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A widely followed consumer sentiment survey released showed inflation expectations have eased slightly.  The University of Michigan’s Surveys of Consumers said consumers expect inflation to rise at a 5.3% annualized rate as of the end of June. That’s down from a preliminary reading released earlier this month. Meanwhile, overall consumer sentiment fell to a record low, hitting 50. That’s 14.4% below a May reading of 58.4 and 41.5% from a year-earlier period.  Consumers across income, age, education, geographic region, political affiliation, stockholding and homeownership status all posted large declines.  About 79% of consumers expected bad times in the year ahead for business conditions, the highest since 2009. Inflation continued to be of paramount concern to consumers; 47% of consumers blamed inflation for eroding their living standards, just one point shy of the all-time high last reached during the Great Recession.


U.S. new home sales rose 10.7% to a seasonally-adjusted rate of 696,000 in May, from a sharply revised 629,000 in the prior month.  Year-over-year, new home sales are down 5.9%.  The median sales price of new homes sold in May fell to $449,000 from a record high $454,700. The supply of new homes for sale fell 7.2% between April and May, equating to a 7.7-month supply.   Regionally, sales fell drastically in the Northeast by 51.1%, followed by the Midwest, which saw an 18.3% drop in new home sales. The South and the West on the other hand saw increases in sales, at 12.8% and 39.3% respectively.  Despite the higher sales numbers, the housing sector is in the midst of a slowdown, with mortgage rates soaring past 5.8% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.


Los Angeles’ first crypto themed restaurant that only accepted crypto not longer accepts crypto currency as a form of payment stating that the volatility of the currency made it too hard to do business with.

NWQWM Morning Financial Report

The stock market, as measured by the S&P 500, tumbled more than 3 percent yesterday, dragging it deeper into bear market territory. This morning, futures markets suggest there will be a rebound, but the S&P is still well on track to record its 10th weekly decline of the past 11 weeks.


Bull markets are often said to climb a wall of worry, with occasional slips along the way. When bear markets rappel, there are also periodic pauses for breath. That has been the theme of late, with investors veering from relief that policymakers are taking aggressive actions to rein in inflation to fear about the effect those actions may have on economic growth.


In all, the drop in stocks this year has erased about $12 trillion in value from investors’ portfolios. That’s already more than the $8 trillion decline in 2008, during the most severe financial crisis in a century, although on a percentage basis the 2008 drop was bigger. Over time, the rise and fall of stocks can propel and drag the economy via something economists call the wealth effect — when people feel poorer, even if their losses are mostly on paper, they may not spend as much, denting the economy.

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The Federal Reserve yesterday launched their biggest broadside yet against inflation, raising benchmark interest rates three-quarters of a percentage point in a move that equates to the most aggressive hike since 1994.  Ending weeks of speculation, the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee took the level of its benchmark funds rate to a range of 1.5%-1.75%, the highest since just before the pandemic began in March 2020. Fed Officials also significantly cut their outlook for 2022 economic growth, now anticipating just a 1.7% gain in GDP, down from 2.8% from March.


Confidence among U.S. single-family homebuilders dropped to a two-year low in June as high inflation and rising mortgage rates reduced affordability for entry-level and first-time buyers.  The National Association of Home Builders Market index fell two points to 67 this month, the lowest reading since June 2020. It was the sixth straight monthly decline in the index.


There are more Oregonians in the labor force now than any time in the past decade, underscoring the job market’s extraordinary recovery from the pandemic recession.  Labor force participation hit 63.5% in May, according to data out from the Oregon Employment Department. Oregon added 6,200 jobs in May, and the unemployment rate dropped by a tenth of a point to 3.6%.


NWQWM Morning Financial Report

U.S. retail sales registered a bigger-than-expected drop in May as record gasoline and food prices prompt households to cut back spending. The Commerce Department reported that retail sales fell 0.3% last month, down sharply from April's downwardly revised 0.7% increase. May's print also marked the first decline in five months.


