Business briefing

The daily business briefing: August 29, 2022

Honda and LG Energy plan to build EV battery plant in U.S., diesel and heating oil inventories fall more than 50 percent below five-year average in Northeast, and more

1

Honda, LG Energy to build EV battery plant in U.S.

Honda plans to build a new U.S. plant to manufacture lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles in partnership with Korean battery supplier LG Energy Solution, the companies said Monday. Honda and LG said they will invest $4.4 billion in the project, which will produce batteries for Honda and Acura EV models manufactured in North America. The companies did not announce where they would build the plant, although the Nikkei business newspaper reports they are considering Ohio, home to Honda's main factory. The news came as the U.S. encourages more U.S. battery and EV manufacturing, with EVs assembled outside North American ineligible for tax credits under the $430 billion climate, health care, and tax bill President Biden just signed.

2

Diesel and heating oil inventories low in Northeast

Diesel and heating oil inventories have fallen to more than 50 percent below the recent average in the Northeast, The Associated Press reported Sunday, citing federal officials. Fuel supplies are also down, but not by as much, elsewhere in the country due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and other issues. Diesel and heating oil stocks are 63 percent below the five-year average in New England, and 58 percent below average from Maryland to New York, according to a Department of Energy survey. Gasoline inventories are down less sharply. The situation is raising concerns about possible winter shortages, because the Northeast depends heavily on heating oil in winter, while other regions use more natural gas and electricity to keep homes warm.

3

NASA says moon mission launch plan unaffected by lightning strikes

NASA officials said Sunday that its new moon rocket, the 322-foot Space Launch System, suffered no damage in a weekend thunderstorm that included several lightning strikes at the launch pad. The rocket, the most powerful one NASA has ever built, is scheduled to blast off Monday for a test flight with an empty Orion crew capsule, built for NASA by Amazon, Cisco, and Lockheed Martin, although the countdown was delayed due to fuel leaks. The Artemis 1 mission capsule will orbit the moon with three test dummies to check vibration, acceleration, and radiation, a key threat to humans in deep space. If the six-week test flight goes well, astronauts could return to the moon in a few years, a half-century after the Apollo program. 

4

Stock futures fall after Powell's hawkish remarks

U.S. stock futures fell early Monday as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's hawkish comments fueled investor concerns that the Fed's plan to aggressively raise interest rates to fight inflation could tip the economy into recession. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 0.8 percent at 6:30 a.m. ET. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures were down 0.9 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively. Powell said Friday at the Fed's annual economic symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, that the central bank will continue aggressively raising interest rates and keep them elevated to fight high inflation, even if it causes economic difficulties. Expectations that the Fed would soon finish hiking rates and start lowering them next year helped drive a summer stock rally.

5

Mickey Mantle baseball card sells for record $12.6 million

A mint-condition Mickey Mantle baseball card fetched $12.6 million Sunday, making it the most valuable piece of sports memorabilia ever sold at auction. The previous record, set earlier this year, was $9.3 million for the jersey that soccer legend Diego Maradona wore when he scored the "Hand of God" goal in the 1986 world Cup, The New York Times reported. The card featuring Mantle, who was the most powerful switch-hitter in baseball history, would have been sold originally in a wax-wrapped pack for a penny or a nickel, said Chris Ivy, the director of sports auctions at Heritage Auctions. The sale came after a surge in the sports collectible market since the coronavirus crisis hit the U.S. in 2020.

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