Business News


Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) joined Apple (AAPL) in the exclusive $2T market cap club on Tuesday - before pulling back - as investors bet on long-term growth for both earnings and revenue. The two are the only American companies to have ever reached such a valuation, though the other Big Tech names are close behind, including Amazon's (AMZN) market cap of $1.8T and Alphabet's (GOOG, GOOGL) $1.7T.  While it took Microsoft three decades from its IPO to reach its first $1T in value in 2019, the next trillion only took two years.

 

The latest comments from Fed Chair Jerome Powell are continuing to reassure markets after the major averages closed higher on Tuesday and the Nasdaq scored a fresh record. The gains held overnight, with stocks marginally higher and the yield on the 10-year Treasury note unchanged.  Not only did the Fed Chair soothe investors who were worried about price pressures, but he said that fear of inflation alone would not be enough to prompt interest rate increases.

 

Blackstone has agreed to acquire Home Partners of America, a buyer and operator of single-family rental properties, for $6bn, a signal of confidence from the world’s largest real estate manager that the US housing market boom is here to stay.



US Stocks traded sharply higher yesterday as the market recouped some of last week’s steep losses caused by the Federal Reserves’ policy shift.

 

DoorDash announced they are partnering with Albertsons to offer on-demand grocery delivery within an hour from nearly 2,000 of Albertson’s stores, including Safeway, Vons and Jewel-Osco.  DoorDash shares are up more than 5%, while Albertsons gained more than 2%.  The partnership shows how DoorDash can help grocery stores like Albertsons compete with Amazon and Walmart, which currently lead the online grocery delivery market.

 

The Supreme Court handed a unanimous victory Monday to Division I college athletes in their fight against the NCAA over caps it sought to impose on compensation.  The court voted 9-0 to affirm lower court rulings that found that antitrust law prevented the NCAA from restricting payments to athletes. The justices rejected the NCAA’s argument that its players’ amateur status would be impossible to maintain if they could receive pay, even for education-related expenses.



The average rate on the popular 30-year fixed mortgage moved decidedly higher, hitting 3.25%, which is the highest rate since mid-April.  The move was a reaction to comments made Wednesday by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell following the central bank’s meeting this week. Fed officials indicated that rate hikes could come in 2023, although they didn’t mention when they would start scaling back their massive bond-buying program.

 

U.S. initial jobless claims rose 37,000 to 412,000 which is the highest level in a month.  The number of people already collecting state jobless benefits, meanwhile, rose slightly to a seasonally adjusted 3.52 million. These are known as continuing claims. This is also the lowest level since the onset of the pandemic early last year.

 

A gauge of future U.S. economic activity increased for the third consecutive month in May, suggesting the economy continues to recover from the recession caused by the pandemic.  The Conference Board said its index of leading economic indicators (LEI) rose 1.3% last month to 114.5, topping its previous peak reached in January 2020. 
 



Construction on new homes rose slightly in May, but high lumber prices and labor shortages have stymied builders and could leave many customers frustrated as the busy U.S. summer home-buying season gets underway.  Builders started construction on new homes at a 1.57 million annual pace in May.  In other words, that’s how many houses would be started in a year if construction companies did the same amount of work every month as they did in May.  The increase was somewhat of mirage, however. April’s originally reported increase of 1.57 million was trimmed to 1.52 million.  Permits to build new homes, meanwhile, fell 3% last month in another sign of the trouble builders are running into. They slipped to an annual rate of 1.68 million from a revised 1.73 million in April.

 

The Federal Reserve announced yesterday that they will leave interest rates unchanged and continue to buy $120 Billion worth of bonds in the market every month.  The Fed also said they might hike interest rates earlier than it had previously expected, penciling in two interest rate hikes in 2023.  In their statement, the Fed stuck to their guns and said the recent burst of inflation would be transitory. At the same time, they acknowledged that inflation would be much higher this year, raising its forecast for headline inflation to 3%.  According to the Fed, 11 of 18 Fed officials expect at least two rate hikes in 2023. In March, only seven expected one hike.  Seven officials now see the first hike next year, up from four in March.