The National Federation of Independent Business Optimism Index fell in May to 93.1, marking the fifth consecutive month below the 48-year average of 98. Owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months decreased four points to a net negative 54%, the lowest level recorded in the 48-year-old survey. Expectations for better business conditions have deteriorated every month since January.  Twenty-eight percent of owners reported inflation was their single most important problem in operating their business. The net percent of owners raising average selling prices increased two points to a net 72%.


All eyes will be on the Federal Reserve’s key interest rate decision later today.  The markets are expecting a .50% rate hike, but will be more focused on what the Fed chairman says about future rates hikes.

NWQWM Morning Financial Report

The 2022 stock sell-off intensified yesterday with the S&P 500 tumbling to a fresh low for the year and is now in bear market territory as recession fears grow ahead of a key Federal Reserve meeting later this week.  The S&P 500 fell 3.9% to its lowest level since March 2021, bringing its losses from its January record to more than 21%.

Bitcoin tumbled below $24,000 and hit its lowest level since 2020 as risk-averse investors continued to dump crypto as rates rise. The news sent shared of crypto-related companies including Coinbase and Microstrategy down 13% and 29%, respectively.  Amid a broader sell-off in all cryptocurrencies that erased more than $200 billion from the entire crypto market in a single day.

Mortgage rates have risen to levels not seen since 2008.  The average rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage hit 6.13%, according to mortgage news daily.  We started the year at 3.25%, that means the average payment on a $400,000 house went from $1,400/month at the beginning of the year to $1,945/month now.

NWQWM Morning Financial Report

The consumer price index rose 8.6% in May from a year ago, the highest increase since December 1981. Core inflation excluding food and energy rose 6%. Both were higher than expected. Surging food, gas and energy prices all contributed to the gain, with fuel oil up 106% over the past year.  Shelter costs, which comprise about one-third of the CPI, rose at the fastest 12-month pace in 31 years. The rise in inflation meant workers lost more ground in May, with real wages declining 0.6% from April and 3% on a 12-month basis.

DocuSign went deep into the red in after-hours trading on Thursday as the stock cratered as much as 26% following weaker-than-expected Q1 results. EPS fell well short of estimates though revenue topped projections. Before adjustments, the electronic-signature tech company also reported a net loss that widened for the quarter. As interest rates normalize, there has been a shift away from a focus on growth to profitability. DocuSign put up some strong growth early on in the pandemic, given the increase in online transactions, but business has slowed in recent quarters.  

The national average price at the pump has surpassed $5.00 per gallon, according to GasBuddy, an industry consultant that surveys prices at more than 150K stations nationwide.

NWQWM Morning Financial Report

Apple is making its biggest move into finance by offering loans directly to consumers for its new “buy now, pay later” product, taking on a role played in its other lending services by banking partners such as Goldman Sachs. Short-term loans made through the iPhone maker’s new Apple Pay Later service will be made through a wholly owned subsidiary, Apple Financing LLC. Apple Pay Later, which will be managed through the Wallet app that comes pre-installed on every iPhone, will be accepted by millions of US retailers. Big Tech’s move into the core banking business has been long feared on Wall Street after years of an uneasy alliance in areas such as mobile payments.

The energy sector clung to gains yesterday and ended as the only winner in the S&P 500, with WTI crude oil rising to a 13-week high and settling above $122 a barrel. The gains follow U.S. government data that showed gasoline stockpiles declining for the tenth straight week, and crude in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve falling by a record amount. As inflated prices continue to be seen at the pump, shares of Exxon Mobil notched an all-time high for the first time since 2014, while Chevron and Valero posted similar records.

Jobless claims for the week ended June 4 totaled 229,000, well ahead of the 210,000 Dow Jones estimate. The four-week moving average for continuing claims, which helps smooth out volatility in the numbers, remained around its lowest level since 1970.

