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Today in the Market (4/12/2024)

Good Morning! On Friday, the U.S. stock market saw a decline as the beginning of earnings season caused investors to become more concerned about the ongoing fight against inflation.

It was a rough day with the Nasdaq falling the most by 1.62%, the S&P 500 decreasing by 1.46%, and the Dow Jones sliding by 1.24%.

NET INTEREST INCOME FALLS

A major source of income for three large banks, JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Wells Fargo (WFC), and Citigroup (C), declined in the first quarter of the year, indicating that even the largest banks are encountering difficulties similar to those faced by the industry as a whole due to the persistently high-interest rates.

So, what is this major source of income? Net interest income. Many financial institutions emphasize net interest income as a key performance indicator because it captures the gap between asset earnings and deposit payouts. With interest rates and deposit fees skyrocketing last year, smaller banks have found it difficult to increase this metric. Even at the biggest banks in the country, rising interest rates are beginning to slow growth in the first quarter.

So how bad was it? JPMorgan saw a 4% decrease, Wells Fargo experienced a 4% decrease, and Citigroup experienced a 2% decrease. In turn, JPMorgan saw its first consecutive decline in over three years. The stock had a decline of about 6%, marking its most significant one-day decrease since 2020. Citigroup’s stock saw a decline of around 2%, while Wells Fargo’s price remained unchanged.

ON SECOND THOUGHT, I'LL HAVE AN APPLE

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According to a report by the advocacy group Consumer Reports (CR), ultra-processed meal kits (Lunchables) contain excessive amounts of lead and salt, as well as chemicals that alter hormones. Based on these results, the organization strongly suggested that the United States Department of Agriculture remove two Lunchables that are considered to be “school versions” from the National School Lunch Program for kids who hail from low-income families.

So how bad are the lunchables? The Turkey and Cheddar Cracker Stackers, Pizza with Pepperoni, and Extra Cheesy Pizza have lead levels that are 69%–74% of the daily maximum (the federal government has not set a limit) and salt levels that are 34%–49% of the daily recommended consumption. On top of that, compared to store-bought alternatives, the allegedly healthier school versions included more salt.

So how did we get here? According to an article published last year in the Washington Post, large food corporations pushed for a relaxation of government nutrition criteria so that processed meals like Lunchables may be included in the National School Lunch Program.

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