What To To Expect From Friday's Closely Watched US Inflation Report
~2.1 mins read

The Federal Reserve’s favorite measure of inflation likely cooled down in June, confirming the central bank’s efforts to subdue price increases are working, paving the way for rate cuts as soon as September. Forecasters expect Friday’s Personal Consumption Expenditures measure of inflation in June to mirror the trend shown by the Consumer Price Index earlier this month. PCE prices probably rose 2.5% from the year before, down from 2.6% in May, according to a survey of economists by and

The PCE measure of inflation is especially significant because it’s the benchmark that officials at the Federal Reserve pay the most attention to when setting the nation’s monetary policy. The Fed has held its influential fed funds rate at a 23-year high since last July in an effort to push inflation down to its 2% annual goal. 

Fed officials have said falling inflation would prompt them to start lowering the rate, reversing a campaign of rate hikes that began in March 2022.

The high fed funds rate has helped push interest rates on mortgages, credit cards, and other loans up, with many rates at or near their highest in decades. Lower PCE inflation could provide the data the Fed needs to justify a shift away from high rates, which are meant to slow the economy down.Financial markets are pricing in a near certainty that the Fed will hold the fed funds rate steady at its meeting next week but cut it in September, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool, which forecasts rate movements based on fed funds futures trading data. 

Rate cuts are growing more likely as PCE inflation edges closer to the 2% mark. Fed Chair Jerome Powell made clear the central bank plans to make cuts before inflation actually falls to the central bank’s goal. 

Powell and other Fed decision-makers especially watch so-called core inflation, which excludes the often-volatile prices for food and energy. Core PCE inflation rose 2.6% over the year in May, and forecasters expect that to fall to a 2.5% annual increase as well. 

Forecasters are looking for core inflation to cool because housing costs—the biggest contributor to overall inflation—are rising more slowly than they have over the past few years. Crucially, rent rose only modestly in June, which helped ease the overall inflation rate in the CPI report earlier this month.

“The downshift in rents back to a pre-pandemic pace is likely to give Fed officials increased confidence that inflation is on a sustainable path back to 2%,” economists at Deutsche Bank wrote in a research note. 

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Tesla Stock Jumps Ahead Of Earnings, As Musk Says Humanoid Robot Will Come In 2025
~1.3 mins read

Tesla (TSLA) shares gained over 5% Monday, ahead of the electric vehicle (EV) maker's earnings report Tuesday, as CEO Elon Musk said the company will have humanoid robots in production for internal use in 2025.

"Tesla will have genuinely useful humanoid robots in low production for Tesla internal use next year and, hopefully, high production for other companies in 2026," Musk said in an X post Monday.

The CEO has previously said that Tesla's humanoid robot Optimus does "simple factory tasks" in the lab, could be expected to be in Tesla's factory by the end of 2024, and may be ready for external sale by the end of 2025. However, the company has a history of delaying projects past ambitious deadlines announced by Musk, including the upcoming robotaxi launch.

Last week, Musk said Tesla's robotaxi event would be postponed from its original date on Aug. 8 due to a design change he requested, and suggested the extra time would allow Tesla to "show off a few other things" at the event. A new date for the event has not been set yet.

Analysts suggested the robotaxi event's delay could raise the likelihood of Tesla revealing more new products and features when the event happens. The EV maker could also provide investors more information about its plans during its earnings call Tuesday.

Tesla shares closed 5.2% higher at $251.51 Monday, and have gained about 1.2% since the start of the year.

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Once An Advocate Of Higher Rates, Powell Now Looks Like A ‘Dove’
~2.3 mins read

Is Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell becoming a dove?

Powell has historically leaned in favor of higher interest rates, according to a recent review by Deutsche Bank. However, he now could be spearheading the charge to lower rates faster than some of his Federal Reserve colleagues would advocate for, the analysis showed.

In terms of economics, “doves” tend to favor lower interest rates, while “hawks” generally press for interest rates to be higher. 

From 2012 to 2013 and 2016 through 2018, then-Federal Reserve Gov. Powell mostly stuck to the center of Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) member projections, Deutsche Bank said. When he did deviate, Powell tended to vote for higher rates.

“Some of this skew appears to be motivated by Powell's economic forecasts, which tended to be more optimistic on growth and the labor market and near the median on inflation,” said the note authored by a team led by economists Matthew Luzzetti and Amy Yang.

While current voting records are anonymous—including the projections on the “dot plot”—the Deutsche Bank review sought to match the current dots with FOMC members based on their public comments.

According to their estimation, Powell’s votes line up with the bottom tier of interest rate projections. His current views are similar to Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee, San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly, and other “doves” who have said weaker labor conditions may require the Fed to act more quickly to lower interest rates.

“We put substantial weight on Powell's recent comments, which clearly skew in a dovish direction relative to many of his colleagues,” the analysis said. 

