Moody’s Cuts Russia’s Credit, Wheat Prices Soar, Powell Allays Investors’ Fears

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Moody’s Cuts Russia’s Credit, Wheat Prices Soar, Powell Allays Investors’ Fears

Moody’s downgraded Russia’s rating by six notches, predicting “continued damage to the economy” as a consequence of global sanctions imposed after the nation invaded Ukraine. The Russian stock exchange stayed closed.

US markets are up following a jump yesterday in response to Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s congressional testimony, which indicated that a Fed rate hike would be less than what investors expected.

Key Takeaways

  • The best credit agency Moody’s downgraded Russia’s credit rating by six points.
  • Stocks in the United States are gaining, continuing yesterday’s jump following Fed words that allayed expectations of a large interest rate increase.
  • Best Buy Co. Inc. and Kroger Co. both reported higher-than-expected results.

Powell is scheduled to speak before Senate legislators this morning, after assuring House members yesterday that he would suggest just a quarter-point rate raise at the Fed’s March meeting. Yesterday, all major U.S. market indices gained more than 1.5%.

The 10-year Treasury note yield increased to 1.86% after falling in the previous week. Crude oil prices erased early gains, falling to roughly $109.60 per barrel after briefly approaching $117 per barrel. Prices remain at their highest since 2014.

Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST), Big Lots Inc. (BIG), and Gap Inc. are among the major retailers reporting profits today (GPS).Best Buy Co. Inc. (BBY) and Kroger Co. (KR) both reported higher-than-expected results. Broadcom Inc. (AVGO), Cooper Companies Inc. (COO), and Marvell Technology Inc. are all scheduled to report (MRVL).

The Labor Department announced that initial applications for state unemployment benefits fell by 18,000 to 215,000 in the week ending February 26, which was less than experts predicted.

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The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) is likely to announce an increase in its services activity index for February to 61 later today, up from 59.9 the previous month.

The euro dipped versus the dollar, while Bitcoin dropped from recent highs.

Quick Hits: Today’s Headlines

Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) intends to shut all 68 of its physical bookshops, pop-up shops, and “4-star” locations in the United States and the United Kingdom, putting an end to some of the company’s longest-running experiments in physical retail. The business said that it was seeking to find new opportunities inside the firm for staff from the stores that will be closed.

Separately, Amazon employees at a second New York facility will vote on unionization. Organizers had previously been granted permission to conduct the vote at a separate location on Staten Island, New York.

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla (TSLA), has asked the United Auto Workers (UAW) to organize a union vote at Tesla. The UAW has not commented to Musk’s statement saying he was open to a union vote despite previously opposing it.

Several jurisdictions have initiated an inquiry into the consequences of TikTok on youngsters. A bipartisan group of eight attorneys general is broadening their initial inquiry into Meta Platforms’ Instagram business and the possible damages it may cause to adolescent users.

According to a regulatory filing, Peloton Interactive Inc. (PTON) founder and former CEO John Foley sold $50 million shares to MSD Partners, which is financed by Michael Dell. Even after selling the shares, Foley will retain effective control of Peloton.

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Apple Inc. (AAPL) has announced that its annual spring product announcement event will take place on March 8. Apple is likely to release a lower-cost version of its famous iPhone with 5G, a new iPad Air, and a high-end Mac Mini.

The Big Story: Soaring Wheat Prices

Filling up your petrol tank isn’t the only item that’s becoming more expensive: bread costs are anticipated to rise as well, as wheat prices reach their highest levels in almost 14 years.

Wheat prices began yesterday near the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) limit for how much up or down prices may move in a single day. Wheat futures finished at $10.59 a bushel on the CBOT, up roughly 8%. This is the highest level seen since 2008.

Wheat shortages have been predicted as a result of the war between Russia and Ukraine. Russia is the world’s largest wheat exporter, while Ukraine is one of the commodity’s top four exporters. According to Bank of America, 17% of the 207 million tons of worldwide wheat traded comes from Russia, while 12% comes from Ukraine.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, Ukraine was on pace for a record year of wheat exports before to Russia’s invasion. However, the fighting has created significant interruptions at Ukrainian ports, affecting the country’s export industry.

Wheat price increases are expected to raise the cost of consumer goods in the United States, such as cereal and bread. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, cereal and baked products prices have already risen 6.8% in the past year.

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