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Fears of stagflation continue to surface as multiple entities caution about rocky upcoming months or even years ahead. The latest warning came from the World Bank, which downgraded its estimate for 2022 global growth to 2.9%, from a forecast of 4.1% back in January.


Retail earnings have been incredibly scattershot in May and June, with winners and losers seeing wildly differing share reactions and revealing important insights on specific subsectors. One of the biggest losers has been Target , whose share price has tumbled 30% since reporting Q1 results on May 18. Earnings came in far from the bullseye after higher costs whacked profitability, but the company had another surprise in store for investors after slashing guidance again yesterday.


Mortgage rates are back on the upswing, after a brief decline in May, and the housing market is still suffering from a lack of listings. As a result, mortgage demand continues to drop. Total mortgage application volume fell 6.5% last week compared with the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index. Demand hit the lowest level in 22 years.The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($647,200 or less) increased to 5.40%

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SEC chair to set out overhaul of US equity market The Securities and Exchange Commission is exploring an overhaul of US stock market rules to strengthen competition and ensure individual investors are fairly treated after the explosion in retail trading during the pandemic. Gary Gensler, SEC chair, is said to have settled on several potential proposals, including the creation of an auction system designed to increase competition between services. The rules would effectively make frontrunning impossible and obsoleting the entire microwave/laser trading industry which is meant to do just one thing: trade ahead of slower retail investors. 


Shares of Amazon jumped and ended the session up 2% at $125, following a rare 20-for-1 stock split that went into effect. The last time the company split its shares was before the dot-com bubble in 1999, and since then, the stock has returned over 3,000%. Alphabet, Apple and Tesla have also turned to splits recently, with the trend making somewhat of a comeback during the pandemic.


Things are getting chaotic in the Elon Musk-Twitter saga after the billionaire warned that he could walk away from the $44B acquisition if the platform does not provide detailed information on spam and fake accounts. It's even more interesting as Elon Musk didn't want to do any extensive due diligence when abruptly announcing the deal back in April

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Apple is slated to kick off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference at 1:00 p.m. in New York and expectations are that it will be a jam-packed affair, with a number of software updates and perhaps one or two surprises. While WWDC never commands as much of a spotlight as Apple's annual iPhone event, new software features can have profound effects, especially as investors grow concerned about traditional hardware sales. Shortages, factory shutdowns and supply chain issues remain headwinds for the company, which may need to highlight its high-growth services category to keep shareholders excited.


Amid the fanfare of U.S. President Joe Biden’s new Indo-Pacific strategy, China flew under the radar and hosted a high-level discussion on RCEP, the world’s largest trade pact. It came days after the Biden administration launched the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, or IPEF — a partnership which involves 13 countries, excluding China, as the U.S. seeks to expand its political and economic leadership in the Indo-Pacific region. RCEP includes China and the 10-member ASEAN bloc, together with Australia, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.


Abbott has restarted production of baby formula at its Sturgis, Michigan, facility that had been shut down for months over contamination concerns that were linked to the possible deaths of at least two infants. Abbott's factory produces about one-fifth of all infant formula in the U.S.,

NWQWM Morning Financial Report

The U.S. economy added 390,000 jobs in May, better than expected despite fears of an economic slowdown and with a roaring pace of inflation.  At the same time, the unemployment rate held at 3.6%, just above the lowest level since December 1969.


New orders for U.S.-manufactured goods increased less than expected in April, but demand for products remains strong, which should help to keep factories humming.  The Commerce Department said that factory orders rose 0.3% in April after advancing 1.8% in March.  Manufacturing, which accounts for 12% of the U.S. economy, is being pinned by still strong demand for goods even as spending shifts back to services.


