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Today in the Market (3/16/2022)

Good Evening. Stocks gained on Wednesday afternoon as traders digested the Federal Reserve’s latest monetary policy decision, in which the central body raised interest rates for the first time since 2018.  The market was not surprised.

With a gain of 3.77%, the Nasdaq Composite outperformed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.55%, while the S&P 500 gained 2.24%. The 10-year Treasury yield increased by nearly 3 basis points to 2.19%, its highest level since 2019.

FEDERAL RESERVE

The Federal Reserve hiked short-term interest rates for the first time in 2018 on Wednesday, as rising inflation forces the central bank to reduce its pandemic-era assistance.

The Federal Reserve increased its benchmark Federal Funds Rate by 0.25%, bringing it to a target range of 0.25% to 0.50%. In the face of the war in Ukraine, the Fed also stated that the economic outlook is “highly uncertain.” By hiking rates, the Fed begins a process of increasing borrowing costs in the goal of reducing demand that is driving up prices.

According to projections issued by the policy-making Federal Open Market Committee, the Fed could raise rates up to six times this year (which would mean rates 1.75% higher at the end of this year).

Looking forward, the Fed is warning that inflation will not quickly subside as a result of its initial rate hikes. The central bank now expects prices to climb at a rate of 4.3% in 2022, up from the 2.6% it predicted in December. The Fed expects that rate to fall to 2.7% in 2023, and then to 2.3% in 2024.

Coffee and Cars

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Outside of Starbucks shops, Starbucks and Volvo are collaborating to establish electric vehicle charging stations. Although the effort is two decades too late to prevent the 2001 orange mocha frappuccino incident(Zoolander), it is just in time to assist in the development of the infrastructure needed for EVs to become a viable consumer choice.

The cooperation is starting small (excuse me, tall) by installing Volvo-branded fast chargers in 15 Starbucks locations between Denver and Starbucks’ Seattle headquarters. If everything goes well, the two hope to expand their collaboration by adding more chargers to more sites.

This appears to be a win-win situation.

  • For Volvo: While any electric car will be allowed to use the stations, Volvos will be able to charge for free or at a reduced rate, which might be a sweetener for customers selecting between a Volvo EV and its competitors.
  • For Starbucks: the agreement is a way to entice more EV Roadtrippers to order PSLs while also aligning with the company’s sustainability ideals. Starbucks made a similar promise Wednesday, saying it would reduce its usage of disposable cups.

Big picture: Recharging your EV isn’t like filling up your gas tank—electric Volvo’s cars take 40 minutes to charge from 20% to 90%. Retailers encourage you to shop during your downtime by installing EV chargers in their parking lots.

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