Markets Overview

  • ASX SPI 200 futures up 0.2% to 7,252.00
  • Dow Average down 1.4% to 33,876.87
  • Aussie down 1.5% to 0.6651 per US$
  • U.S. 10-year yield rose 2.1bps to 3.7015%
  • Australia 3-year bond yield fell 7 bps to 3.20%
  • Australia 10-year bond yield fell 5.9 bps to 3.52%
  • Gold spot down 0.8% to $1,740.69
  • Brent futures down 0.7% to $83.05/bbl

Economic Events

Stocks sank as Federal Reserve officials stressed that more rate hikes are coming, with risk appetite also hit by uncertainties around China’s Covid curbs and their impact on the global economy.

Investors are now looking ahead to Jerome Powell’s speech Wednesday, with many economists expecting he’ll cement bets that the Fed will slow its pace of rate increases next month — while reminding Americans that its fight against inflation will run into 2023.

China’s woes complicate expectations of its path to reopening, with authorities deploying a heavy police presence in Beijing and Shanghai to deter a repeat of the weekend’s demonstrations. Chances are growing of a messy exit from the Covid Zero policy, analysts at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. warned.

Stock markets are in for a wild ride next year as they don’t yet reflect the risk of a US recession, according to strategists at Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank. Their calls are a warning after equities rallied sharply in the past two months on bets that a peak in inflation will lead to a softening of hawkish central bank policies.

Elsewhere, oil climbed as OPEC+ is seen considering deeper output cuts amid a faltering market.

Other News

“READY IN THREE 1/2 MINUTES” declares the packaging for Velveeta’s microwaveable mac and cheese cups. But that’s simply not true, according to one allegedly inconvenienced South Florida woman, who points out that the figure accounts for just the microwave time. It does not include other time-consuming steps such as tearing off the lid, adding water and stirring in cheese sauce, she argues.

Amanda Ramirez might not have bothered buying the Shells & Cheese product “had she known the truth,” says a proposed class-action lawsuit in which she is the lead plaintiff. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Miami, seeks more than $5 million in damages on behalf of the Hialeah woman and other purportedly hoodwinked customers. It accuses the Kraft Heinz Co., the maker of the cheesy cups, of deceptive and unfair trade practices.

“Consumers seeing ‘ready in 31/2 minutes’ will believe it represents the total amount of time it takes to prepare the Product, meaning from the moment it is unopened to the moment it is ready for consumption,” the complaint argues.

The Kraft Heinz Co. said in a statement to The Washington Post that it was aware of the “frivolous lawsuit” and “will strongly defend against the allegations in the complaint.”

The lawsuit, previously covered by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, was filed this month by William Wright of the Wright Law Office in West Palm Beach and Spencer Sheehan of Sheehan & Associates in Great Neck, N.Y.

“I’ve gotten a lot of flak about this case, but deceptive advertising is deceptive advertising,” Wright said Monday by email. “Here, Kraft charges extra for a desirable feature (saving time) but the marketing is false, it takes far longer for the product to be ready than as advertised. Deceptive advertising plain and simple.”

Sheehan did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The attorney, whose website calls on people to get in touch with issues they have been told are “unsolvable,” has made a name for himself suing food manufacturers he says mislead consumers. He has filed more than 400 such lawsuits in recent years, NPR reported, and in doing so has “almost single-handedly caused a historic spike in the number of class-action lawsuits against food and beverage companies.”

He went after Kellogg, arguing that the company’s strawberry Pop-Tarts marketing is deceptive because the pastries contain additional fruits. He said Keebler and Betty Crocker were wrong to call their cookie and cake mixes fudge because they contained no milk fat. And he took on Keurig Dr Pepper over the words that appear on A&W Root Beer cans: “MADE WITH AGED VANILLA.” That was among about 120 lawsuits over companies’ assertions that their products contain vanilla, NPR reported.

The lawsuit accuses the Kraft Heinz Co. of fraud, false and misleading advertising, breach of express warranty, negligent misrepresentation and unjust enrichment, along with violations of laws barring deceptive and unfair trade practices. The lawyers say there are probably more than 100 victims spanning multiple states where the product is sold.

(Washington Post)