You’d have to go back to March 2020, in the early days of the Covid pandemic, to find a trading session more volatile than yesterday’s. The extreme rebound in stocks left Wall Street veterans struggling to explain exactly what happened. It was one of those trading days where if you had the news in advance (above-expected C.P.I.), you REALLY would have lost a lot of money. The Sp500 jumped by about 5% from its early-session low.
Kroger agreed this morning to buy Albertsons for about $24.6 billion, including debt, creating a grocery goliath with revenues of more than $200 billion. News of the deal, one of the biggest ever in the retail sector, took industry insiders by surprise given the intense amount of regulatory scrutiny it is likely to generate. Core inflation is soaring, with food prices a particular culprit. The Biden administration last year vowed to step up regulatory oversight of segments of the food chain, starting with meatpackers, where corporate concentration is believed to be keeping profits and retail prices high.
UnitedHealth Group reported moderately stronger-than-expected earnings this morning, sending shares higher. Revenue for the quarter was $80.9 billion, in line with expectations. . The company raised its guidance for the full 2022 fiscal year.