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June 2: Elon Musk sued insider trading, Fauci said no science in pandemic, record corporate buybacks (Recap ep280)

In today’s Recap, Marcello talks about how Elon Musk, the maverick CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, finds himself embroiled in an insider trading lawsuit. Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the prominent face of America’s pandemic response, has made a striking statement dismissing the role of science during the pandemic, confessing he ‘made up’ certain COVID-19 rules, including six feet social distancing and masking kids. Adding to the economic buzz, corporate America is witnessing a record surge in stock buybacks, with 154 companies announcing a total of $201 billion in buybacks in May alone. This all-time high, including Apple’s record-breaking $110 billion buyback program, suggests strong corporate confidence in future earnings.

Ghana, world’s 2nd-largest cocoa producer after Ivory Coast cocoa regulator (COCOBOD) will borrow up to $1.5B by Sept, to finance 2024/25 cocoa purchases & compensate for low output. Ghana uses an annual syndicated loan to finance bean purchases from farmers. It is usually agreed at the start of the season in Sept. But this year’s $800M loan faced delays due to low cocoa output.COCOBOD has withdrawn $600M & cancelled the remainder as season’s 2023/24 cocoa output is seen near 40% below forecast & thus unable to guarantee the full loan. Cocoa production has been affected by adverse weather, disease & cocoa smuggling.
Former President Trump became the 1st former U.S. executive to be convicted of a crime on Thursday, when a New York jury found him guilty of falsifying documents to cover up a payment to silence a porn star ahead of the 2016 election. The verdict plunges the United States into unexplored territory ahead of the November vote, when Trump will try to win back the Presidency from Biden. Trump, 77, has denied wrongdoing & is expected to appeal. It is not clear whether the electorate will be influenced by the verdict, with Trump ahead in most of the swing states, which ultimately will determine the election.
German business sentiment was stagnant for the month of May, a survey by the country’s Ifo Institute found, after 3 consecutive months of improvements. The ifo Business Climate Index in May stayed at 89.3 points. Companies were less satisfied with their current business situation, but expectations brightened, the Institute’s report read. It fell short of the analyst forecast of 90.4 Manufacturing, trade & construction are seeing recovery, while services fell slightly, according to the report.

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