Powell’s interest rate projections were about half a percentage point lower than the “hawks,” including Federal Reserve Gov. Michelle Bowman and Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester.

The review noted when Powell was pressing for higher rates, it was in different economic conditions, before the pandemic and amidst strong growth. Powell’s position change showed he can stay ahead of the curve, the note said. 

“Powell's flexibility to be above the median during a hiking cycle and below the median as the Fed prepares to cut rates likely reflects him taking leadership to lead the Committee toward the appropriate direction of travel,” the note said. 

The review comes ahead of the FOMC meeting at the end of July, where officials are expected to keep interest rates unchanged, though some economists have pressed for a rate cut. The Fed is widely expected to start cutting its benchmark rate, which is at a 23-year high, before the end of the year as data shows economic activity slowing and inflation moderating.

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The $5 McDonald's Value Meal Deal Is Sticking Around For Awhile
~1.1 mins read

McDonald’s (MCD) will extend its $5 value meal promotion longer than anticipated because of solid demand, according to reports.

reported the deal — for a sandwich, drink, french fries and chicken nuggets — was supposed to run for four weeks from its June 25 launch, but some locations will keep it into August. It cited an internal memo saying that 93% of McDonald’s restaurants have agreed to an extension.

Shares of McDonald's were recently up about 0.5%, trailing the S&P 500's advance. The news comes as several fast-food companies have offered deals meant to give customers relief from inflation. McDonald’s and other chains have struggled as high inflation has reduced discretionary spending and cut into sales.

The news organization said the memo, by Chief Marketing Officer Tariq Hassan and National Field President Myra Doria, said that the early performance of the promotion “is meeting the objective of driving guests back to our restaurants.”

When McDonald's customers are buying their $5 means, the memo said, “they aren’t visiting the competition," according to a CNBC report. McDonald's did not immediately respond to Investopedia's request for comment.

McDonald's shares have fallen a bit more than 12% this year.

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N6.2 Trillion Supplementary Budget Will Be Used To Pay Minimum Wage, Others — FG
~1.0 mins read

The Federal Government has said the proposed N6.2 trillion supplementary budgetary will be used to pay the new minimum wage.

Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Atiku Bagudu disclosed this while addressing the House of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriation in Abuja on Monday, July 22.

He said that the funds would be spent on stimulating the economy through the implementation of various infrastructural projects.

He said the N3.2 trillion capital component of the supplementary budget is meant as addition funding for priority projects in road, rail, water, irrigation and dam projects in the 2024 fiscal year.

According to him, the proposed ‘Renewed Hope Infrastructural Fund’ was intended to provide equity contributions or counterpart contributions of the federal government projects designated as priority projects as well as critical projects which needed more appropriation so that they will not suffer neglect.

He disclosed that the N3 trillion was to also among other things take care of newly proposed national minimum wage, for which Mr. President said he will soon send the bill to the National Assembly and subsequent adjustment.

He said that there would be funding for rolling stock that is required, adding that this would gulp the sum of N530 billion as requested for the five rail projects.

He assured that the projects encapsulated in the amendment to the 2024 Appropriation Bill would not limit the revenue available for the implementation of the 2024 Appropriation Act.

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“People In NNPC Don’t Want Subsidy Sc@m To End,” Emir Of Kano, Sanusi
~1.5 mins read

The 16th Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, has said that the people in the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) ‘do not want to end their lucrative subsidy sc@m.’

The Emir said this while commenting on the ongoing issue surrounding the Dangote refinery.

Speaking on the argument by NNPC that relying on one refinery is bad for our energy security, Muhammadu Sanusi II said: “This is most laughable. On the contrary, relying on a local refinery is far more secure than these imports.

It is a very rich argument from an entity that had taken billions of dollars in the name of turnaround maintenance and not produced a drop of product from four refineries because it is more profitable to continue extracting rent in the name of subsidy. If NNPC activated its refineries, there would be no monopoly. Then, we can see the sulphur content of its products and compare them to Dangote’s.”

Until then, keeping quiet is the honourable option for it, NNPC and its spinoffs have lost any right to talk until they fix the m£ss they have thrown us into.

In any case, if the Dangote refinery is unable to meet local demand, the gap can be filled by imports, these people in NNPC do not want to end their lucrative subsidy scam, and I don’t think they will end it.

But as a nation, if we do not thank Dangote for what he has done as an African to deal a hammer blow to multinationals and the rentier system and for structural change in this economy through value added in various sectors, we should not condemn him.

Also, we tend to repeat stories without evidence. We hear about Dangote getting favourable taxation but no one has said what this tax is, if he got it alone or if it was offered to a sector or to pioneers, and if such a practice is in fact normal to encourage investment.”

Instead of k+lling Dangote, we should try and make more like him. Nigeria always k+lls its heroes and its best because of envy and pettiness.”

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