US FINANCIAL MARKET
Nasdaq 100 Slumps as Netflix Dulls Tech Shine: Markets Wrap – Bloomberg, 7/20/2023
- US equities and Treasuries fell Thursday as investors digested a round of disappointing tech earnings and a spike in commodity prices including wheat.
- The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 fell 0.6%, with Netflix set for its biggest intraday decline since December after missing sales estimates and issuing a disappointing revenue forecast.
- The S&P 500 fell 0.2%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3%.
- Tesla slid after profitability shrank in the second quarter, a sign the electric-vehicle maker’s margins are being squeezed.
- Meanwhile, the yield on the US 10-year rose six basis points as traders weighed the potential for agricultural commodities to drive inflation higher.
- Wheat prices extended their biggest daily surge in a decade on Wednesday after Russia warned that any ships to Ukraine would be considered military vessels.
- Traders were hitting the pause button on a blistering rally Thursday that has seen the Nasdaq soar 45% this year, outpacing the S&P 500’s 19% rise, on excitement about the potential for artificial intelligence.
- On the flip side, a rare streak of muted declines for the S&P 500 suggests stocks have room to run.
- And while tech was the catalyst, the rally is starting to embrace a broader group of companies.
- In Europe, tech stocks including ASML Holding slumped after Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing cut its outlook despite the boom in AI development.
- That was offset by Anglo American’s second-quarter beat which put the main equity gauge back into the green.
- Elsewhere, the offshore yuan advanced 0.7% against the dollar and was the best performing currency in Asia after the People’s Bank of China stepped in Thursday, setting its daily fixing of the yuan with the largest bias since November.
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries advanced six basis points to 3.81%.
- West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.9% to $76.04 a barrel.
- Gold futures were little changed.
Netflix Set for Biggest Drop This Year After Outlook Disappoints – Bloomberg, 7/20/2023
- Netflix shares are poised for their biggest drop this year after projecting third-quarter revenue that fell short of Wall Street estimates, suggesting a crackdown on password sharing and a new advertising tier aren’t yet delivering the sales growth analysts anticipated.
- While Netflix grew its subscriber base by 8%, sales rose just 2.7% to $8.19 billion, coming in slightly below analysts’ projections.
- That was due in part to foreign exchange rates and to price cuts in some markets.
- Netflix also generated less revenue per customer in the most recent quarter.
- Netflix added 5.89 million customers in the second period, more than doubling Wall Street estimates, and finished the quarter with 238.4 million members.
- Second-quarter earnings of $3.29 a share beat the $2.85 a share average analyst estimate, according to a Bloomberg survey.
- The company expects sales of $8.52 billion in the third quarter, compared with the $8.67 billion average of Wall Street estimates.
- Netflix said that sales growth will accelerate in the months ahead, with third-quarter growth projected at 7.5%.
- Earlier Wednesday, Netflix also eliminated the lowest-priced ad-free plan, pushing consumers toward a lower-priced, ad-backed service or a costlier commercial-free plan.
- Netflix raised its 2023 forecast for free cash flow to $5 billion, from at least $3.5 billion previously, as a result of a strike by writers and actors, which has shuttered production and cut spending.
- However, free cash flow will take a hit next year when productions get back up and running.
Tesla Sinks as Musk Warns of More Blows to Profitability – Bloomberg, 7/20/2023
- Tesla shares fell after the carmaker warned of more hits to its already-shrinking profitability.
- Revenue rose 47% to $24.9 billion, better than the consensus expectation for $24.5 billion.
- Automotive gross margin excluding credits slipped further to 18.1% last quarter, the lowest since the second quarter of 2019.
- The carmaker’s profit, excluding some items, came to 91 cents a share, more than the 81 cents that analysts estimated.
- The Austin-based company said it now has 16 days’ worth of supply globally, up from 15 days last quarter and just four days a year ago.
- Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said Tesla will have to keep lowering the prices of its electric vehicles if interest rates continue to rise.
- While Tesla remains on track to produce around 1.8 million vehicles in 2023, output will dip this quarter due to factory upgrades.
- The CEO said Tesla is in early discussions about licensing its system to a major manufacturer that he didn’t name.
American Airlines Raises Profit Outlook as Demand for Trips Abroad Heats Up – Wall Street Journal, 7/20/2023
- American Airlines said travel demand gained speed as people splurged on summer vacations, especially trips abroad.
