Daily Market Report 09-21-2023

Daily Market Report

As of 11:00 A.M. EST


S&P 500 Breaches 4,400 Level Amid Post-Fed Slide: Markets Wrap – Bloomberg, 9/21/2023

  • Stocks fell, while Treasury 10-year yields rose alongside the dollar after the latest reading on the labor market reinforced the case for the Federal Reserve’s higher-for-longer stance.
  • The S&P 500 breached its 4,400 mark, dropping about 1%. The Nasdaq 100 fell 1.3%.
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.6%.
  • Cisco Systems slipped after agreeing to buy cybersecurity company Splunk in a $28 billion deal.
  • Arm Holdings briefly slid below its initial public offering price.
  • Broadcom sank on a report that Alphabet’s Google is considering dropping the company as a supplier for artificial intelligence chips as soon as 2027.
  • FedEx, a proxy for global growth, rose after a bullish outlook.
  • Ten-year US yields climbed toward the highest since October 2007.
  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries advanced seven basis points to 4.48%.
  • The dollar hovered near the strongest in six months, rising against all of its developed-market peers — except the yen — with the Japanese currency inching closer to the 150 level that some analysts consider to be a trigger for intervention.
  • The pound fell after the Bank of England kept rates unchanged for the first time in almost two years.
  • Applications for US unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level since January last week, indicating a healthy labor market that continues to support the economy.
  • Initial jobless claims dropped to 201,000.
  • The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for 225,000 applications.
  • Separate data showed sales of previously owned US homes declined in August to the lowest since the start of the year, restrained by limited inventory and historically high mortgage rates.
  • Bond traders are bracing for Treasury yields to keep pushing higher after the Fed signaled it’s likely to hold interest rates at lofty levels well into next year.
  • Fifty-eight percent of the 172 respondents in the Bloomberg Markets Live Pulse survey conducted after the Fed’s decision said that 2-year Treasury yields have yet to peak, while a plurality expect 10-year yields to climb over 4.5%.
  • Two-year rates rose above 5.19% Thursday to a fresh 17-year high, while 30-year yields climbed to 4.48%, a level last seen in 2011.
  • Former Fed Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said the central bank may need to raise rates further and hold them higher to guard against the risk of a reacceleration of inflation.
  • Rupert Murdoch is stepping down as chairman of the boards of Fox and News Corp. following a nearly seven-decade career, and will become chairman emeritus of each company.
  • Darden Restaurants is seeing more “softness” among households with incomes above $125,000 compared to last year, Chief Executive Officer Rick Cardenas said.
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 fell 1.1%.
  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.3%.
  • West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.8% to $90.37 a barrel.
  • Gold futures fell 1.5% to $1,937.50 an ounce.

FedEx Posts Profit That Tops Estimates, Raises Forecast on Cost Cuts – Bloomberg, 9/21/2023

  • FedEx posted profit that topped analyst estimates and raised its earnings forecast thanks to cost cutting, strong pricing and customers who switched to the courier from its main rival on concern over a potential strike.
  • Sales fell about 6% to $21.7 billion.
  • Analysts had expected $21.8 billion.
  • The Express unit had a sales decline of 9.4% as package volume dropped 2.2% and revenue per package fell 3.3%.
  • Air-freight demand has declined from pandemic highs after supply chains healed and passenger flights, which can also carry cargo, rebounded.
  • Sales at the Ground unit rose 3.2%.
  • Package volume gained 0.6% while revenue per package 2.8%.
  • The Yellow bankruptcy drove 5,000 daily shipments of business to FedEx.
  • Even with extra business from Yellow, Freight posted a year-on-year sales drop of 16%, the third straight quarter of declines amid a US cargo recession.
  • Adjusted earnings were $4.55 a share for the quarter that ended Aug. 31, FedEx said in a statement.
  • That’s up from $3.44 a year ago and higher than a prediction of $3.73 from the average of 25 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
  • Earnings in the quarter were helped by an 8.4% reduction in operating expenses from a year ago.
  • That helped the company to boost its adjusted operating profit margin to 7.3% from 5.3% a year earlier.
  • FedEx lowered its outlook for revenue in 2024 to no gain amid “ongoing demand weakness.”
  • Earlier, it had predicted sales would be between no gain and a low-single-digit percentage increase.
  • The company raised its guidance for annual adjusted earnings per shares to $17 to $18.50 for fiscal 2024 from an earlier forecast of $16.50 to $18.50.

