Business briefing

The daily business briefing: July 25, 2022

Ukraine pushes to restart grain shipments despite Russian missile strikes, China plans a real estate fund to help property developers, and more

1

Ukraine pushes to resume grain exports despite Russian attacks

Ukraine on Sunday continued trying to restart grain exports from its Black Sea ports under a deal brokered by Turkey and the United Nations, but a government economic advisor warned that continued Russian missile strikes on the port city of Odesa could put the goal of restoring grain shipments to pre-war levels beyond reach. Ukraine's military said Russian warships fired four missiles at Odesa on Saturday. Air defense forces shot down two, but two hit near a pumping station at the port. Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelensky, said the attack, a day after the deal was signed, demonstrated Russia's "barbarism." Russia said Sunday it used high-precision missiles to strike a Ukrainian warship and a weapons storage area in Odesa.

2

China to use real estate fund to boost debt-plagued property sector

China plans to launch a real estate fund to prop up a property sector struggling through a debt crisis, Reuters reported Monday, citing a state bank official. The fund will start out with $11.9 billion from the country's central bank, the People's Bank of China, according to Reuters. If the model does what it's supposed to, other banks will contribute toward the goal of increasing the size of the fund to $44 billion. China's property sector has long been a key driver of the world's second-largest economy, but it has hurt growth over the past year. "If just 80 billion, it's not enough to solve the problem," said Larry Hu, chief China economist at Macquarie.

3

Yellen says economy slowing but not yet in recession

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Sunday that economic growth was slowing but strong hiring indicates it hasn't fallen into a recession yet. Yellen's comments on NBC's Meet the Press came ahead of a flurry of economic reports expected to provide insights into the impact of high inflation and rising interest rates. The data will cover home sales, consumer confidence, and other key areas, but the report expected to get the most attention is the Commerce Department's first estimate of second-quarter economic output. Some economists expect that report, due Thursday, to show that the economy contracted for the second quarter in a row, after the first quarter's 1.6 percent contraction. Two straight quarters of contraction meets the informal definition of a recession.

4

Stock futures rise ahead of more corporate results

U.S. stock futures rose slightly early Monday ahead of a busy week of corporate earnings and economic reports. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were up 0.4 percent at 6:45 a.m. ET. The Nasdaq was up 0.5 percent. The three main U.S. averages fell Friday after Snap's disappointing earnings report dragged down tech stocks, but they finished the week with gains. The Dow rose 2 percent on the week, while the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq jumped 2.6 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively. The gains came after a string of strong corporate results prompted some analysts to speculate that the bear market had reached a bottom.

5

Jordan Peele's 'Nope' posts biggest debut for an original film since 2019

Jordan Peele's Nope brought in a solid $44 million at the domestic box office over the weekend. The haul was at the low end of expectations but still enough to give it the biggest opening for an original studio film in more than three years, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The last original movie to do better was Peele's Us, which brought in $71 million in its March 2019 debut. Peele was once best known for the comedy sketch show Key & Peele, but he transitioned into directing horror films with 2017's Get Out, a pop culture phenomenon that won him a screenwriting Oscar. 

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