- The company, based in Fort Worth, Texas, on Thursday reported sales of $14.1 billion, up almost 5% from a year ago and above the $13.7 billion that analysts were expecting.
- The company cited noticeable strength in long-haul international flights and said demand was particularly strong in June.
- Passenger revenue from international flights jumped 22% in the quarter, while rising less than 1% for domestic flights.
- Adjusted earnings of $1.92 a share topped analysts’ expectations of $1.59 a share.
- Citing demand trends and lower fuel costs, American Airlines raised its full-year adjusted profit outlook to a range of $3.00 a share to $3.75 a share, up from $2.50 a share to $3.50 a share.
Johnson & Johnson beats on earnings, hikes full-year guidance as medtech sales surge – CNBC, 7/20/2023
- Johnson & Johnson on Thursday reported second-quarter revenue and adjusted earnings that topped Wall Street’s expectations, and lifted its full-year guidance as sales from the company’s medtech business jumped.
- Revenue: $25.53 billion, vs. $24.62 billion expected
- Sales for the company’s medical devices business rose to $7.79 billion, up 12.9% from the second quarter of 2022.
- J&J reported $13.73 billion in pharmaceutical sales, which grew more than 3% year over year.
- Excluding sales of its unpopular Covid vaccine, the pharmaceutical division raked in $13.45 billion.
- J&J said the consumer health business raked in $4.01 billion in sales for the quarter, up 5.4% from the same period a year ago.
- Earnings per share: $2.80 adjusted, vs. $2.62 expected
- J&J is now forecasting full-year sales of $98.80 billion to $99.80 billion, about $1 billion higher than the guidance provided in April.
- The company raised its 2023 adjusted earnings outlook to $10.70 to $10.80 per share, from a previous forecast of $10.60 to $10.70 per share.
Discover stock falls more than 13% after company discloses FDIC probe – Market Watch, 7/20/2023
- Discover Financial Services’ stock fell more than 13% in the after-hours trading Wednesday after the company reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings but disclosed a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. probe.
- Revenue rose 21% to $3.9 billion, which matched expectations from analysts polled by FactSet.
- Discovery earned $901 million, or $3.54 a share, in the second quarter, compared with $1.1 billion, or $3.93 a share, in the year-ago quarter.
- The analysts expected the financial services company to report EPS of $3.67.
- The company said that beginning around mid-2007 it “incorrectly” classified certain credit-card accounts into the highest merchant pricing tiers, which affected pricing for certain businesses but not cardholders.
- The mistake was not material to financial statements, but it has been corrected, it said.
- Discover calculated a liability of $365 million to provide refunds to merchants as a result of the misclassification.
United posts record earnings and forecasts strong profits for bustling summer quarter – CNBC, 7/20/2023
- United Airlines on Wednesday posted record quarterly earnings and forecast a strong third quarter due to an unrelenting travel boom, led by a return of international travel.
- Total revenue: $14.18 billion marked a 17% increase year over year vs. an expected $13.91 billion
- Meanwhile, revenue per available seat mile dropped 0.4% from a year earlier.
- Capacity was up 17.5% from the second quarter of 2022, a percentage point below what United planned to fly, before the Newark disruptions.
- Adjusted earnings per share: $5.03 vs. an expected $4.03
- Still, United expects to grow capacity in the three months ending Sept. 30 about 16% over last year and with estimated revenue growth of as much as 13% during the same period in 2022.
- United expects to post adjusted earnings per share of between $3.85 and $4.35 for the third quarter, far above analysts’ estimates of $3.70 a share, according to Refinitiv.
- Separately over the weekend, United and its pilots’ union said they reached a preliminary labor deal that would give pilots raises of as much as 40% over four years, a deal that comes after years of talks.
IBM reports earnings beat, but misses on revenue – CNBC, 7/20/2023
- IBM reported second-quarter earnings Wednesday that topped analysts’ estimates as the company expanded its gross margin. Revenue missed consensus estimates.
- Revenue: $15.48 billion, versus $15.58 billion expected, according to Refinitiv.
- IBM’s largest division, its software segment, reported $6.6 billion in sales, which was up over 7% from a year ago.
- IBM’s consulting segment grew over 4% on an annual basis to $5 billion in sales.
- The company’s infrastructure division, which includes its mainframe sales, declined 14.6% to $3.6 billion in revenue.
