5.5.2022

Rate Hike, Northern Ireland Elections, and the Clash Before the Crash Everything you need to know for the day in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Thursday, May 5, and we're covering a hike in interest rates, a potentially historic election in Northern Ireland, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].

NEED TO KNOW

 

Heavy Fighting in Mariupol 

The last Ukrainian defenders guarding the Azovstal steel plant in the southern city of Mariupol continue to face heavy fighting from Russian troops, which attempted to storm the plant. The massive mill covers roughly 4 square miles and is believed to be the last major pocket of Ukrainian resistance in the besieged port city. Mariupol has been under attack since the start of Russia's invasion. 

 

Meanwhile, new reports suggest at least 600 people are presumed dead from airstrikes hitting a Mariupol theater in March. Officials had estimated 300. The total number of civilians killed during the fighting in Mariupol has been estimated to be more than 10,000, though a figure has not been confirmed.

 

Separately, the European Union's top official proposed having EU nations phase out Russian imports of crude oil within six months and refined products by the end of 2022. The proposal would need approval from all 27 members of the bloc. About 25% of the EU's oil supplies come from Russia. 

 

See updates on the invasion here.

Largest Rate Hike Since 2000

The Federal Reserve increased interest rates again for the second time since 2018 in an effort to curb inflation that has hit a 40-year high. Rates will rise by 0.5 percentage points, the central bank announced yesterday after a two-day policy meeting, raising the target range from 0.25%-0.50% to 0.75%-1%. It is the largest rate hike since 2000 (see history) and the second of seven increases expected this year.

 

The Federal Reserve typically targets annual inflation near 2% (see why). In contrast, inflation reached an annual rate of 8.5% in March, fueled by post-pandemic spending and government stimulus. Policymakers are trying to slow down the economy by increasing the interest rate, which banks pass on to consumers, who then need to pay more to borrow money for mortgages, car loans, credit cards, and more. Costlier borrowing could prompt consumers to hold off on spending, bringing down prices.

 

The central bank also announced plans to reduce asset holdings on its $9T balance sheet, starting June 1 (see 101). 

Election Day in Northern Ireland

Voters in Northern Ireland head to the polls today, casting ballots in potentially historic nationwide elections. The country's Irish nationalist Sinn Féin party appears set to become the largest member of the country's 90-member parliament. It would mark the first time in more than 100 years the leading party was not a pro-British faction.

 

Created in 1920, the largely Protestant Northern Ireland is still considered part of the United Kingdom. The mostly Catholic Republic of Ireland—commonly referred to as simply "Ireland"—is a sovereign nation and comprises 80% of the island shared with its northern neighbor. The various fault lines have led to decades of tensions, including the turbulent period known as The Troubles. Sinn Féin has been associated with the Provisional Irish Republican Army, considered a terrorist organization by the UK. 

 

Public support for Sinn Féin has actually decreased slightly since 2017. Its current advantage came from the collapse of the opposing Democratic Unionist Party.

In partnership with The Motley Fool

THE INDUSTRY THAT ISN'T SLOWING

 

There are dozens of growing market trends right now, but do you know what all of the top companies are increasingly investing in? Cybersecurity. In fact, Gartner estimates that spending on it will total $172B in 2022, up from $155B in 2021 and $137B the year before.

In an increasingly connected and digital world, threats to companies and individuals are becoming commonplace, so experts anticipate IT professionals will increase their spending dramatically in the coming months—so now could be a good time to invest in some of the most promising cybersecurity companies. Enter The Motley Fool. They've curated a list of four top cybersecurity stocks to capitalize on this trend.

One stock has grown its revenue 23% annually over the past three years, and another works with clients like Goldman Sachs, Shutterstock, and Credit Suisse. Join The Motley Fool today for 50% off to access this timely report.

