Bloomberg - Evening Briefing - ‘Matter of weeks’

Bloomberg Evening Briefing

Kremlin forces destroyed the biggest power plant in the Kyiv region as Russia exploits gaps in Ukrainian air defenses, pressing its advantage against a weakened opponent. Short of ammunition and soldiers, Ukraine may soon suffer significant territorial losses if more aid isn’t forthcoming, military observers warn. In Washington, however, Republicans in Congress continue to block a $60 billion military aid package. GOP members had demanded concessions on immigration as their price for Ukraine aid, but subsequently rejected a landmark bill that addressed many of their border enforcement demands. Ukraine meanwhile has been forced to ration artillery shells in anticipation of running out, General Christopher Cavoli, head of US European Command, told the House Armed Services Committee. Ukrainians are “outshot” by the Russians 5 to 1, and that ratio will go to 10 to 1 in a “matter of weeks,” Cavoli said. “Based on my experience in 37-plus years in the U.S. military, if one side can shoot and the other side can’t shoot back, the side that can’t shoot back loses.” 

Here are today’s top stories

UnitedHealth Group Chairman Stephen Hemsley and three senior executives netted a combined $101.5 million from stock sales made over four months leading up to when the public became aware of a federal antitrust investigation. The sales occurred between Oct. 16, a week after the company reportedly received notice of the Justice Department probe, and Feb. 26, the day before Bloomberg News and others published stories about the investigation. 

Stephen Hemsley Photographer: Jonathan Alcorn/Bloomberg

Morgan Stanley shares fell the most in five months after a news report that US regulators are scrutinizing the firm’s efforts to prevent potential money laundering by wealthy clients. The Securities and Exchange Commission, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and other Treasury Department offices are reportedly digging into whether the bank has done enough to investigate the identities of risky clients. The US Federal Reserve was already known to be looking into those controls last year. The stock fell 5.3% to $86.84 during regular trading in New York on Thursday, its biggest drop since mid-October

Amazon joined fellow tech behemoths Meta, Microsoft and Nvidia in setting a fresh record as the e-commerce and cloud computing giant’s shares extended gains. The stock rose 1.7% to close at $189.05, surpassing its previous closing high of $186.57 set in July 2021. Amazon is the last of the five biggest US tech firms to reach an all-time high in the rebound from the post-pandemic selloff.

Earnings season kicks into gear Friday, with JPMorgan, Wells Fargo and Citigroup reporting their numbers. A solid US economy is expected to fuel a rise in profit growth for S&P 500 companies—and strong margins from big tech will be a key driver. Helping sentiment on Thursday was an inflation report that trailed estimates a day after a hot price reading curbed bets on rate cuts. Here’s your markets wrap.

Now for the bad news. Shares of electric vehicle startups Rivian and Lucid closed at all-time lows after Ford slashed prices on its electric pickup truck. The industrywide price war on electric autos is a major concern for investors. For unprofitable startups like Rivian and Lucid, it threatens to further delay when they might start making money. Rivian closed down 6.8% to $9.57, slipping below $10 for the first time since it went public in November 2021. Lucid fell 5.7% to $2.50, also its lowest close ever.

A Lucid Gravity sport utility vehicle at the Geneva International Motor Show in Switzerland in February. Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

Canada will relax rules on mortgages to allow first-time buyers to take out 30-year loans when they purchase newly built homes. The change to regulations on insured mortgages comes into effect on Aug. 1, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said. It’s a move that’s primarily aimed at winning over younger voters who’ve been shut out of the housing market, or squeezed by soaring prices and high interest rates.

A Vietnam court sentenced real estate tycoon Truong My Lan to death for her role in a $12 billion fraud case. Lan, 67, the chairwoman of Van Thinh Phat Group, was arrested in 2022 and eventually faced charges including bribery of government officials and violation of bank lending rules. She was alleged to have embezzled funds from Saigon Commercial Bank between February 2018 and October 2022. Her trial put a spotlight on an anti-corruption campaign spearheaded by Communist Party Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong. The push has touched all sectors of society and the highest levels of government, and comes as the Southeast Asian nation emerges as a global supply chain hub to major multinational companies.

Truong My Lan, center, in a Ho Chi Minh City court on April 11. Source: AFP/Getty Images

What you’ll need to know tomorrow

New York City Airports Are No Longer the Worst

Dilapidated walls, crowded gate areas, slow moving security lanes, dingy concourses, cramped hallways and terrible traffic just to get there (or get home)—not to mention rats crawling up chairs onto unsuspecting, sleeping passengers. It wasn’t long ago that the list of complaints about New York City’s three airports included these delightful experiences. As recently as 2016, John F. Kennedy International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport and LaGuardia Airport were listed among the 10 worst airports in America, with LaGuardia taking the crown. But how times have changed: these once dreaded mini-cities are becoming, well, kind of nice.

Terminal 6, a brand-new structure, will anchor JFK’s north side. Source: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

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