Tesla CEO Elon Musk has a “super bad feeling” about the economy and needs to cut about 10% of jobs at the electric carmaker, he said in an email to executives seen by Reuters.  The message, sent on Thursday and titled “pause all hiring worldwide”, came two days after the billionaire told staff to return to the workplace or leave, and adds to a growing chorus of warnings from business leaders about the risks of recession. Tesla employed almost 100,000 people at the company and its subsidiaries at the end of 2021

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A report from the Financial Times overnight suggested that Saudi Arabia told the West it was prepared to raise oil production if Russia's output fall substantially under the weight of sanctions. It's an interesting turn for the Kingdom, which has resisted calls to increase production despite oil trading at decade highs.  Before coming into office, President Biden vowed to make a "pariah" out of Saudi Arabia's ruling family, Relations between the two nations haven't improved since, with the Kingdom rebuffing every U.S. call to pump more crude. 


Private payrolls increased by just 128,000 in May, the lowest gain of the pandemic-era recovery, according to ADP.  Small business took the biggest hit during the month, as companies employing fewer than 50 workers reduced payrolls by 91,000. Leisure and hospitality, the sector most hit most by restrictions and which has been a leader throughout the recovery, saw new hires of just 17,000. Weekly jobless claims fell to 200,000, a sign that while hiring may be slowing, layoffs are not accelerating.


Ford Motor said Thursday that its U.S. sales fell just 4.5% in May from a year ago, a narrower decline than in recent months, as it continued to see white-hot demand for its latest vehicles amid tight supplies of new cars, trucks, and SUVs.

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A survey of consumer confidence fell slightly in May to a three-month low, reflecting worries about high inflation and a slowdown in the economy.  The U.S. economy is still growing, but government spending has tapered off and high inflation is forcing the Federal Reserve to jack up interest rates. Higher rates could eventually slow the economy.  On the flip side, the strongest labor market in decades and rising wages have offset some of the damage from high inflation and allowed consumers to keep spending. Consumer spending is the main driver of the U.S. economy.


A slew of Chinese stocks listed in the U.S. rallied after the country’s COVID lockdown measures eased.  The lockdown in Shanghai was announced in March and had been an overhang for the Chinese stock market.


Energy stocks rose along with oil prices after an agreement from European Union leaders to ban most crude imports from Russia stoked inflation fears. 


The consumer products giant Unilever saw their stocks jump 9.4% after they named activist investor Nelson Peltz to their board. The CEO and founding partner of Trian Fund Management acquired a 1.5% stake in the company.

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Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller said he sees interest rate increases continuing through the rest of the year as part of an effort to bring inflation under control.  Specifically, the central bank official said he would support hikes that exceed the “neutral” level which would be restrictive for growth of the US economy.  Estimates Fed officials provided in March point to a 2.5% neutral level, so that means Waller sees rates increasing at least another 2 percentage points from here.

The University of Michigan’s gauge of consumer sentiment fell to a final May reading of 58.5 from the initial reading of 59 earlier in the month, its lowest level in more than 10 years.  Americans’ expectations for overall inflation over the next year fell to 5.3% in May from 5.4% in April, while expectations for inflation over the next 5 years remained at 3%.  High inflation remains at the top of consumers minds, though data indicate that price pressures may be easing somewhat, aided by small declines in gas prices.  A key measure of U.S. inflation released Friday showed prices for a typical basket of consumer goods rising 6.3% year-over-year in April, down from a 40-year high of 6.6% in March.


Rising mortgage rates did not slow down rising home prices in March.  Nationally, home prices were 20.6% higher than they were in March 2021, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index. That is higher than the 20% gain in February. 

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Almost one in five of home sellers have lowered their price during the four-week period ended May 22, the highest rate since October 2019, suggesting homebuyers are starting to reject historically high prices, according to a report from real estate brokerage Redfin.  The median home sale price jumped 16% Y/Y to a record $400K, as the supply-side of the housing market remains tight, Redfin noted, citing data from more than 400 U.S. metro cities. Furthermore, pending home sales fell 5.4% Y/Y.


The core personal consumption expenditures price index, the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, rose 4.9% from a year ago in April, in line with estimates and a deceleration from March.  Personal income rose slightly less than expected, but spending beat estimates as consumers tapped savings. The number excludes volatile food and energy prices that have been a major contributor to inflation running at forty-year highs.