- The drop was driven by lower revenue from its Z Systems servers, which were down 30%.
- IBM’s adjusted gross margin of 55.9% was higher than the StreetAccount estimate of 54.7%.
- Earnings: $2.18, adjusted, versus $2.01 per share expected, according to Refinitiv.
- IBM reiterated Wednesday that it expects between 3% and 5% revenue growth through the end of the year in constant currency.
- The company forecasts about $10.5 billion in free cash flow in 2023.
Equifax blames weak mortgage market for reduced earnings outlook, stock falls – Market Watch, 7/20/2023
- Equifax called out a weaker mortgage market Wednesday as it trimmed its outlook for the full year.
- Revenue for the second quarter came in nearly flat at $1.32 billion, whereas analysts had been calling for $1.33 billion.
- Adjusted earnings per share fell to $1.71 from $2.09, while analysts were modeling $1.68 a share.
- The credit-reporting company now expects $5.27 billion to $5.33 billion in full-year revenue, whereas its prior forecast was for $5.275 billion to $5.375 billion.
- Equifax now is calling for $6.85 a share to $7.10 a share in adjusted earnings, down from its previous guidance of $7.05 a share to $7.35 a share.
Abbott Labs’ stock up 1.6% premarket after earnings fall but still top analyst estimates – Market Watch, 7/20/2023
- Abbott Laboratories’ stock rose 1.6% in premarket trade Thursday, after the diagnostics and medical-device company posted earnings that were lower than a year ago but ahead of analyst estimates.
- Sales fell 11.4% to $9.978 billion, but were also ahead of the $9.972 billion FactSet consensus. Sales fell as COVID-19 testing -related sales were down from a year ago.
- Adjusted per-share earnings came to $1.08, ahead of the $1.05 FactSet consensus.
- The company is still expecting full-year adjusted EPS of $4.30 to $4.50.
- It expects full-year sales excluding COVID testing to grow by low double-digits and for COVID testing-related sales to come to about $1.3 billion.
Philip Morris Earnings Outlook Falls Short – Barron’s, 7/20/2023
- Philip Morris International posted higher-than-expected earnings for the quarter but its outlook for the year fell slightly short of projections.
- Revenue of $9 billion was also ahead of the $8.8 billion analysts projected.
- The maker of Marlboro cigarettes outside the U.S. delivered $1.60 per share in adjusted profit for the second quarter that ended around June.
- Analysts tracked by FactSet had penciled in $1.50 per share.
- The company projects adjusted earnings between $6.13 to $6.22 per share for the full year versus analysts’ estimate of $6.24.
- Currencies, based on present exchange rates, are estimated to be an 8% to 9.5% hit on the company’s earnings for the year.
Blackstone Reaches $1 Trillion in Assets Under Management – Wall Street Journal, 7/20/2023
- Private-equity giant Blackstone became the first among its peers to reach $1 trillion in assets under management.
- The New York firm, which set a goal in 2018 of crossing the $1 trillion mark by 2026, got there early thanks to a concerted push into lower-risk, lower-return strategies, such as insurance, infrastructure, credit and certain types of real estate.
- The areas have big growth potential and feature pools of money that don’t need to be replenished constantly.
- Blackstone said its assets climbed to $1 trillion in the second quarter from $991.3 billion at the end of the first quarter and $940.8 billion a year earlier.
- Inflows were $30.1 billion in the quarter, with insurance and credit, including real-estate credit, pushing it over the threshold.
- The firm’s net income rose to $601.3 million, or 79 cents a share, compared with a loss of $29.4 million, or 4 cents a share, a year earlier.
- Distributable earnings, which represent cash that could be handed back to shareholders, fell to $1.21 billion, or 93 cents a share, from $1.99 billion, or $1.49 a share, in the second quarter of last year.
Las Vegas Sands second-quarter revenue beats Wall Street estimates – Reuters, 7/20/2023
- Las Vegas Sands’s second-quarter revenue exceeded Wall Street estimates, benefiting from non-gaming programming in Macao as tourism rebounds from China’s loosening of its zero-COVID policy and mass gaming reaching another record in Singapore.
- The casino operator’s revenue rose to $2.5 billion in the second quarter from $1.05 billion a year earlier, which surpassed analysts’ average estimate of $2.39 billion.
- The company earned an adjusted 46 cents per share in the quarter, beating analysts’ average expectations for 43 cents per share, according to Refinitiv data.