The Nasdaq Composite jumped to a record high yesterday as investors rotated back into growth-oriented stocks.  Investors are giving growth and tech stocks another chance as bond yields come down. The 10-year Treasury fell below 1.43%, a three-month low. 

 

According to the Commerce Department Retail sales fell slightly last month, as consumers spent less on goods and more on activities like travel, an industry that had been hobbled by the pandemic.  The 1.3 percent decline in retail spending in May follows months of ups and downs in consumer spending, driven by the persistence of the coronavirus that had kept many people away from airports and restaurants.

 

Come July 15, the IRS will start issuing payments to people eligible for the expanded child tax credit as part of the coronavirus relief package.  Rather than wait until taxpayers file their 2021 tax returns, the agency will start sending monthly advance payments worth half of the total credit. Payments will come on the 15th of the month for six months. Then taxpayers can take the rest of the credit on their 2021 return.  But there may be good reasons for some taxpayers to refuse to take the monthly tax experts said.  If your eligibility changes over the course of the year because you earn more income, you will have to pay back any overpayments when you file your 2021 tax return. 

 



The S&P 500 rose to an all-time high yesterday as investors shrugged off a key inflation report that showed a bigger-than-expected increase in price pressures.

 

The Labor Department said initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 9,000 a seasonally adjusted 376,000 for the week ended June 5. That was the lowest since mid-March 2020 when the first wave of COVID-19 infections barreled through the country.  Claims have now decreased for six straight weeks. The drop in applications was led by California and Pennsylvania.  The number of people continuing to receive benefits after an initial week of aid decreased 258,000 to 3.5 million during the week ended May 29. These so-called continuing claims had been stuck in a 3.6 million-3.8 million range since the middle of March, indicating workers were rejoining the labor force.

 

The net worth of U.S. households climbed to new heights as 2021 began.  Thanks largely to a surge in the stock market and in home prices, the total balance sheet for households and nonprofits rose to $137 trillion in the first quarter, a 4% gain from the end of 2020, according to the Federal Reserve.

 



Inflation in May here in the US accelerated at it’s fastest pace in 13 years as inflation pressures continued to build in the U.S. economy.  The consumer price index, which represents a basket including food, energy, groceries, housing costs and sales across a spectrum of goods, rose 5% from a year ago.

 

U.S. wholesale inventories increased strongly in April as businesses replenished stocks to meet pent-up demand, but supply constraints could make it harder to maintain the current pace of inventory rebuilding.  The Commerce Department said that wholesale inventories rose 0.8% as estimated last month and were 5.2% higher than in April of last year.

 

Apple’s iOS 15 update will bring lots of new features to your iPhone when it launches this fall. Apple announced the latest iPhone software this week during its big annual developer conference.  The update will give you more options for FaceTime video chat including, finally FaceTiming with friends on Android. It also brings new privacy features that help protect your email and show you how often apps access things like your camera and microphone. And later this winter, you may even be able to add your driver’s license to Apple Wallet, depending on where you live.



Airline stocks are trading higher after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased their travel recommendations for 61 countries, including Japan, France, South Africa, Canada, Spain and Italy. United Airlines climbed over 1%, while Delta jumped 2.5%.


Shares of Boeing are higher after Southwest Airlines said they are increasing their orders for the smallest 737 Max model by nearly three dozen planes amid an improvement in travel demand.


U.S. job openings surged by nearly one million to a new record high in April, while more people voluntarily left their employment, strengthening the view that a recent moderation in job growth was due to supply constraints.  Job openings, a measure of labor demand, increased by 998,000 to 9.3 million on the last day of April, the highest level since they began tracking the data in December 2000.