Chinese technology shares leapt this morning after the country’s largest internet groups beat first-quarter earnings estimates despite the damage caused by Beijing’s zero-Covid policy and widespread lockdowns in the world’s second-biggest economy. Hong Kong-listed shares of Alibaba surged more than 12 per cent after the ecommerce group reported revenues had risen 9 per cent year on year in the first three months of 2022 $30bn.

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The Federal Reserve minutes of the May meeting gave investors a pretty clear roadmap for the summer. The minutes, out Wednesday afternoon, painted a picture of an FOMC strongly focused on inflation, with rate hikes of 50 basis points in the June and July meetings. But some members also indicated that price pressures may not be getting worse. There are already signs that the U.S. economy is weakening. Of the last 19 major economic indicators, 13 have missed economists' expectations. The question is whether that will bring about a Fed pause, which stock bulls are hoping for, or will it stiffen the central bank's resolve.


Nvidia shares dropped sharply in extended trading after the chipmaker reported strong first-quarter results but issued weak guidance for the upcoming quarter.  However, the company said it expects second-quarter sales to be $8.1B, well below analyst estimates. Nvidia attributed the shortfall to roughly a $500M decline due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and COVID-related lockdowns in China.


Apple is boosting pay for workers amid rising inflation, a tight labor market and unionization pushes among hourly store employees. The iPhone maker on Wednesday told employees in an email that the company is increasing its overall compensation budget. Starting pay for hourly workers in the U.S. will rise to $22 an hour, or higher based upon the market, a 45% increase from 2018.

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Any Fed talk these days is being put under the microscope as the central bank embarks on a tightening cycle in its fight against inflation. It was only three weeks ago that the FOMC hiked rates by a half percentage point for the first time since 2000, meaning minutes from the May meeting will be released later today at 11am, Investors will particularly be watching for any new details and discussions from the officials, which have pledged to raise borrowing costs until it has fully tamed inflation.  A series of 50-basis-point rate hikes are now expected over the next several months, triggering fears that the increases could send the world's largest economy into recession.


Shares of Wendy's are 10% higher this morning after its largest shareholder Trian proposed a potential acquisition of the fast-food chain. Trian Partners, which is run by famed billionaire investor Nelson Peltz, owns nearly a 20% stake.


The U.S. Treasury Department does not plan to renew a license that allows Russia to pay its debtholders through American banks, almost guaranteeing the first Russian foreign debt default since the Bolshevik Revolution. Up until now, the Kremlin had been using JPMorgan and Citigroup as channels to pay its obligations, but the provision that allows it to do so will expire at midnight. Russia last defaulted on its domestic debts in 1998 – this one will end up in the courts – as they’re able and willing to pay. 

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Stock markets are set to renew a selloff this morning as a grim forecast from Snapchat owner Snap gave investors another excuse to shed tech shares. The company warned of a macro environment that "deteriorated further and faster than we anticipated," saying it was unlikely to meet its (already conservative) revenue and profit guidance for Q2.  Snap only reported earnings a month ago, meaning that the economic landscape appears to have changed drastically over the last several weeks. The firm will also slow hiring and postpone some planned staff additions until next year.  The stock had fallen over 50% this year so far, and is down another 38% this morning. 


The latest gathering of the world's political and business elite, plus the usual smattering of celebrities, is taking place this week at the Swiss Alpine resort of Davos. While the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum is usually broadcast in January, it was delayed multiple times this year due to COVID-19. As a result, headlines aren't making as much of their usual waves, but then again, many have already dismissed the pure hypocrisy of the gathering. 


China's zero-COVID policy is having many knock-on effects across its economy, as well as for multinationals located in the country. Airbnb is shutting down its domestic operations from the summer, halting its rental home offerings and experience listings.