- Las Vegas Sands resumed its dividend and will pay out 20 cents per common share, with the first dividend to be paid on Aug. 16.
Kinder Morgan second-quarter revenue misses on lower prices – Reuters, 7/20/2023
- Pipeline and terminal operator Kinder Morgan on Wednesday posted lower-than-expected second-quarter revenue, hurt by lower commodity prices.
- The Houston-based company said earnings from its products pipelines fell about 4.3% to $286 million, while earnings from the transportation of CO2 fell about 17.4% to $175 million, due to lower realized prices.
- Kinder Morgan’s revenue fell about 32% to $3.50 billion in the quarter, and missed estimates of $4.55 billion, according to Refinitiv data.
- On an adjusted basis, the company earned 24 cents per share, in line with estimates.
Truist Joins US Regional Banks Reporting Higher Deposit Costs – Bloomberg, 7/20/2023
- Truist Financial and two other US regional banks reported rising deposit costs as higher interest rates squeeze their profitability.
- At Charlotte, North Carolina-based Truist, second-quarter average deposits fell 2.1% from the prior three months, to $399.8 billion, the company said in a statement Thursday. The bank cited client tax payments as one factor.
- Cleveland’s KeyCorp and Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bancorp reported a similar pattern.
- Truist, the nation’s third-largest regional bank, said the average cost of total deposits increased 39 basis points to 1.51%, and expenses tied to both its long- and short-term borrowings also rose.
- Truist joined the ranks of lenders selling assets, unloading a $5 billion student loan portfolio that it described as “non-core” in late June.
- Proceeds from the sale went toward reducing wholesale funding, according to the bank.
- KeyCorp said average deposits dropped while the cost of those deposits rose.
- Fifth Third Bancorp’s interest expense increased to $913 million from $125 million in the second quarter a year earlier.
- Its period-end total deposits increased 1% to $164.13 billion from the first quarter.
Apollo to Launch Private Fund in Asset-Based Financing Buildout – Bloomberg, 7/20/2023
- Apollo Global Management is launching its first-ever fund dedicated to asset-based financing, laying the groundwork for what the firm is telling investors could be the largest vehicle of its kind in the market.
- The new fund marks a move by one of the world’s largest alternative asset managers to expand its more-than-$100 billion platform for asset-based financing by tapping external investors directly, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be named because the matter is private.
- The vehicle stands to climb to more than $5 billion in size, the person said.
- The company is meeting with several investors, and initial seed investments have already started to be made — with the number and size of deals expected to ramp up in August, according to the person.
- Investors will be able to enter and exit the evergreen fund at will, the person said.
- Eric Siegel, a former portfolio manager at Tilden Park Capital Management, joined Apollo this month as a managing director of the asset-based financing platform, according to a different person with knowledge of the matter.
- He previously worked as a managing director in structured products trading at Goldman Sachs.
Atlanta Braves Fans Can Now Own a Piece of the MLB Team – Bloomberg, 7/20/2023
- Fans of Major League Baseball can now own a stake in the Atlanta Braves after the franchise became the league’s only publicly-traded team.
- The MLB’s best team was worth roughly $2.74 billion when Atlanta Braves Holdings began trading as a common stock on Wednesday, based on roughly 61.7 million shares spread across three share classes, according to a company filing.
- The team’s debut wasn’t greeted with much investor fanfare as Class A shares — under the ticker BATRA — popped as high as $54.94 before tumbling 15%.
- The formal split from Liberty Media is expected to unlock value for investors and could open the door for a more seamless sale of the team.
- Seaport analyst David Joyce estimated the Braves are worth between $3.1 billion and $3.7 billion earlier this month, highlighting the increase in interest from investor groups and private equity to invest in professional sports teams.
US ECONOMY & POLITICS
US Applications for Jobless Benefits Fall to Two-Month Low – Bloomberg, 7/20/2023
- US applications for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level in two months, suggesting resilient demand for workers amid a moderation in job gains.
- Initial jobless claims fell by 9,000 to 228,000 in the week ended July 15, according to Labor Department data published Thursday.
- The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for 240,000 new claims.
- Continuing claims, which count those who have received unemployment benefits for more than one week, rose by 33,000 to 1.75 million in the week through July 8.
- That marked the largest increase in more than three months.
- The four-week moving average of initial claims fell to a six-week low of 237,500.
- On an unadjusted basis, claims were little changed in the week ended July 15.
