⛽ Commodities gone crazy

Wednesday, March 9, 2022 by Snacks
The ban on Russian oil means even higher prices at the pump [Will Lester/MediaNews Group/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/Getty Images]

The ban on Russian oil means even higher prices at the pump [Will Lester/MediaNews Group/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/Getty Images]

The ban on Russian oil means even higher prices at the pump [Will Lester/MediaNews Group/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/Getty Images]

The ban on Russian oil means even higher prices at the pump [Will Lester/MediaNews Group/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/Getty Images]

Yesterday’s Market Moves
Dow Jones
32,633 (-0.56%)
S&P 500
4,171 (-0.72%)
12,796 (-0.28%)
$38,565 (+1.49%)

Hey Snackers,

2M people have now fled Ukraine, including 1M children, the UN says. The CIA predicts an “ugly next few weeks” as President Putin escalates Russia’s military aggression.

Stocks ended the day lower after a roller-coaster trading session fueled by fast-moving Ukraine updates. Oil and gold prices continued jumping as investors retreated to “safe-haven” assets. FYI: the techy Nasdaq index entered a bear market this week, down more than 20% from its record high in November.


1. The US bans Russian oil imports in one of the harshest punishments for Putin yet

Sanctioning where it hurts… in the barrel. President Biden announced a halt on Russian oil imports in response to Putin’s escalation in Ukraine. FYI: oil makes up a third of Russia’s economy. Even worse for Putin: the EU said it would cut Russian gas imports by two-thirds by the end of this year, even though it’s much more reliant on Russian energy than the US. Europe depends on Russia for nearly half of its gas supply and a quarter of its oil. The US gets only 7% of its oil from Russia.

Pump anxiety… Reduced supply from Russia is causing gas prices to spike even higher. The average price of a gallon in the US hit a high of $4.10 yesterday, topping $7 in some places. And it’s not just crude that’s gone haywire. Russia and Ukraine are big exporters of other key commodities, which are also surging on fears of reduced supply:

  • Costly Corn Flakes… Wheat and corn prices have spiked as the war strains supplies of global grains: cereal giants Kellogg and General Mills were already hiking prices before the war.
  • Expensive-er EVs… The prices of precious metals like titanium, palladium, and nickel — critical for everything from EV batteries to airplane bodies — have soared, hurting companies from BMW to Boeing.

Replacing Russian oil is the easy part… at least for the US (aka: the world’s #1 oil producer). Oil giants could drill more domestically, and Biden could boost imports from allies like Canada and Mexico. But taming global commodity prices is a different ballgame. Supplies of gas, grains, and metals are subject to geopolitical changes beyond any one country’s control — and that affects prices for everyone.


2. Apple’s newest budget iPhone brings back old-school design to capture thriftier customers

Touch ID is back… just as the masks come off. Apple’s first product event of the year didn’t have as many jaw-dropping debuts as its typical fall bonanza, but there were some goodies:

  • Entry level: Apple’s new iPhone SE is a throwback to the OG iPhone (think: one camera, fits in one palm) but with high-speed 5G. Price tag: $430, or $30 more than the previous SE model.
  • Expert level: The new Mac Studio is a two-piece desktop aimed at high-tech creators (think: sound engineers, app developers). It’s also equipped with Apple's new M1 Ultra chip making it 3X faster than its next-best computer. Fully specced-out price tag: $8,000.
  • Pro level: Apple TV+ will stream two MLB games on Friday nights (assuming there’s a season to watch).

Welcome to Club Apple… It might be hard to get in, but it’s even harder to leave. Apple is trying to be like a social club with different levels of membership. It’s positioning the iPhone SE line for junior members: it has a low price point and limited features but still comes with the Club Apple bragging rights. Meanwhile, VIP members are blinged out with the iPhone 13 and Mac Pros — and going on their third pair of AirPods.


It’s all about the ecosystem… To maintain its premium reputation, Apple used to avoid making cheaper iPhones. Now analysts say the budget iPhone SE could make up one-tenth of Apple’s sales after it hits stores next week. By offering more affordable iPhones, Apple can court the 80% of the world’s smartphone users who don’t have one. Apple is hoping that its cheaper phones will be the junior membership card that hooks you into Club Apple’s ecosystem.

What else we’re Snackin’

  • Secure: Google just searched up and found its second-largest acquisition: it’s trying to buy cybersecurity firm Mandiant in a $5.4B all-cash deal. Google hopes to protect its millions of cloud customers from the rise in cyberattacks.
  • Charge: GM is teaming up with utility giant PG&E to figure out how to use its EV fleet to power homes. The pilot testing will begin in California, where wildfires and other climate-related crises have increased outages.
  • Jab: Moderna said it was prepared to enforce Covid-vax patents in rich countries to stop rivals from using its formula without paying (it would still let low- and middle-income countries make its shots).
  • Bricks: If you build it… Lego sales were up by 27% last year as the plastic playthings remained a family fave even after lockdowns. But the toymaker warned growth would slow back to single digits this year.
  • Takeoff: Breeze, the new budget airline from JetBlue’s founder, is doubling its domestic routes in time for peak vacay season. But sky-high jet fuel prices could throw a wrench in summer travel demand.

Snack Fact of the Day

Nearly half of Americans lost between $500 and $1.5K last year because of canceled trips


  • Earnings expected from Oracle, CrowdStrike, Campbell Soup, and Asana

Authors of this Snacks own: shares of Apple, Disney, Amazon, Netflix, Google, GM, and Moderna

ID: 2071782

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