Olive Garden parent Darden Restaurants beats earnings estimates, despite weak fine dining sales – CNBC, 9/21/2023

  • Darden Restaurants on Thursday reported earnings and revenue that topped analysts’ expectations for its first quarter as the owner of Ruth’s Chris Steak House.
  • Revenue: $2.73 billion vs. $2.71 billion expected.
  • Darden’s same-store sales, excluding those of Ruth’s Chris, rose 5% in the quarter.
  • LongHorn Steakhouse was the top performer in Darden’s portfolio this quarter.
  • The chain reported same-store sales growth of 8.1%, topping StreetAccount estimates of 6.1%.
  • Olive Garden, which accounts for roughly 45% of Darden’s revenue, reported same-store sales growth of 6.1%, meeting expectations.
  • Darden’s fine dining restaurants saw same-store sales shrink 2.8%, wider than expectations of a 1.8% decline.
  • Earnings per share: $1.78 adjusted vs. $1.74 expected
  • Same-store sales for Darden’s fine dining segment fell more than expected as consumers earning at least $125,000 dined out less often.
  • Casual dining chains Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse saw customers order fewer alcoholic drinks and choose cheaper entrees.
  • “Overall, we think the consumer continues to be resilient, but they seem to be a little bit more selective,” CEO Rick Cardenas told analysts on the company’s conference call.
  • Darden also reiterated its outlook for fiscal 2024.

Amazon gives Alexa an AI facelift as it launches new smart speakers – CNBC, 9/21/2023

  • Amazon introduced a “smarter and more conversational” version of its Alexa voice assistant that the company hopes will bolster its position in the tech industry’s artificial intelligence race.
  • In his final keynote address at the event Wednesday, Amazon’s devices chief Dave Limp showed off a demo of an updated Alexa that’s freshly equipped with features powered by generative AI.
  • From an event space at its new second headquarters in northern Virginia, Amazon showed a montage in which Alexa users were seen asking an Echo smart speaker for information such as the “best dates to travel to Puerto Rico.”
  • One man requested that Alexa tell him a story about balloons, before abruptly changing his mind and asking for a tale about Jell-O.
  • At times, Alexa lagged in its response, and at a few points, Limp had to repeat his question to get an answer.
  • Amazon calls the new feature “Let’s chat,” and said it will be available as an “early preview” for existing Echo owners in the coming weeks.
  • The new Alexa will have a more human-like voice and will be able to hold more natural conversations without being prompted by a wake word.
  • “The Red Sox are my favorite team,” Prasad said.
  • “Imagine if they won, then Alexa would respond in a joyful voice. If they lost, it will be empathetic to me.”
  • Amazon also debuted new hardware, including an updated Echo Show 8 smart speaker.
  • The device uses computer vision to adjust its display based on where the user is standing in a room.
  • If they’re farther away, it will show fewer items on screen, but as they move closer, it will show more detailed information.
  • Amazon said the device costs $150 and will ship in October.
  • It also unveiled a $120 Fire TV sound bar that’s available starting Wednesday, and two new Fire TV Sticks that the company says are faster and feature upgraded processors.
  • Amazon showed a new feature coming to the Alexa App and Echo Hubs, called Map View, which is essentially a digital floor plan of a user’s home.