- Applications increased in California, Georgia and South Carolina. Many other states, including Michigan and Kentucky, saw declines.
Home Sales Fall as Would-Be Buyers Face High Rates, Low Supply – Wall Street Journal, 7/20/2023
- Sales of previously owned homes fell in June as higher mortgage rates and a shortage of available properties frustrated buyers.
- Existing home sales, which make up most of the housing market, decreased 3.3% in June from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.16 million, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday.
- Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal ahead of the release had estimated that sales of previously owned homes fell 2.3% in June from the prior month.
- June sales fell 18.9% from a year earlier.
- The national median existing-home price fell 0.9% in June from a year earlier to $410,200, the second-highest level on record in data going back to 1999, NAR said.
Heat Index Over 105F Bakes US From Coast to Coast: Weather Watch – Bloomberg, 7/20/2023
- The US continues to bake.
- Nearly a quarter of the population, or 80 million people, will experience actual temperatures or a heat index of 105F degrees through the weekend, the National Weather Service said.
- Heat advisories and excessive heat warnings stretch from California’s Central Valley to Miami.
- Phoenix – the fifth largest city in the US – extended its record streak of days above 110F to 20 on Wednesday with a high of 119, or the hottest it has been there since 2017, Isaac Smith, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said.
- Some other temperatures around the US: Fresno should reach 104F; Sacramento, 103F; Dallas, 104F with a heat index of 110; Houston, 100F with a heat index of 107; Little Rock and New Orleans, 99F with a heat index of 109; and Miami, 93 with a heat index of 108.
- Europe: Extreme heat across the Mediterranean is expected to build into the weekend, testing records in fire-ravaged Greece after easing slightly on Thursday.
Fed Wants Paychecks to Hit Bank Accounts in a Flash – Wall Street Journal, 7/20/2023
- The Federal Reserve hopes a new, faster-payments system will let U.S. bank customers send and receive money almost instantly, but it could be years before the speedier network gains widespread traction.
- The Fed this week is expected to launch its long-awaited FedNow system, which is intended to allow bill payments, paychecks and other common consumer or business transfers to be available quickly and around the clock, officials said.
- That is a change from the existing, slower system that is closed on weekends and can at times take several days before consumers can access their funds.
- The Fed’s system will compete with a real-time payments network built and launched by big banks in 2017, which processes a much smaller volume of payments.
- While FedNow would theoretically give consumers access to their money immediately, only 57 out of thousands of banks and financial institutions are participating from the start, the Fed said in June.
- Officials have said it could take a couple of years before the system gains more-widespread adoption and its capabilities are more fleshed out.
Car Thefts Soared as Violent Crime Dropped in First Six Months of Year – Wall Street Journal, 7/20/2023
- Auto theft is skyrocketing, while violent crime that gripped the nation during the pandemic is receding, according to a new report that includes data from 37 large U.S. cities in the first six months of the year.
- Motor vehicle thefts rose 33.5% in 32 of those cities during the first six months of the year from the same period last year, according to the Council on Criminal Justice, a think tank.
- “The year-to-year increase is due to the fact of how easy the Kias and Hyundais are to steal,” said Sgt. Garrett Parten of the Minneapolis Police Department, where motor vehicle theft is up 68% this year.
- Parten said that thefts of all other makes of automobiles have remained relatively flat.
- Killings are down 22% in Los Angeles, 11% in New York City and 7% in Chicago so far this year.
- But even with the drop, homicides were still 24% higher than in the first six months of 2019, before the pandemic
Hunter Biden Tax Probe Hampered by Justice Department, IRS Employees Say – Wall Street Journal, 7/20/2023
- Two IRS employees described what they said were efforts by the Justice Department to impede the criminal investigation into Hunter Biden’s taxes in testimony Wednesday before the House Oversight Committee.
- “Assigned prosecutors did not appear to follow the normal investigative process throughout the investigation, putting into place unnecessary approvals and roadblocks,” said Special Agent Joseph Ziegler, who said he had played a central role in the tax probe of President Biden’s son.
- Ziegler was identified at the hearing for the first time as one of two Internal Revenue Service employees who have been interviewed by the committee behind closed doors in recent months on the Hunter Biden probe.
- Weiss has told lawmakers in writing that he was given broad latitude and had “never been denied the authority to bring charges in any jurisdiction.”