U.S. small-business confidence edged lower last month, the first decline in four months, as a nationwide labor shortage and inflation worries weighed on business owners' economic outlook.



The FDA cleared the first new treatment for Alzheimer's in nearly two decades on Monday, sending shares of maker Biogen up 38% and adding $16.5B in market value. The company claims that Aduhelm, which has the molecular name aducanumab, slows down the memory-robbing disease by breaking up clumps of plaque formed on the brain called amyloid. The approval came just in time for Biogen, which is dealing with declining sales and the loss of patent protection for its top-selling drug. Despite the drug's questionable efficacy, Biogen said it would charge about $56,000 a year per patient (and wouldn't hike prices for four years).

 

Amazon's Sidewalk project goes live today without asking your permission. The "neighborhood network" pools local Internet connections from millions of Amazon Echo smart speakers and Ring devices to let smart devices have a wider range of operation. While users have not been asked to opt-in, they could still turn the capability off, though their devices won't be able to access the network.  Signals from all of Amazon's neighborhood devices join together to create what’s called a mesh network. The low-bandwidth wireless grid can stretch half a mile to connect hard-to-reach areas across urban and suburban America.

 

The Senate looks set to pass far-reaching China legislative package this week, in the broadest offensive push yet to counter increasing competition from China. The package, which initially had been expected to pass in late May before legislators punted it, looks to increase investment in research and development around advanced technology like artificial intelligence and funding for semiconductor production—necessary for just about any digital technology—closer to home.

 



G7 nations reached an agreement on a global minimum tax over the weekend after years of discussions at the OECD. At a basic level, the framework would prevent companies from shifting profits to low tax jurisdictions and ensure the biggest multinationals pay more tax in the countries in which they operate. In return, the U.S wants European nations and others to drop their Digital Service Taxes that target American Big Tech companies, but many negotiations still await. In its current form, the deal would require that companies pay at least a 15% tax on income, regardless of where they are based, making it less advantageous to relocate operations to countries with lower tax rates.

 

Going virtual again this year due to COVID-19, Apple will kick off its annual Worldwide Developer Conference at 10 AM PST. The event is catered to software developers, so don't expect any hardware announcements, though they are a possibility.  WWDC will also be an opportunity for Apple to address its developer community following two contentious disagreements with app makers, including a legal battle with Epic Games over its App Store fees and a feud with Facebook over its new privacy policies. Apple shares have been struggling since hitting a peak in late January, and they remain in correction territory. The stock is down 12% from the top seen on Jan. 26.

 

The global chip shortage disrupting the car industry and threatening the supply of consumer technology products will last for at least another year, the world’s third-largest contract electronics manufacturer has warned.  The forecast from Flex is one of the gloomiest yet as a rapid rebound in vehicle sales combined with a lockdown-driven boom in games consoles, laptops and televisions has left global chipmakers overwhelmed by increased demand.



Hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman's special-purpose acquisition company is finally nearing a deal, after much speculation surrounding the vehicle since its launch last year. It's pursuing a tie-up with Vivendi over the French media conglomerate's Universal Music Group (UMG), the world's largest music company. Pershing Square Tontine Holdings would acquire 10% of the ordinary shares of UMG for about $4B - implying an enterprise value for UMG of about $42.4B.  The deal would be the largest SPAC transaction on record, It also come at a time when the SPAC market is cooling.  

 

Finance ministers are set to meet in London on Friday and Saturday, and are poised to announce that they have agreed the principles for a new system of international corporate taxation.  The proposed regime would both create a new right for countries to tax the largest multinationals’ profits based on where they make their sales and a global minimum effective corporate tax rate of 15 per cent, which would raise significant sums of money in the US.

 

Job creation disappointed again in May, with nonfarm payrolls up what normally would be considered a solid 559,000 but still short of lofty expectations, the Labor Department reported Friday.  The unemployment rate fell to 5.8% from 6.1%.  Just over 6 in 10 people are participating in the labor force.  
 