UAW Pushes for Automakers to Cut Reliance on $16-an-Hour Temp Workers – Wall Street Journal, 9/21/2023

  • The use of temporary factory workers at the Detroit car companies has long rankled the United Auto Workers union, which wants fewer of them and a faster path to full-time status.
  • Automakers say they need the flexibility that temp workers provide, especially as they manage a tricky and costly transition to electric vehicles and confront the ups and downs of factory production.
  • The issue is a key point of debate at the bargaining table as the UAW’s strike against General Motors, Ford Motor and Chrysler’s parent, Stellantis, enters its seventh day.
  • Union leaders have been vocal in their opposition to temporary staff, arguing that it creates inequality on the assembly line with one worker making a much higher wage than another for doing the same work.
  • Temps, who are also UAW members, start at about $16 an hour.
  • Full-time line workers start at about $18 an hour and can progress to roughly $32 an hour over eight years.
  • Temps don’t have as many benefits or the job security of full-time positions, although General Motors and Ford are contractually required to convert them to permanent status after two years.
  • At Stellantis, these workers are eligible for yearly increases, maxing out at $19.28 an hour, and convert when full-time jobs are available.
  • UAW President Shawn Fain has said he wants to get temps better pay and limit their use.
  • He also wants to accelerate the timeline to full-time status to 90 days.

Cisco Strikes $28 Billion Deal for Splunk in Biggest Buy Yet – Bloomberg, 9/21/2023

  • Cisco Systems agreed to buy Splunk in a deal valued at about $28 billion, representing its biggest acquisition yet and a major push into software and artificial intelligence-powered data analysis.
  • Cisco will pay $157 a share in cash, the companies said in a statement Thursday, or a 31% premium to Splunk’s previous closing price on Wednesday.
  • The deal value represents roughly 10% of Cisco’s market value.
  • Cisco has been expanding its software and services business in an attempt to rely less on its hallmark networking hardware.
  • The deal is also arguably just as much a bet on artificial intelligence as it is on the business of software and data security.
  • The merger offers the companies’ AI products “substantial scale” and more visibility into data, they said in Thursday’s statement.

Rupert Murdoch to Step Down as Chair of Fox and News Corp After Seven-Decade Career – Wall Street Journal, 9/21/2023

  • Rupert Murdoch is stepping down as chair of Fox and News Corp, after building a media empire over seven decades that revolutionized news and entertainment and made him one of the world’s most influential and controversial tycoons.
  • Murdoch, 92 years old, will exit his roles atop each company as of November, when they hold annual meetings, the companies said.
  • He will be appointed chairman emeritus of each company.
  • His eldest son, Lachlan Murdoch, who has served as co-chair of News Corp, will become sole chair of that company and will continue as Fox executive chair and CEO.
  • “For my entire professional life, I have been engaged daily with news and ideas, and that will not change. But the time is right for me to take on different roles,” Rupert Murdoch wrote in a memo to staff.

Hollywood studios, writers near agreement to end strike, hope to finalize deal Thursday, sources say – CNBC, 9/21/2023v

  • Writers and producers are near an agreement to end the Writers Guild of America strike after meeting face-to-face on Wednesday, people close to the negotiations told CNBC’s David Faber on Wednesday.
  • The two sides met and hope to finalize a deal Thursday, the sources said.
  • While optimistic, the people told Faber, however, that if a deal is not reached the strike could last through the end of the year.
  • On Wednesday evening, the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers released a joint statement that the two groups met for bargaining and would negotiate again on Thursday.
  • The sides are set to reconvene at 9 a.m. PT on Thursday, Faber reported.

Broadcom falls on report Google discussed dropping firm as AI chip supplier – Reuters, 9/21/2023v

  • Broadcom tumbled on Thursday after The Information reported Google executives had discussed dropping the company as a supplier of artificial intelligence chips as early as 2027.
  • Alphabet-owned Google will design the chips – called tensor processing units – in-house if it goes ahead with the plan, potentially saving the tech giant billions of dollars in costs annually, the report said citing a source.
  • The report said Google’s deliberations follow a standoff between the company and Broadcom over the price of the TPU chips.
  • Google has also been working to replace Broadcom with Marvell Technology as the supplier for chips that connect servers to ethernet switches in its data centers, it added.


