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Today in the Market (3/21/2022)

Good Evening. Stocks dipped on Monday, giving up some of their gains following last week’s gains, while oil prices continued to rise.

The S&P 500 fell by 0.04%.  The DOW ended at 0.58% lower, and the NASDAQ dropped 0.40%

FEDERAL RESERVE

According to Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, the central bank would continue to monitor incoming data and developments and “adjust monetary policy as warranted” to keep inflation low while maintaining economic growth.

“As the outlook evolves, we will adjust policy as needed in order to ensure a return to price stability with a strong job market,” Powell said in a speech.

He also stated that “ongoing rate increases will be appropriate” in order to restore inflation back to the Fed’s target of 2%. This was in line with what the Fed hinted at last week after its March meeting when the median member forecasted another six rate hikes this year.

BUSINESS

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Employees have reacted angrily to Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s handling of a Florida measure that prohibits the discussion of gender issues in some classes.

Chapek initially stated that Disney, one of Florida’s top employers, would not take an official position on the measure, claiming that corporate pronouncements on political issues are ineffective. Chapek altered direction after his non-stance was exposed internally and on social media, publicly rejecting the bill and apologized. “I let you down because you needed me to be a stronger ally in the struggle for equal rights. “Please accept my apologies,” he wrote to employees.

  • That apology hasn’t sated the disgruntled Disney employees. Since last Tuesday, employees have staged 15-minute walkouts, with a full-day walkout that was  scheduled for today.

Chapek could possibly turn to outgoing CEO Bob Iger, who gave him the reins in February 2020, for help with crisis management. According to CNBC, their relationship has deteriorated to the point where they are no longer speaking. Chapek was said to be irritated when a retired Iger offered to assist him in steering the firm through the Covid epidemic, weakening Chapek’s authority.

Big picture: The internal strife threatens to obscure Disney’s solid financial results under Chapek. Last quarter, the company outperformed expectations in terms of profitability, revenue, and Disney+ subscribers.

THE WEEK AHEAD

SCOTUS hearings: This week, The Senate confirmation hearings for President Biden’s Supreme Court nominee, Ketanji Brown Jackson, begin today and will go until Thursday. If approved, Jackson would be the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court.

Biden Eurotrip: President Biden will travel to Brussels for a NATO summit with 30 other world leaders. They intend to discuss the turmoil in Ukraine and emphasize the country’s unity so far in the conflict.

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