a pioneer in extracting natural gas from shale rock across the country, filed for bankruptcy protection on Sunday, unable to overcome a mountain of debt that became unsustainable after a decade of stubbornly low gas prices.

The company helped convert the United States from a natural gas importer into a major exporter under the swashbuckling leadership of Aubrey McClendon, a company co-founder and former chief executive.

But Mr. McClendon overextended the company and amassed over $20 billion in debt before he was forced out in 2013, and Chesapeake, based in Oklahoma City, never fully recovered.

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Oil and gas lobbyists press bank regulators to lower risk standards for bailout loans

Oil and gas companies are putting pressure on the Trump administration to loosen bank guidelines put in place under President Barack Obama so they better access emergency loans during the coronavirus pandemic.

The oil and gas sector has been hit hard by the downturn in demand for gas and jet fuel as many people stay indoors during the viral outbreak. Many small to midsize petroleum producers see a little-known, four-year-old lending guidance document as obstructing the main goal of the stimulus packages passed by Congress — to keep workers employed and prevent companies such as theirs from going bankrupt.

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