Fed Leaves Rates Unchanged, Signals Another Hike This Year – Bloomberg, 9/21/2023

  • The Federal Reserve left its benchmark interest rate unchanged while signaling borrowing costs will likely stay higher for longer after one more hike this year.
  • The US central bank’s policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee, in a post-meeting statement published Wednesday in Washington, repeated language saying officials will determine the “extent of additional policy firming that may be appropriate.”
  • Fed Chair Jerome Powell said officials are “prepared to raise rates further if appropriate, and we intend to hold policy at a restrictive level until we’re confident that inflation is moving down sustainably toward our objective.”
  • The FOMC held its target range for the federal funds rate at 5.25% to 5.5%, while updated quarterly projections showed 12 of 19 officials favored another rate hike in 2023, underscoring a desire to ensure inflation continues to decelerate.
  • He emphasized the Fed will “proceed carefully” as it assesses incoming data and the evolving outlook and risks, echoing remarks he made at the Fed’s annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming last month.
  • “We’re fairly close, we think, to where we need to get,” Powell said.
  • They now expect it will be appropriate to reduce the federal funds rate to 5.1% by the end of 2024, according to their median estimate, up from 4.6% when projections were last updated in June.
  • They see the rate falling thereafter to 3.9% at the end of 2025, and 2.9% at the end of 2026.
  • Powell said Wednesday a “soft landing” is not the Fed’s baseline expectation for the US economy, but it is the primary objective as it seeks to contain inflation.

US Jobless Claims Fall to 201,000, Lowest Level Since January – Bloomberg, 9/21/2023

  • Applications for US unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level since January last week, indicating a healthy labor market that continues to support the economy.
  • Initial jobless claims dropped by 20,000 to 201,000 in the week ending Sept. 16, returning to within striking distance of the lowest level in more than five decades, according to Labor Department data out Thursday.
  • The figure was below all estimates in a Bloomberg survey of economists.
  • Continuing claims, which are a proxy for the number of people receiving unemployment benefits, declined to 1.66 million in the week through Sept. 9.
  • The four-week moving average of initial claims, which smooths out some of the volatility, dropped to 217,000, the lowest level since February.
  • On an unadjusted basis, claims were little changed. Applications fell in Indiana and California, while they increased in New York and Georgia.

US Existing-Home Sales Fall to Seven-Month Low on Rates, Supply – Bloomberg, 9/21/2023

  • Sales of previously owned US homes declined in August to the lowest since the start of the year, restrained by limited inventory and historically high mortgage rates.
  • Contract closings decreased 0.7% from a month earlier to a 4.04 million annualized pace, National Association of Realtors data showed Thursday.
  • The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a pace of 4.1 million.
  • Sales were down 15.4% from a year earlier on an unadjusted basis.
  • The number of homes for sale edged lower to 1.1 million, the smallest August inventory in data back to 1999.
  • At the current sales pace, it would take 3.3 months to sell all the properties on the market.
  • Realtors see anything below five months of supply as indicative of a tight market.
  • The median selling price rose 3.9% from a year earlier to $407,100, one of the highest readings on record.
  • Sales fell in the West and South and were unchanged in the Northeast. Purchases increased in the Midwest.
  • Single-family home sales declined 1.4% to an annualized 3.6 million pace — the slowest since January — while condominium and co-op sales picked up.
  • First-time buyers made up a historically low 29% of purchases in August, down from 30% a month earlier.
  • Cash sales represented 27% of total sales.

Bullard Says Rates May Need to Rise Further Amid Strong Growth – Bloomberg, 9/21/2023

  • Former Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said the central bank may need to raise interest rates further and hold them higher to guard against the risk of a reacceleration of inflation.
  • “I think that may be a good thing to do as insurance to make sure that core inflation especially continues to come down at an appropriate pace so the committee can get back to 2% inflation in a reasonable time frame,” Bullard, now the dean of Purdue University’s business school, said Thursday during an interview with Bloomberg TV’s Michael McKee.
  • Bullard said “it makes a lot of sense” that policymakers emphasized rates will need to stay higher for longer, given the strength of the economy and sturdy labor market.
  • “The prospects for a soft landing are very good, but you haven’t landed until you get inflation back to 2%,” he said.