NWQWM Morning Financial Report

Chipmaker Broadcom is in talks to acquire cloud service provider VMware in what could be one of the biggest deals of 2022. It would see the deal-hungry semiconductor group diversify into the enterprise software business as sentiment in the market sends stock prices lower. Demand for cloud computing services and data centers has surged in recent years and VMware has long been considered one of the industry's most important companies.

A day doesn't go by without Elon Musk making headlines, especially in recent weeks. His space venture called SpaceX is looking to bring in up to $1.7B in new capital, at a price of $70 per share, according to a company-wide email obtained by CNBC. That would boost its valuation to $127B, making it the second largest startup in the world behind China's ByteDance, which owns popular video-sharing app TikTok.

This morning, President Biden, on his first trip to Asia since taking office, has announced an agreement that he hopes represents the future of trade policy. It’s known as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework and includes India, Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, Australia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand and a handful of other countries.


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New claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, but the labor market remains tight amid worker shortages, with the number of Americans on jobless rolls at its lowest level since 1969 in early May.  Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 21,000 to a seasonally adjusted 218,000, the highest level since January.

Sales of previously owned homes in April fell to the lowest pace since the pandemic started, according to the National Association of Realtors.  Existing home sales declined 2.4% compared with March to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 5.61 million units. Sales were 5.9% lower than in April 2021. That is the slowest rate since June 2020, which was artificially slow since the economy was struggling with sweeping shutdowns due to the coronavirus. This count represents closings during the month, so it reflects contracts likely signed in February and March, when mortgage rates were rising. The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage started February at 3.66% and ended March at 4.78%. It is now hovering around 5.45% so sales numbers in June will likely drop again.

Intel said they are going to build a $700 million research center at their Jones Farm campus in Hillsboro where the company will study new technologies for cooling data centers.  The new “mega lab” will investigate ways to make data centers operate more efficiently, primarily by reducing their heating, cooling and water needs. The 200,000-square-foot facility, slated to open late next year, will also provide space for Intel to test new data center technologies.

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Construction of new houses fell slightly in April for the second month in a row, suggesting that rising mortgage rates, record home prices and the high cost of building materials are starting to bite.  Housing starts dipped 0.2 % to an annual pace of 1.72 million. That’s how many homes would be built in 2022 if construction took place at same rate over the entire year as it did in April.  New construction rose to a nearly 16-year high in February before backsliding in the past two months.  The number of permits, meanwhile, slipped 3.2% to a 1.82 million rate.  Permits foreshadow how many houses are likely to be built in the months ahead assuming a stable economy. They hit a 15-year high at the end of last year as mortgage rates tumbled to record lows, but permits have since leveled off.

How well is the American consumer holding up against sky-high inflation? It depends on whom you ask.  Four major retailers — WalmartTargetHome Depot and Lowe’s — reported quarterly financial results this week, and they each offered a different perspective on where and how people are spending their money.  Walmart said some of its more price-sensitive customers are beginning to trade down to private-label brands, while Home Depot emphasized the resiliency among its customer base, a sizable percentage of which is professional home builders and contractors.  The reports came after Amazon in late April flashed warning signs for the retail industry when they booked the slowest revenue growth for any quarter since the dot-com bust in 2001 and offered up a bleak forecast.  Still, expectations on Wall Street were higher this week for both Walmart and Target. Analysts and investors didn’t anticipate that the two big-box retailers would take such a massive hit to their profit. Walmart closed Tuesday down 11.4%, marking its worst day since October 1987, while Target had its worst day in 35 years.

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Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell emphasized his resolve to get inflation down, saying yesterday he won’t hesitate to continue interest rate increases until prices start falling back toward a healthy level.  “We will go until we feel we’re at a place where we can say financial conditions are in an appropriate place, and we see inflation coming down.”

Shares of Walmart are sharply lower after the company reported quarterly earnings that missed Wall Street’s expectations by a wide margin, as the nation’s largest retailer felt pressure from rising fuel costs and higher levels of inventory.  Walmart is a much-watched company as investors and economists look for clues about how the American consumer is weathering inflation.

