Tuesday’s scheduled meeting between President Joe Biden and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is certainly not a victory tour, for either individual.
Polling has now put Biden’s approval rating below that of his predecessor, Donald Trump, as well as the five previous presidents at this point in their term, according to tabulations kept by the statistics website FiveThirtyEight.
Powell, who was recently confirmed to a second term, will at least be able to impart the good news that recent economic reports are consistent with the idea that inflation has peaked. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like price gains will be slowing substantially soon. ..
In fact, Christopher Waller, a Fed governor, used precisely those words on Monday. “No matter which measure is considered, however, headline inflation has come in above 4% for about a year and core inflation is not coming down enough to meet the Fed’s target anytime soon, ”he said at a lecture in Frankfurt, Germany.
That means aggressive rate hikes will continue. Waller’s preference is for half-point rate increases to continue until inflation starts receding closer to its 2% target. Powell has all but committed to half-point increases in June and July but left open what the Fed will do from there.
Those rate hikes may further derail the stock market, setting the stage for an ugly substrates for the midterms, where the Democrats are in danger of losing districts that Biden won in 2020 by double-digits.
The one positive in the US economy is the labor market, with an ultralow 3.6% unemployment rate in April. Waller said a series of rate increases will reduce job openings but won’t lead to a spike in the jobless rate so long as a recession can be avoided.
— —Steve Goldstein
*** Join Mansion Global reporter Leslie Hendrickson today at noon for a discussion on remote workers flocking to the Sun Belt, with George Ratiu, senior economist for realtor.com, and North Carolina-based agents Marshall Pickett and Laura Livaudais of the North Carolina Ivester Jackson / Christie’s International. Sign up here.
EU Agrees to Ban Most Russian Oil by Year-End
European Union leaders agreed on a compromise to ban imports of most Russian oil by the end of the year, after the country invaded Ukraine in February.
The fresh round of sanctions will only affect Russian crude imports that arrive by sea, equivalent to about two-thirds of shipments to the bloc. Pipeline oil will still be allowedin a key concession to Eastern European countries, mainly Hungary, concerned about cutting off supply.
Poland and Germany have pledged to end pipeline imports by the end of 2022which would stop about 90% of Russian imports.
European Council President Charles Michel said the agreement would cut off a huge source of funding for the Russian war machine. No sanctions have yet been placed on natural-gas imports.
This was the sixth round round of sanctions against Russia by the EU. The bloc also agreed to cut off
the largest Russian bank, from the Swift payment system and banned three more state-owned broadcasters.
What’s Next: The announcement of the ban pushed international oil prices to the highest since March. EU leaders said they would revisit the exemption on pipeline oil as soon as possible. They may also consider ways to reduce the bloc’s reliance on Russia for natural-gas supplies.
— —Brian Swint
Holiday Travelers Contend With Flight Delays, Cancellations
Flight disruptions hit millions of Americans who traveled for the holiday despite rising fuel costs and higher prices for hotel rooms, airplane tickets, and dining out. Transportation Security Administration data show 6.47 million people passed through airport security Friday through Sunday, the most since 7.2 million in 2019.
Flight delays and cancellations eased by Monday but still lingered. As of 7 pm Eastern time Monday, more than 400 flights in and out of US airports were canceled and another 2,776 were delayedaccording to flight tracking website FlightAware.
Delta Air Lines
had canceled 4% of its flights Monday after canceling 6% on Sunday.
The problems cascaded from Saturdaywhen more than 560 flights in and out of US airports were canceled, and some 5,180 were delayed, according to FlightAware. Worldwide, there were 7,000 flights canceled over the weekend.
Republic Airways, which operates American Eagle, Delta Connection, and United Express, canceled 5% of its flights on Sunday and 9% of them on Saturday, according to FlightAware. Representatives for Delta and Republic weren’t available to comment.
According to AAA, nearly 35 million people opted to drive to a destination over the holiday weekend despite national average gasoline prices around $ 4.61 a gallon, more than 50% higher than last year. In California, gasoline tops $ 6.10 a gallon, AAA said.
What’s Next: Delta is trimming its flight schedule this summer to avoid disruptions for travelers, planning to cut 100 flights a day from July 1 to August 7.
— —Liz Moyer
Tom Cruise’s’Top Gun: Maverick’ Reaches Supersonic Opening
Moviegoers flocked to theaters over the Memorial Day weekend, many of them to see Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverickwhich brought in $ 124 million in domestic box office sales, a supersonic debut for the long-awaited
blockbuster. EntTelligence estimated 11.1 million people would see Maverick through Monday.
The $ 124 million is a three-day sales countIncluding Monday, sales are expected to reach $ 151 million, according to Comscore. Internationally, the movie brought in another $ 124 million Friday through Sunday, bringing the total to $ 248 million worldwide.
It was Cruise’s first $ 100 million opening weekend. The original Top Gunalso starring Cruise, was the top movie of 1986grossing $ 171 million then. Paramount originally scheduled Maverick to run in 2020, but the Covid-19 pandemic delayed it.
Unlike other movies that made their debuts on streaming during the pandemic, or simultaneously in theaters and streaming, Maverick was theater-only, opening in 4,735 theatersaccording to Box Office Guru.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness took in $ 16.4 million during the weekend through Sunday and is still the year’s top grossing filmwith $ 375 million in domestic sales, according to Box Office Mojo.
What’s Next: Studios have lined up a series of what they hope will be blockbusters this summer.
Universal Pictures will release Jurassic World Dominion in theaters on June 10.
— —Liz Moyer
Lawmakers Discuss New Gun Policies After Texas School Shooting
Lawmakers from both parties expressed support for new gun policies after last week’s Texas school shooting, where 19 children and two educators died. Democrats renewed calls for stricter ownership rules and background checks, and an assault-weapons ban.
President Joe Biden raised the idea of an assault weapons ban on Monday, telling reporters outside the White House “there’s simply no rational basis” for this type of high-caliber weapon. “The Second Amendment was never absolute,” he said.
On ABC’s This WeekRep. Adam Kinzinger (R., Ill.,) Said raising the minimum age for gun purchases to 21 is a “no brainer,” adding he is willing to participate in a wider debate about guns. “I’m definitely ready to engage in that conversation.”
A possible area of agreement between Democrats and Republicans is a ‘red-flag law’ that would allow seizures of guns from people who have been shown to be a risk to themselves or others.
The Justice Department will review the police response to the Texas shooting after details emerged that law enforcement delayed entering the classroom where the gunman had barricaded himself. Justice said the goal is to “identify lessons learned.”
What’s Next: Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas) told reporters on Monday that a bipartisan group of senators will meet virtually today to work on a “basic framework” to move forward on gun reform. The group has been talking even though the Senate isn’ t in session this week.
— —Liz Moyer
Be sure to join this month’s Barron’s Daily virtual stock exchange challenge and show us your stuff.
Each month, we’ll start a new challenge and invite newsletter readers—you! —To build a portfolio using virtual money and compete against the Barron’s and MarketWatch community.
Everyone will start with the same amount and can trade as often or as little as they choose. We’ll track the leaders and, at the end of the challenge, the winner whose portfolio has the most value will be announced in The Barron’s Daily newsletter ..
Are you ready to compete? Join the challenge and pick your stocks here.
—Newsletter edited by Liz Moyer, Camilla Imperiali, Brian Swint