GOP Lawmakers Warn White House on Ukraine Aid as Zelensky Visits Washington – Wall Street Journal, 9/21/2023

  • As Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky returns to the U.S. capital in a bid to shore up American support for his embattled country, a group of Republican lawmakers is vowing to oppose another aid package.
  • In a letter viewed by The Wall Street Journal, the group says it is rejecting President Biden’s request for an additional $24 billion in security, economic and humanitarian aid.
  • The lawmakers said they have concerns about the more than $100 billion in funding Congress already has approved, complained that the administration supports an “open-ended commitment” to Ukraine and criticized what they say is an unclear strategy.
  • It is signed by 23 House members and six senators, led by Sen. J.D. Vance (R., Ohio) and Rep. Chip Roy (R., Texas), and addressed to Shalanda Young, the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.
  • On Thursday, Zelensky is scheduled to meet with President Biden at the White House as well as lawmakers from both parties on Capitol Hill.
  • He is expected to make the case for more support as Ukraine tries to sustain a counteroffensive against Russian forces.
  • One of the letter’s signatories, Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.), said in a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday that he wouldn’t consent to expediting any spending bill that provides any more U.S. aid to Ukraine, citing the large federal budget deficit.
  • “It’s as if no one has noticed that we have no extra money to send to Ukraine,” Paul said.
  • “Our deficit this year will exceed $1.5 trillion. Borrowing money from China to send it to Ukraine makes no sense.”


BOE Keeps Rates Unchanged for First Time in Almost Two Years – Bloomberg, 9/21/2023

  • The Bank of England halted for now the most aggressive cycle of interest-rate rises in more than three decades as concerns about inflation gave way to signs the economy is slipping into a recession.
  • The central bank held its key rate at 5.25%, ending a series of 14 successive hikes since December 2021, when rates were just 0.1%.
  • Five members of the Monetary Policy Committee voted to leave rates unchanged and four wanted to raise them to 5.5%.
  • Governor Andrew Bailey, who had the casting vote, chose to hold.
  • “Inflation has fallen a lot in recent months and we think it will continue to do so,” Bailey said Thursday in statement released with the decision.
  • “That’s welcome news. But there is no room for complacency. We need to be sure inflation returns to normal and we will continue to take the decisions necessary to do just that.”
  • Repeating its former guidance, the committee said rates would be “sufficiently restrictive for sufficiently long” and “further tightening in monetary policy would be required if there were evidence of more persistent pressures.”
  • “We are starting to see the tide turn against high inflation, but we will continue to do what we can to help households struggling with mortgage payments,” Hunt said in a statement from the Treasury.
  • The BOE cut its GDP growth forecast for the third quarter to 0.1% from 0.4%, the minutes showed.
  • Underlying growth in the second half of 2023 is also likely to be weaker than the 0.25% expected in August.
  • Over the 12 months from October, it plans to reduce its gilt portfolio by £100 billion to £658 billion.
  • Last year, it unwound £80 billion.
  • That implies £50 billion of active gilt sales on top of the £50 billion of maturing assets.

Contamination Is Found at Novo Nordisk Plant in U.S. – Wall Street Journal, 9/21/2023

  • Novo Nordisk found bacteria in batches of the main ingredient for a diabetes pill that is a cousin to popular diabetes and weight-loss drugs and was made at a North Carolina plant earlier this year, according to a federal inspection report reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
  • The Food and Drug Administration inspected the Clayton, N.C., plant in July, and issued a report saying that Novo Nordisk had failed to investigate the cause thoroughly and that the plant’s microbial controls were deficient.
  • The plant makes the drug ingredient semaglutide, which is used in the diabetes pill Rybelsus.
  • Semaglutide is also the main ingredient in Novo Nordisk’s popular injections Ozempic and Wegovy, but the company said the semaglutide for those products isn’t made at the same plant.
  • The Danish company said the Clayton plant is still running and producing for the market, and wouldn’t share details of its interactions with the FDA.