Production at U.S. factories increased more than expected in April amid continued strong demand for motor vehicles and other goods, which should help to underpin manufacturing activity.  Manufacturing output increased 0.8% last month after a similar gain in March. But manufacturing, which accounts for 12% of the economy, faces challenges from renewed supply chain bottlenecks because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and China's zero-tolerance COVID policy.

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Retail Sales in April rose .9%, a solid increase that underscores Americans’ ability to keep ramping up spending even as inflation persists at a 40 year high.


Shares of Twitter traded sharply lower after Elon Musk hinted that he could seek to renegotiate the price of his Twitter takeover, saying a deal at a lower price wasn’t out of the question.  Twitter shares have also erased all of the gains since Musk disclosed his buyout. Musk said Friday that the acquisition was “on hold” while he researches the proportion of fake and spam accounts on the platform, which he believes Twitter has misstated.  Musk on Monday estimated that fake users make up at least 20% of all users. Twitter, meanwhile, has said the accounts made up fewer than 5% of its monetizable daily active users in the past quarter.


U.S. officials reached an agreement to allow baby formula maker Abbott to restart its largest domestic factory, though it will be two months or more before any new products ship from the site to help alleviate the national shortage facing parents.  Under the agreement, Abbott must work with outside experts to upgrade their standards and reduce bacterial contamination at the Sturgis, Michigan, facility, which the Food and Drug Administration has been investigating since early this year. The deal, which must be reviewed by a federal judge, amounts to a legally binding agreement between the FDA and the company on steps needed to reopen the factory.

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The Senate has finally confirmed Fed Chair Jerome Powell for a second four-year term following delays surrounding other nominees the Biden administration had pitched for the central bank. In his first term, Powell has had to battle two major crises, including the COVID pandemic and 40-year high in inflation, recently turning to tighter monetary policy to combat the price pressures. "Chairman Powell presided as Fed chair during some of the most challenging moments in modern American history," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said after the bipartisan 80-19 vote.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the billionaire founder of crypto exchange FTX, just disclosed a 7.6% stake in Robinhood, sending the beaten-down shares of the popular retail brokerage up 20% in AH trading yesterday.  Whether he’ll be able to re-direct a business slated to lose $1.2bn on $1.4bn in revenue remains to be seen.

Soaring inflation and supply chain bottlenecks have begun to crack the $1.5tn US high yield bond market, as the lowest-quality borrowers show signs of stress. Junk bonds had largely escaped worries over the US economy as surging prices add costs for companies. Many bond issuers were flush with cash because they locked in low interest rates before the Federal Reserve started to tighten monetary policy.  Negative earnings surprises this week helped to drag the broader high-yield bond market to its worst level in 17 months.

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It already happened once during the intraday session on Monday, but Saudi Aramco has officially topped Apple as the world's most valuable company. The state-owned energy giant closed the session yesterday with a market capitalization of $2.43T, while the iPhone maker ended the day valued at $2.37T. In fact, it's a trend that has accelerated this year, with the energy sector buoyed by a surge in oil prices following an inflation surge that has curbed demand for high-flying tech stocks. Aramco shares are up 30% YTD, while Apple's stock has slid 20% since the start of the year.


Tech stocks got hammered again on Wednesday after the closely-watched Consumer Price Index soared 8.3% in April, which was close to the highest level in more than 40 years. Furthermore, core CPI (excluding food and energy) was higher than expected, rising 6.2%, while shelter costs - which account for one-third of the CPI - advanced at their fastest pace since 1991. There was also a big jump in underlying services inflation, which has been climbing in recent months, suggesting that price pressures are becoming more entrenched in the economy.


Shares of Disney are lower after the company’s CFO acknowledged that the second half of the year may not be quite as strong relative to the first half when it comes to streaming. Disney’s fiscal second-quarter revenue rose 23% to to $19.25 billion, helped by strong theme park sales.


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