Financial News

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August 15, 2022
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August 16, 2022
Financial News

Ukraine’s Black Sea deal also helps Russian farmers, economy

Agreements to unblock Ukrainian grain stuck at Black Sea ports for nearly six months of war also gave a boost to Russia’s food and fertilizer. The parallel deals depend on each other as Russia demanded and won assurances that its agricultural products won’t face sanctions. The industry is vital to the economy of the world’s biggest wheat exporter. And the deal helped ease concerns from insurers and banks about running afoul of sanctions. One Western shipper has been able to move two vessels of grain out of Russia in a matter of weeks. It used to take months before the deal. Russian and Ukrainian grain is important to developing countries where the war has worsened poverty and hunger.


Europe drought: German industry at risk as Rhine falls

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s main industry lobby group has warned that factories may have to throttle production or halt it completely because plunging water levels on the Rhine are making it harder to transport cargo on the river. Water levels on the Rhine at Emmerich near the Dutch border hit a record low Tuesday morning. It highlights the extreme lack of water caused by months of drought affecting much of Europe. The deputy head of the business lobby group BDI said that “the ongoing drought and the low water levels threaten the supply security of industry.” He warned that energy supplies could also be further strained as ships carrying coal and gasoline along the Rhine are affected.


Germany: 1 dead, 9 injured after test car veers into traffic

BERLIN (AP) — Police in Germany says one person has died and nine were seriously injured after a test car with autonomous steering capability veered into oncoming traffic. A spokesman for police in the southwestern town of Reutlingen said Tuesday that the electric BMW iX with five people on board swerved out of its lane at a bend in the road. It triggered a series of collisions involving four vehicles Monday afternoon. Police said they hadn’t yet had an opportunity to interview those involved in the crash and it was unclear if the 43-year-old driver had been steering the vehicle at the time. BMW confirmed that one of its test vehicles was involved in the collision. But the company denied that the vehicle was fully autonomous.


Companies facing 1st tax on stock buybacks in Biden bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats have pulled off a quiet first in legislation passed this month: the creation of a tax targeting stock buybacks. The bill includes a new 1% excise tax on companies’ purchases of their own shares, a tactic that companies have long used to return cash to investors and bolster their stock’s price. Democrats say that instead of buying back shares, big companies should use the money to increase employees’ wages or invest in their business. But is that likely to happen with the tax? Some experts are skeptical. The tax on stock buybacks is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.


Walmart tops Q2 expectations as Americans continue spending

NEW YORK (AP) — Walmart reported better-than-expected second quarter results as more Americans looked to cut costs on groceries at the nation’s largest retailer in the face of surging inflation. Those rising prices, however, meant that customers where cutting back on non-necessary purchases. Walmart Inc. earned $5.15 billion, or $1.88 per share, or $1.77 excluding one-time costs and charges. That easily beat the $1.62 per share that Wall Street was looking for, according to FactSet. It also topped last year’s profit of $4.27 billion.


US futures turn around on strong performance from retailers

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street nearly recouped overnight losses and was inching toward gains after some bell-weather retailers reported strong second-quarter earnings, a sign that consumers have continued to spend despite the worst inflation in 40 years. Futures for the Dow and S&P were each down less than 1% in premarket trading early Tuesday. Retail giants Walmart and Home Depot, whose quarterly financial results often give investors insight into broader consumer habits, both reported strong second quarter earnings, giving markets a boost before the opening bell. Oil prices inched back up after sinking on Monday on more negative economic data out of China.


Kenya calm a day after chaotic presidential declaration

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenya is calm a day after Deputy President William Ruto was declared the winner of the narrow presidential election over longtime opposition figure Raila Odinga. The vote has been closely watched in the East African country that has been crucial to regional stability. There were protests by Odinga supporters in some cities Monday night after chaos around the declaration as a majority of electoral commissioners alleged the process was “opaque.” Those commissioners were appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta last year. They gave no details about their sudden objection after an election widely seen as the most transparent ever in Kenya. The country was calm on Tuesday.


Far-right Italian leader Meloni rides popular wave in polls

ROME (AP) — Giorgia Meloni is riding a wave of popularity that next month could see her become Italy’s first female prime minister and its first far-right leader since World War II. Meloni’s message blends Christianity, motherhood and patriotism. Her Brothers of Italy party has neo-fascist roots. But Meloni has sought to dispel concerns about its legacy. She says voters have grown tired of such discussions. But there are still nagging signs that such a legacy can’t be shaken off so easily, Her party’s symbol includes an image of a tri-colored flame. It’s borrowed from a neo-fascist party formed shortly after the end of the war.


Home Depot posts record profit, revenue; sticks to outlook

Home Depot’s sales rose in its fiscal second quarter, buoyed by continued demand for items related to home improvement projects. Revenue for the three months ended July 31 rose 6.5% to $43.79 billion. This beat the $43.35 billion that analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research were calling for. Sales at stores open at least a year, a key indicator of a retailer’s health, climbed 5.8%. In the U.S., the figure increased 5.4%. While the number of customer transactions fell 3%, the amount shoppers spent per transaction rose 9.1%.


Blasts, fire hits military depot in Russian-annexed Crimea

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Massive explosions and fires have hit a military depot in Russia-annexed Crimea. They forced the evacuation of more than 3,000 people Tuesday. it was the second time in recent days that the Ukraine war’s focus has turned to the peninsula. Russia blamed the blasts at an ammunition storage facility in Mayskoye on an “act of sabotage” without naming the perpetrators. As with last week’s explosions, they led to speculation that Ukrainian forces may have staged an attack on the peninsula. Ukraine has stopped short of publicly claiming responsibility for any of the fires or explosions. If Ukrainian forces were responsible, the blasts would represent a significant escalation in the war.