- Democrats have defended the Bidens and accused Republicans of trying to tarnish the president ahead of his bid to win re-election in 2024.
- On the Hill Wednesday, Ziegler and Supervisory Special Agent Gary Shapley detailed what they viewed as irregularities, including delayed warrants and instructions to investigators to avoid certain topics.
EUROPE & WORLD
TSMC Cuts 2023 Outlook Ahead of Delay to Marquee US Project – Bloomberg, 7/20/2023
- Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing cut its annual outlook for revenue and postponed the start of production at its signature Arizona project to 2025, twin setbacks for a chipmaking linchpin struggling with geopolitical tensions and a deep market slump.
- It reported a 23% slide in net income to NT$181.8 billion ($5.85 billion).
- TSMC projected sales of $16.7 billion to $17.5 billion this quarter, weaker versus expectations.
- The main chipmaker for Apple and Nvidia projected a 10% fall in sales this year, versus previous guidance for a single-digit decline.
- TSMC’s surprise cut in 2023 revenue projections sent a warning to investors that the global electronics slump may persist for some time despite a boom in AI development.
- It is investing $40 billion to create two fabs in Arizona and constructing a $8.6 billion facility in Japan with financial support from the government.
- And the company reaffirmed that 2023 capital expenditure should come in toward the lower end of a previously forecast range of $32 billion to $36 billion.
ABB 2Q Net Profit More Than Doubled Despite Decline in Orders – Wall Street Journal, 7/20/2023
- ABB on Thursday reported a surge in second-quarter net profit despite a decline in new orders.
- The Swiss industrial company said second-quarter net income more than doubled to $906 million from $379 million in the prior year, on revenue that grew 13% to $8.16 billion.
- Orders for the three-month period fell 2% to $8.67 billion, reflecting a softening from the prior year’s high order level, the company said.
- ABB said revenue growth was supported by the execution of its backlog and that its earnings were helped by pricing, which more than offset inflation effects.
- ABB’s closely-monitored operational earnings before interest, taxes, and amortization rose 25% on year to $1.42 billion, the company said.
- For the third quarter, it anticipates low double-digit comparable revenue growth and for its operational EBITA margin to be slightly above the 16.6% achieved in the prior-year 3Q period.
- For 2023, ABB said it anticipates comparable revenue growth of at least 10% and an operational EBITA margin above 16%.
Wheat Soars as Ukraine and Russia Threaten Ships, Roiling Trade – Bloomberg, 7/20/2023
- Wheat prices continued to soar as threats surrounding grains trade in the Black Sea escalated, with both Ukraine and Russia warning that ships headed to each other’s ports could be considered military targets.
- Ukraine issued a tit-for-tat response to an earlier warning from Moscow, after US intelligence alerted that Russia had laid explosives at Ukrainian ports.
- The Black Sea is a key exit route for agricultural commodities from both countries, and the threats raise the risk of global food trade facing mounting obstacles and pushing up prices.
- Wheat futures have surged over 11% in the past three days, with Russia earlier this week ending the Ukraine grain deal.
Ukraine Warns Ships Heading to Russia Ports Risk Attack – Bloomberg, 7/20/2023
- Ukraine said any ships heading to Russian ports may be military targets, in a tit-for-tat response to a threat from Moscow that escalates the risk to global food markets from the war.
- Since Moscow halted the Black Sea agreement that allowed Ukraine to export part of its large grain harvests via safe-passage corridors, Russia has attacked Ukrainian grain storage facilities and warned that all vessels heading to Ukrainian ports would be considered potential carriers of military hardware starting on Thursday.
- Wheat prices soared on Wednesday, jumping further when the Defense Ministry in Kyiv said any ships heading to ports in Russia and Ukrainian areas occupied by Moscow’s troops were also legitimate targets.
- Russia’s defense capabilities in the northern Black Sea and the Sea of Azov are considerable.
- They include a fleet of warships, including missile cruisers and radar designed to provide a protective umbrella against attack from the air, as well as the large military base on Crimea at Sevastopol.
- Colombia declared independence from Spain. – 1810
- King Abdullah I of Jordan was assassinated. – 1951
- Sirima Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) became the world’s first woman prime minister. – 1960
- Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong was the first man to walk on the Moon. – 1969
- Treasure hunters found the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Atocha, which sank off the coast of Key West, Fla., in 1622 during a hurricane. The ship contained over $400 million in coins and silver ingots. – 1985