Russia Temporarily Bans Diesel Exports; European Prices Jump – Bloomberg, 9/21/2023v

  • Russia temporarily banned exports of diesel in a bid to stabilize domestic supplies, driving European prices higher in already tight global fuel markets.
  • So far this year, Russia was the world’s single biggest seaborne exporter of diesel-type fuel, narrowly ahead of the US, according to Vortexa data compiled by Bloomberg.
  • The country shipped more than 1 million barrels a day during January to mid-September, with Turkey, Brazil and Saudi Arabia being among the main destinations.
  • The ban, which also applies to gasoline, comes into force on Sept. 21, and doesn’t have a final date, according to the government decree.
  • Diesel prices in Europe jumped on concern the measure will aggravate global shortages.
  • There are exemptions for minor supplies, including deliveries to trade alliance partners from some former Soviet republics, as well as intergovernmental agreements, humanitarian aid and transit, the decree said.
  • Under the decree, fuel cargoes already accepted for shipment by Russian Railways or those with loading papers for seaborne transportation can still be exported.
  • That indicates diesel flows will only gradually decline, while these cargoes are shipped.

Saudi Crown Prince Says Deal With Israel Is Closer ‘Every Day’ – Bloomberg, 9/21/2023

  • Saudi Arabia is getting closer “every day” to a landmark deal normalizing diplomatic relations with Israel, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said.
  • The de facto Saudi ruler, known as MBS, also said his country will be compelled to seek a nuclear bomb if its arch-rival Iran obtains one.
  • “If they get one, we have to get one,” he said in excerpts released by Fox News from an interview it plans to air Wednesday.
  • Asked about the talks on establishing ties with Israel, Prince Mohammed denied reports that the kingdom has frozen the negotiations because Israel is refusing to make concessions to the Palestinians.
  • “There is support from the President Biden administration to get to that point” of an agreement, he told Special Report with Bret Baier.
  • “For us, the Palestinian issue is very important. We need to solve that part,” and “good negotiations” are continuing.
  • The US, Saudi Arabia and Israel are engaged in complex negotiations in which Washington would offer security guarantees to Riyadh, the Saudis would normalize relations with Israel and Israel would take actions aimed at preserving the possibility of a Palestinian state.
  • Saudi-Israel normalization remains “difficult,” with the process fraught over specifics, including the Palestinian issue, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last week.
  • The Israeli leader expressed confidence Wednesday during a meeting with President Joe Biden that the Jewish state could reach a deal with Saudi Arabia.
  • It would lead to “reconciliation” with the Arab world and “advance” prospects for peace with the Palestinians, Netanyahu said in their meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

China’s Fighter Jets Aren’t Just Flying Around Taiwan. They’re Practicing. – Wall Street Journal, 9/21/2023

  • China has sent some of its largest swarms of jet fighters and warships into the air and waters around Taiwan this month.
  • They have been accompanied by an unusual silence.
  • While previous Chinese drills of similar scale were paired with waves of propaganda meant to intimidate the self-ruled island, Beijing has said next to nothing about the recent exercises.
  • That silence is a sign that the recent activity is less about delivering a political message, Taiwanese authorities and defense analysts say, than about training.
  • China’s military is trying to sharpen its ability to encircle Taiwan, neutralize the island’s natural advantages and block the U.S. from coming to the rescue in the event of an invasion.
  • During one day earlier this week, Taiwan’s military detected 103 Chinese military aircraft in areas around the island, a recent high, including 40 that entered the island’s air-defense identification zone.
  • The next day 55 Chinese aircraft flew sorties near Taiwan, the Taiwanese Defense Ministry said.
  • Earlier this month, a Chinese aircraft carrier and around two dozen warships, an unusually large grouping, sailed southeast of Taiwan in the Western Pacific.
  • Notably, the Chinese sorties have included an increasing number of Y-20 transport and refueling aircraft flying alongside jet fighters to the east of Taiwan.

