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July 16: Mark of the Beast is here, Crypto explodes, New A.I company Elon Musk (Recap Ep236)

In this week’s recap, the global market ended generally positive. Binance, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges, announced layoffs of over 1,000 employees. On a positive note, Europe is set to launch its first spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) this month. Ripple’s XRP experienced a surge of 74%, reaching $0.81 per coin, after a US judge ruled that it may not necessarily be considered a security. The broader cryptocurrency market also saw positive movement, with altcoins like Polygon’s matic token, Solana, and Cardano’s token experiencing notable increases. Bitcoin and Ether, the two leading cryptocurrencies, also received a boost.

In the commodities sector, the demand for cobalt, copper, lithium, and nickel is projected to double as current operations may need to increase from 500 to 900 mines to meet battery demand. Orange juice exports from Brazil to the US saw a significant increase of 55% over the past year, leading to record-high prices. On the energy front, oil prices rose due to fires in Mexico, disruptions in Libya and Nigeria, and a decline in the USD. Furthermore, India faced a tomato crisis as prices skyrocketed by 341% year-to-date.

Moving to financial and banking news, there are concerns about rising inflation, food prices, and the increasing cost of college tuition. Food inflation has risen by nearly 17% in the past two years, outpacing income growth. The cost of college tuition has skyrocketed by 710% since 1983. Additionally, corporate bankruptcies reached their highest level since 2019, with 15 companies with over $1 billion in liabilities filing for bankruptcy in June. In the banking sector, Bank of America was ordered to pay $250 million for charging illegal fees and opening credit-card accounts without customer consent.

In corporate news, Lucid, an electric vehicle manufacturer, saw its stock drop by 11.82% after falling short of analysts’ delivery estimates for its electric Air luxury sedans. However, Domino’s stock surged by 11.09% to an 8-month high after announcing a partnership with Uber Eats and Postmates, potentially adding $1 billion in new sales. Beyond Meat also experienced a surge of 13.52% as its steak product became available in approximately 14,000 stores across the US. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, announced the debut of a new artificial intelligence company called xAI, with the goal of understanding the true nature of the universe. Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney, had his contract extended by two years through 2026, amid the media industry’s transition to streaming and digital offerings. Additionally, SpaceX’s valuation reached nearly $150 billion following a share sale by existing investors.

In trade news, India’s trade minister held talks in the UK regarding a potential free trade deal with Britain and met with ministers from the European Free Trade Association. Meanwhile, the US appeals court denied the Federal Trade Commission’s bid to pause Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, paving the way for the completion of the largest gaming deal in US history. Only UK regulatory approval stands between the deal and its closing before a July 18 deadline.

Regarding international events, France witnessed the deployment of armored vehicles in Marseille as French riots spread to Switzerland and Germany. Poland began moving over 1,000 troops eastward in response to security concerns, and Russia claimed that Ukraine had suffered significant losses in a counter-offensive. In Colombia, the government reached an agreement to begin peace talks with a faction of FARC rebels who had previously rejected a 2016 peace agreement. The US Northeast faced devastating floods, resulting in significant economic losses and transportation disruptions. Moreover, intense heatwaves affected large parts of the United States, with temperatures nearing 130°F (54°C) and over 93 million people under heat warnings and advisories.

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