Good Evening. In choppy trading Wednesday afternoon, U.S. stocks fell as the Federal Reserve handed down another hefty interest rate increase in its battle against persistent inflation.
The Nasdaq Composite fell by 1.79%, while the S&P 500 and Dow Jones both lost by 1.70%.
A VERY "YUM"MY COLLABORATION
The first menu item created in cooperation between Taco Bell (YUM) and Beyond Meat (BYND) is the Beyond Carne Asada Steak.
Starting on October 13, about 50 Taco Bell restaurants in the Dayton, Ohio region will test the plant-based protein before a larger rollout if the test is successful. The plant-based protein is mostly made of faba bean protein and essential wheat gluten.
For just under two years, Taco Bell and Beyond Meat collaborated “to get it right,” Missy Schaaphok, Taco Bell’s Director of Global Nutrition & Sustainability stated. “It just took a lot of back and forth and a lot of iterations to get it right. We needed the flavor to be there, the texture, the mouth feel. That’s why the commercialization process took so long.”
Why Taco Bell? Particularly in light of inflation, customers have flocked to Taco Bell’s affordable Cravings Value Menu, and the company just finished an extraordinarily successful Mexican Pizza re-launch. With global comparable sales of +8% over the anticipated +4.03%, Taco Bell was the only firm in the Yum! portfolio to surpass same-store sales projections.
3 TIMES IN A ROW
For the third time in a row, the U.S. Federal Reserve increased interest rates by 0.75% in an effort to rein in inflation that has reached multi-decade highs. Since the Fed began overtly targeting the federal funds rate to implement monetary policy in the late 1980s, three consecutive rate increases of 75 basis points are unprecedented.
The rate increase raises the federal funds rate, the benchmark interest rate set by the central bank, from its current range of 2.25% to 2.5% to a new range of 3.0% to 3.25%, which is its highest level since 2008.
Powell began his prepared remarks by emphasizing that “my colleagues and I are strongly committed to bringing inflation back down to our 2% goal.” In contrast to July, when officials saw a slowdown, the Fed policy statement showed a robust economy with “modest growth in spending and production.”
Looking ahead… A soft landing, in which the economy avoids a recession as interest rates rise, will be extremely difficult and will rely on how quickly price pressures come down, Fed Chair Powell said during the news conference.