The meme trade has been resurfacing in recent weeks, but really picked up pace in the last few sessions, as retail favorite AMC Entertainment continues to make headlines. A 95% gain to $62/share on Wednesday - following four trading halts - left the movie theater chain with a market capitalization of $31.3B, making it more valuable than half of the companies in the S&P 500. That follows a 23% climb on Tuesday, a 200% advance in the last week and 3,600% return since the beginning of the year.  Much of the price gains have been attributed to swarm trading, as well as gamification, where traders pile into popular names, ignoring fundamentals, technicals and other catalysts.

 

It's becoming harder to find goods and services that haven't increased in price in recent months.  Case in point: Kimberly-Clark began June by raising prices on consumer goods by 4% to 9%, Scotts Miracle-Gro will follow suit this summer, and Procter & Gamble has said it will mark up prices in the fall. Price tags on appliances from Whirlpool and others have meanwhile risen by double-digit percentages from a year ago, while Costco is raising labels by 20% or more for beef and up to 10% for clothing. Restaurant costs are rising too - Chipotle just upped delivery prices by 4%.

 

Initial jobless claims fell below 400,000 for the first time since the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Labor Department reported this morning.  First-time filings for unemployment benefits totaled 385,000 for the week ended May 29, a decline from the previous week’s 405,000 and below the Dow Jones estimate of 393,000.



The latest cyberattack on an American supply chain was felt yesterday as JBS - the biggest meat producer in the U.S. (and the world) - reported a ransomware breach that shut down all its beef facilities. The company's meatpacking plants also experienced some level of disruption due to the hack which was attributed to a notorious criminal gang based out of Russia. JBS sells beef and pork under the Swift brand, and is also the owner of Pilgrim's Pride, the second-largest U.S. chicken producer.

 

Economists are already debating whether, or to what degree, stimulus spending is fueling inflation, with consumer prices rising by a whopping 4.2% in April. Prices of lumber, steel and semiconductors are also at record highs, given historically low inventories and surging demand. Port congestion and rising freight costs are meanwhile adding to price pressures amid a scarcity of shipping containers, as well as dwindling warehouse space.

 

Shares of AMC Entertainment reached $37.52 this morning, opening at an all-time high. On Tuesday, AMC reported it had sold 8.5 million newly issued shares to Mudrick Capital, the latest in a series of capital raises for the meme stock. The hedge fund later turned around and sold all of its AMC stock for a profit, according to a report from Bloomberg News.  AMC said in a securities filing that it raised $230 million through a stock sale to the investment firm. The movie theater operator said it would use the funds for potential acquisitions, upgrading its theaters and deleveraging its balance sheet.
 



President Biden unveiled his first budget before the weekend that detailed $6T in spending for FY2022, including two infrastructure proposals, an increase in military resources, as well as domestic programs like scientific research and renewable energy. In total, the plan would raise federal spending to $8.2T per year by 2031, meaning annual deficits of over $1.3T (and $1.8T in 2022). Other policy promises that weren't included in the budget may add to the weighty costs: student loan forgiveness, lowering the Medicare age to 60, creating a public healthcare option and reducing prescription drug prices.  The U.S. has already returned to the record debt-to-GDP ratio last seen in the aftermath of World War II

 

The latest OPEC+ gathering takes place via videoconference today as pandemic travel continues to prevent the usual meeting spot in Vienna. The group is now holding monthly meetings, giving it more immediate power to make decisions on current oil market conditions, as well as room to maneuver. It's also a signal that OPEC+ producers are wary about how things might play out in the months as they try to balance expectations of a recovery in demand against a possible supply increase from Iran, the world's fourth-largest crude producer. Crude prices have risen from $60 toward the $70 level, and are up more than 30% in 2021 alone
 



The U.S. jobs market edged closer to its pre-pandemic self last week as initial jobless claims totaled just 406,000 for the week ended May 22, according to the Labor Department.  While that level is still well above the pre-Covid norm, it is the closest to the previous trend and a decline from the previous week’s 444,000.

