After spending a few days in Israel to reassert America's presence in the Middle East, President Biden today will become the first U.S. leader to fly directly from Tel Aviv to Saudi Arabia. On the itinerary is somewhat of a resetting of relations, including energy security, Israeli-Saudi ties and establishing a cohesive regional front to counter Iran. The trip will be a big policy U-turn for Biden, who has previously labeled the Kingdom a "pariah" and refused to talk with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Biden is set to ask Saudi Arabia to pump more oil.
A new round of bank results from Wells Fargo and Citigroup offered further insight into the state of the economy. Wells Fargo profits declined 48% and the bank set aside funds for bad loans. Citigroup is higher as the bank beat estimates and benefitted from a rising rate environment.
Retail sales rose 1% in June, slightly better than the 0.9% estimate. The numbers are not adjusted for inflation, which rose 1.3% on a monthly basis, indicating that real sales still were slightly negative. Gasoline stations, online sales and bars and restaurants were some of the biggest contributors.