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IN THE KNOW

 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Dolly Parton, Eminem, and Carly Simon headline 2022 class of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; Parton was selected despite declining nomination in March (More)

 

> Dave Chappelle attacked while performing in Los Angeles; attacker charged with assault with a deadly weapon after being detained backstage (More)

 

> Real Madrid advances to Champions League final after last-minute comeback in extra time against Manchester City; will face off against Liverpool May 28 (More) | Diego Maradona's "Hand of God" jersey from 1986 World Cup sells for $9M at auction, a record for a match-worn jersey (More)

Science & Technology

> Stanford University receives a $1.1B gift from venture capitalist John Doerr to establish a new school focused on climate and sustainability (More)

 

> Scientists demonstrate single electrons on the surface of frozen neon gas for use as qubits in quantum computing; see video explainer here (More)

 

> Largest-known cave art from early Native Americans in North America found in northern Alabama (More) | See a 3D model of the cave (Watch)

Business & Markets

In partnership with The Ascent

> US stock markets up (S&P 500 +3.0%, Dow +2.8%, Nasdaq +3.2%) after Fed decision to raise interest rates 0.5% (More)

 

> Intuit agrees to pay $141M to over 4 million customers charged for company’s TurboTax Free Edition; company must suspend using the word “free” in certain advertising (More)

 

> Uber doubles quarterly revenues over last year as rider demand rebounds, but higher costs lead stock down 5% (More) | Facebook to reduce pace of hiring amid revenue slowdown and increasing costs (More

From our partners: The Ascent's credit card expert couldn't resist this card. He signed up for it, and thinks it's the best way to achieve a one card wallet. Big sign-up bonus, up to 5% cash back, no annual fee, and the list goes on.

Politics & World Affairs

> Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) signs fetal heartbeat bill, banning abortions after around six weeks of pregnancy (More) | What's next in probe into leak of draft Supreme Court opinion (More) | Abortion laws by state (More)

 

> Federal judge accepts 20- to 25-year plea deal in the civil rights case against former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd; sentence adds to 22-and-a-half-year criminal sentence (More)

 

> Water officials withhold 480,000 acre-feet of water planned for release from Lake Powell as yearslong severe drought continues; the Colorado River reservoir is at its lowest levels on record (More)

IN-DEPTH

 

How Not to Invade a Nation

Foreign Affairs | Frederick W. Kagan, Mason Clark. How Russia's invasion of Ukraine has become a case study in hubris and poor strategic planning. (Read)

The Clash Before the Crash

Hollywood Reporter | Kim Masters. A fascinating look at the infighting inside streaming giant Netflix that precipitated its current downturn. (Read)

TODAY'S BIGGEST TRENDS

 

In partnership with The Motley Fool

Companies shifting to remote online workforces, online medical records, credit card databases, international cyberattacks. What do they have in common? The increasing importance of cybersecurity.

The Motley Fool believes the cybersecurity industry can encompass much of the growth found in today's biggest market trends. And they've picked out four stocks they believe will help you best capitalize on the industry's growth. How can you read it? New members can sign up for The Motley Fool and take 50% off while you're at it

Please support our sponsors!

ETCETERA

 

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with the best margarita in your state.

 

A primer on the promposal.

 

Could the next skyscraper be made of mushrooms?

 

Spend the night inside the iconic Moulin Rouge windmill.

 

USPS unveils new Forever Stamp honoring the “Shark Lady.”

 

A toy video game controller turned into a working gamepad.

 

Roku releases the teaser trailer for “WEIRD: The Al Yankovic Story.” 

 

Washington, DC, claims the top spot in the country for its parks.

 

Clickbait: In Shanghai, what a time to be alive.

 

Historybook: Napoleon Bonaparte dies while in exile (1821); Cinco de Mayo commemorates Mexican victory in the Battle of Puebla (1862); Alan Shepard becomes first American in outer space (1961); HBD singer-songwriter Adele (1988).

 

"I realized up there that our planet is not infinite. It's fragile."

- Alan Shepard

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