 

U.S. orders for big-ticket manufactured goods dropped unexpectedly in April for the first time in 11 months as a shortage of computer chips disrupted auto production.  The Commerce Department reported that orders for factory goods meant to last at least three years fell 1.3% in April after rising 1.3% in March.  Factories have been hamstrung by a shortage of supplies as the economy reopens from the pandemic and demand for goods and services rebounds rapidly.

 

Contracts to purchase previously owned U.S. homes declined in April following a record-low inventory of homes for sale in the first quarter of 2021.  The National Association of Realtors said their Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed last month, fell 4.4.  Pending home contracts are seen as a forward-looking indicator of the health of the housing market because they become sales one to two months later.  Compared to one year ago, pending sales were up 51.7%.



Sales of new homes fell a bigger-than-expected 5.9% in April, a drop that analysts blamed in part on rising home prices and lack of inventory.  Sales dropped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 863,000 last month. That followed a sales pace of 917,000 in March, which was revised down from an original estimate of 1.02 million.  The median price of a new home sold last month was $372,400, up 11.4% from March while the average price of a home sold in April was a record $435,400, up 8.7% from March.

 

It finally happened; a large technology company finally acquired a significant legacy media company.  Amazon has purchased MGM Studios for $8.45 billion.  Amazon needed more content for Prime Video to stay relevant against Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max and the many other streaming services competing for eyeballs. Buying MGM not only gives it library favorites like “James Bond,” “Rocky,” “Real Housewives” and “Survivor.” It also improves its odds of making better originals with a full-fledged studio that has made recent hits such as “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Fargo.”

 

Ford expects 40% of its global sales to be battery-electric vehicles by 2030 as it adds billions to what it’s spending to develop them.  The automaker says it will add about $8 billion to its electric vehicle development spending from this year to 2025.



Home prices in March were 13.2% higher, compared with March 2020, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index.  That’s up from the 12% annual gain in February, and it marks the 10th straight month of accelerating home prices.  The March gain is the largest since December 2005 and is one of the largest in the index’s 30-year history. Prices are being pushed higher by incredibly strong competition in the market. High demand is butting up against near record-low supply, resulting in bidding wars for the vast majority of listings.  Cities with the strongest price gains continue to be Phoenix, San Diego and Seattle.

 

U.S. consumer confidence was little changed in May as consumers’ short-term optimism of conditions retreated on expectations for decelerating growth and softening labor market conditions in the months ahead.  The Conference Board said on Tuesday its Consumer Confidence Index dipped to a reading of 117.2 this month, following a reading of 117.5 in April.

 

Oregonians receiving regular unemployment benefits must start looking for jobs by July 31 to keep receiving their weekly payments, reinstating a requirement that had been on hold during the pandemic.  With Oregon employers facing a labor shortage, the state announced last week that benefits recipients soon would have to show that they’re actively seeking work to keep getting their money.



U.S. stocks climbed yesterday as the technology sector and shares benefiting the most from the economic reopening led the advance.

 

The average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage — the nation’s most popular home loan — returned to an even 3% last week, according to mortgage giant Freddie Mac.  The 30-year rate jumped from a week earlier, when it averaged 2.94%. A year ago at this time, the average was 3.24%.  Mortgage rates had been hovering below 3% for weeks. They climbed last week due to signs of rising inflation, and to the release of notes from the last Federal Reserve meeting. The notes suggested the Fed may soon start unwinding policies that have helped keep interest rates low.

 

The Treasury Department detailed plans to have any cryptocurrency transfers of at least $10,000 to be reported to the Internal Revenue Service.  As with cash transactions, businesses that receive cryptoassets with a fair-market value of more than $10,000 would also be reported on. The report is part of the Biden administration's plans to beef up the IRS in hopes of collecting more tax revenue that otherwise goes unreported.  The IRS first began asking individuals if they bought or sold virtual currencies in 2020, and now requires individuals to report capital gains realized from any cryptocurrency transactions.


