Oil ticks lower after weak China data underlines demand worries. China’s National Bureau of Statistics said that retail sales fell 11.1% on year in April, widening from a drop of 3.5% in March. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had looked for a 5.4% decline. Concerns around China and its consumption levels have served as a partial counterweight to supply worries that have been amplified by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Read more here.
Wheat prices surge to the highest in more than 2 months following India’s ban on exports. The Asian country announced an immediate ban on wheat exports, blaming a spike in global prices for threatening the security of the vital commodity to itself and other neighboring and vulnerable countries. The fact that a big country scrambles to secure food supply left the market anxious with wheat prices up around 5%.
Saudi Aramco posts record quarterly profit on surging oil prices. Its quarterly profit swelled to $39.5 billion in the quarter. Its net income rose more than 80% to record highs in the first quarter of the year, a surge that shows how some of the world’s biggest state-owned energy producers are benefitting from a price boom accelerated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Read more here.
The co-founders of DeepMind and LinkedIn have raised $225 million for their A.I. lab. The funding has been raised at an undisclosed valuation and it’s not clear who the investors are at this stage. It’s likely that a large chunk of the funding will be used to hire AI experts that can command high salaries. The company, founded earlier this year, wants to develop AI software products that make it easier for humans to communicate with computers. Read more here.
Carlyle buys US government contractor ManTech for $3.9 billion. Carlyle has offered $96 per ManTech share held, representing a 17% premium to the stock's closing on Friday. Carlyle will benefit from ManTech's large exposure to intelligence customers and to the cybersecurity sector. Fairfax, Virginia-based ManTech performs defense and non-defense contracting services for the intelligence community, the Pentagon, and other government agencies.
Uber’s big new update lets you book party buses and passenger vans. The features announced during its Go/Get virtual event, include a new option that lets you book a bus or passenger van. A trip itinerary feature to help book rides throughout an extended trip, like a vacation, from one place to another. Voice ordering. An electric vehicle hub for drivers. Uber has been working toward becoming a “super app”. Read more here.
Google demonstrates live-translation glasses. The glasses use augmented reality and artificial intelligence to see someone speaking to you, hear what they're saying, translate it and display the translation live on the embedded, translucent screens built into the eyeglass frames. The prototype lenses use Google's advancements in translation and transcription to deliver translated words in your line of sight. Read more here.
WHAT TO WATCH
McDonald’s to exit from Russia after three decades. The company said it would pursue the sale of its entire portfolio of restaurants in Russia to a local buyer. The company said it expected to record an accounting charge of between $1.2 billion and $1.4 billion in connection with the move and recognize a significant foreign currency translation loss.
Rising gas prices may endanger the petro-dollar standard. If the price of gas is really going to go up another 33%, companies will likely be forced to adapt and allow more work from home than they wanted. While prices going up is bad for the middle class(as gas prices go up it means the cost of food goes up), if the petro-dollar setup implodes it’s going to give the US dollar reserve currency a massive uppercut. Read more here.
Sweden and Finland to make Nato applications on ‘historic’ day for Nordics. Sweden broke a 200-year policy of military neutrality. This would be one of the most far-reaching consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But the move is opposed by one of the Nato members. Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan doesn’t want Sweden and Finland to join. Source(1:36)
Goldman Sachs says a new investment cycle is coming. Goldman's strategists said that we are entering a new ‘postmodern’ cycle in which inflation is a bigger risk than deflation. We are also likely to see greater regionalization, more expensive labor and commodities, and larger and more active governments. This will be reflected through higher inflation and greater government spending. Read more here.
JetBlue launches a hostile takeover of Spirit Airlines after rejection. JetBlue said in a statement on Monday that given the Spirit Board of Directors’ complete unwillingness to share the same necessary diligence information that was shared with Frontier, JetBlue is now offering to acquire Spirit for $30 per share in cash through a fully financed tender offer.