Thousands of Venezuelan Migrants Will Be Allowed Work Permits in the US – Bloomberg, 9/21/2023

  • The Biden administration has moved to provide hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan migrants work permits and protection from deportation under pressure from cities strained by an influx of asylum-seekers.
  • The Department of Homeland Security estimated Wednesday that 472,000 Venezuelans who arrived before July 31 will be eligible to work under the fresh Temporary Protected Status designation.
  • The move is part of a series of policies aimed at managing the growing number of migrant arrivals at the US-Mexico border and in urban centers.
  • Within 30 days, DHS is also aiming to approve work permits for immigrants who entered the country under a pair of humanitarian parole programs established earlier this year.
  • However, the new policies fall short of recent calls for DHS to eliminate a months-long waiting period for all asylum seekers to work.
  • The agency says only Congress can change that.
  • The administration is also expanding a program that allows border officials to swiftly deport some immigrant families who have crossed the border and lack a basis to stay in the US.

India Suspends Visas, Canada Pulls Diplomats Amid Tensions – Bloomberg, 9/21/2023

  • Canada said it would reduce the number of diplomats in India due to security concerns, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government appeared to suspend visas for Canadians, as a diplomatic row escalated over the murder of a Sikh activist.
  • Global Affairs Canada said some diplomats have received threats on social media platforms, part of an unfolding backlash in the South Asian country following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s claims on Monday that Indian government agents assassinated a prominent Sikh leader on Canadian soil.
  • “In the light of the current environment where tensions have heightened, we are taking action to ensure the safety of our diplomats,” Global Affairs Canada said in a statement Thursday.
  • “Out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to temporarily adjust staff presence in India.”
  • Separately, BLS International, which runs India visa application centers in Canada, posted an online notice saying that visa services were suspended indefinitely due to “operational reasons” from Sept. 21.
  • “You are aware of the security threats being faced by our high commission and consulates in Canada,” Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi told reporters in New Delhi.
  • “This has disrupted their normal functioning. Accordingly, our high commission and consulates are temporarily unable to process visa applications. We will be reviewing the situation on a regular basis.”

ECB’s Vujcic Says No More Rate Hikes Needed If Outlook Holds – Bloomberg, 9/21/2023

  • European Central Bank Governing Council member Boris Vujcic said additional increases in borrowing costs probably won’t be needed if officials’ economic outlook comes to pass.
  • “If things develop in accordance with our expectations, if we have a continued fall of inflation as we’re expecting, then it won’t be necessary to raise interest rates further,” Vujcic told Croatia’s N1 TV on Thursday.
  • Vujcic joins other ECB policymakers in signaling that last week’s hike in the deposit rate, to 4%, was probably the last of this unprecedented monetary-tightening campaign.
  • “I think that in the next three months we’ll see a further reduction of the inflation rate. But what it will look like next year is difficult to say. Possible shocks could come from energy, food prices, climate change, and politics”
  • “As the inflation rate eases, the level of 4% will become more restrictive. If we see a faster fall of inflation, I think it is easier to lower the rate, than to raise it”
  • On banks, “We now have a liquidity surplus in deposits on which banks earn interest. A way to sterilize that is to raise minimum reserve requirements”

Factmonster – TODAY in HISTORY

  • The French National Convention voted to abolish the monarchy. – 1792
  • The New York Sun published its famous editorial, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” – 1897
  • A hurricane struck New York and New England with extensive damage and more than 600 deaths. – 1938
  • The People’s Republic of China was proclaimed. – 1949
  • Malta gained its independence from Great Britain. – 1964
  • Belize gained its independence from Great Britain. – 1981

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