 



The cryptocurrency sell-off continued over the weekend following a roller-coaster week of trading, as authorities in China and the U.S. move to tighten regulation and tax compliance on all cryptocurrencies.  A JPMorgan report showed large institutional investors were dumping crypto’s in favor of Gold. The news raised questions about institutional support for cryptocurrencies.

 

The number of people traveling again is on the rise. So are prices.  Airfares and hotel rates are climbing as travelers return in the highest numbers since the pandemic began, hitting beaches, mountains and visiting friends and family after a year of being cooped up.  Even the cost of a road trip is climbing as gasoline prices reach the highest levels since 2014.  Domestic airline fares are up 9% since April 1 while international fares are up 17%, and they are continuing to rise.

 

Oregon hotels are reopening, restaurants are serving up meals again and workers are beginning to return to the office.  The state’s factories, though, may have suffered permanent damage.  Overall, Oregon has recovered 59% of jobs lost during the pandemic, and the state’s jobless rate has receded from 13.2% in April 2020 – the highest point on record -- to 6.0% last month.  The manufacturing sector isn’t showing a similar bounce. Oregon has recouped just a fifth of the factory jobs it lost a year ago.
 



The three-week-old antitrust trial between Apple and Epic Games will wrap up on Monday, but not before an appearance from a high-profile defendant. CEO Tim Cook will take the stand today before the companies make their closing arguments and Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers issues a final ruling (neither side wanted a jury trial).  The legal fight started last year when Epic created its own direct payment method within popular game Fortnite, circumventing fees paid for App Store purchases. Apple then issued a warning to Epic regarding the workaround, but the latter refused to remove it, and Apple kicked the developer off its platform.

 

Things seem to be calming down in the crypto market following a serious plunge and some wild swings seen earlier in the week.  The U.S. Treasury is proposing a requirement that any crypto transfers over $10K be reported to the IRS, among other plans, given that crypto markets pose a "significant" tax-evasion risk. The news is part of a broader Biden plan to raise $700B in revenue over the coming decade by stepping up IRS scrutiny of Americans, including doubling the size of the IRS workforce by hiring 87K additional employees by 2031

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The Biden administration has signaled it will accept a 15 per cent global minimum tax on large multinational companies, in international talks aimed at increasing revenues from corporations that operate across borders.The US plans for a tax regime overhaul, set out in April, proposed applying a new tax based on sales in each country to the global profits of the very largest companies, including big US technology groups, regardless of their physical presence in a given country.
 



The selloff in high-flying assets has continued to extend to the broader market. While the major averages pared big early session losses yesterday, they still registered a third straight day of declines as cryptocurrency-linked shares plunged. In fact, the Nasdaq Composite Index is off by more than 5% over the last few weeks, on pace for its worst monthly performance since September 2020.  In a move that did not help sentiment, the Federal Reserve's minutes from April hinted at the possibility of slowing bond purchases in upcoming FOMC meetings.


Oatly priced its highly-anticipated IPO at a top-of-range $17/share late Wednesday, valuing the firm at more than $10B. The plan calls for the stock to begin trading this morning on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol "OTLY" .  The Swedish-based company produces a variety of vegan foods with oats, including milk, yogurts and spreadable cheeses, and its products are available in more than 20 countries. Revenue more than doubled last year to hit $421.4M, though its net losses widened to $60.4M as it spent heavily on product development, new factories and marketing. During 2020, oat milk sales in the U.S. also soared over 300% to $213M, becoming the second most consumed plant milk after almond milk.

 

The procession of Americans heading to the unemployment line fell last week, with jobless claims totaling a fresh pandemic-era low of 444,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday.  Economist surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting 452,000 new claims as the jobs picture improves thanks to an accelerated economic reopening across the country.
 



Don't forget about earnings season! While we're on the tail end of Q1 quarterly results, this week is a big one for the retail sector. Walmart (WMT), Home Depot (HD), Macy's (M) already announced sets of impressive results on Tuesday, though their accompanying stock performances were varied (see Key Earnings section below). Retail earnings shift into high gear today, with reports from Lowe's (LOW), Target (TGT), TJX Companies (TJX) and L Brands (LB).

 

The crypto craze is no longer ablaze as the traders assess recent happenings in the volatile market. Over the last 24 hours, Bitcoin plunged another 12.6% to $39,407, and is now down 40% from its all-time high of $64,895.22 on April 14.  Besides environmental concerns sparked by Elon Musk - and Tesla stopping to take payment in Bitcoin - the People's Bank of China has banned financial institutions from facilitating cryptocurrency transactions. The statement was coupled with a warning to investors against "speculative crypto trading," which "seriously infringes on the safety of people's property and disrupts the normal economic and financial order."

 

Sky-high home prices mean demand for ever bigger mortgages, but those prices may also be causing a pullback in homebuying overall. Mortgage applications to purchase a home fell 4% last week compared with the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index. Volume was just 2% higher than the same week one year ago.  The extreme shortage has prices continuing to climb at the fastest pace in over 15 years, and as a result, average purchase loan balances are climbing in tandem. Last week, that average hit $411,400
 



U.S. stocks traded higher yesterday, rebounding from a three-day losing streak as investors made classic reopening trades including airlines after the CDC said fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a face mask or stay six feet away from others in most settings.


Another inflation gauge came in hot with producer prices jumping 6.2% in April from a year ago.  Companies paid much higher prices to producers in April for everything from steel to meat in another sign of inflation in an economy rapidly recovering from the pandemic.  Year over year the PPI spike was the largest increase since they started tracking the data.


Disney reported mixed fiscal second-quarter results, with the entertainment giant missing Wall Street's revenue expectations as its streaming service added fewer new subscribers than expected. Disney's myriad businesses have been unevenly impacted by the pandemic and start of the reopening process in the U.S. The company's streaming platform, Disney+, has been viewed as a beneficiary of stay-in-place orders, which drove a surge in sign-ups for the service last year.  Shares are trading lower on the news. 
 



U.S. stocks declined sharply again yesterday as hotter-than-expected inflation data triggered massive selling, especially in technology shares.  US Stocks had their worst day in 4 months.

 

Inflation rose at its fastest pace since 2008 last month with the Consumer Price Index spiking 4.2% from a year ago, compared to the estimates for a 3.6% increase. The monthly gain was 0.8%, versus the expected 0.2%. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, the core CPI increased 3% from the same period in 2020 and 0.9% on a monthly basis.

 

At the end of April, a record number of jobs were open in the U.S..  The latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed some 8.1 million jobs were available at the end of April. The prior high for this series, which dates back to 2001, came in November 2018.
 



The Dow climbed to another record high yesterday as investors dumped Big Tech stocks and bet on companies leveraged to a strong economic comeback. The divide between value stocks in the market and growth was significant with the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite losing 2% as the Dow soared.

 

Bad news for house hunters: Hiring has slowed for construction workers.  Homebuilders have slowed their hiring pace, even as buyers are clamoring for properties to purchase.  Analysts and economists say the slowdown is a reflection of the exceptional challenge’s construction firms are facing in sourcing building materials.  Employment in the broader construction sector was flat in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 

Newly unemployed Oregonians will get 9% more from the state each week beginning in July, with weekly benefits rising to as much as $1,033 for some workers.  The higher benefits are the result of an annual adjustment to the size of state unemployment benefits tied to Oregonians’ average wages.  When pay goes up for working Oregonians, benefits go up for the unemployed.  The new payments kick in after July 4, according to the Oregon Employment Department, and only apply to new jobless claims. It won’t change the benefits for those who filed claims before then.


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