🛢️ Russia gets embargoed

Wednesday, June 1, 2022 by Robinhood Snacks |
Russia’s in for a crude awakening (Michael Siluk/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Russia’s in for a crude awakening (Michael Siluk/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Russia’s in for a crude awakening (Michael Siluk/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Russia’s in for a crude awakening (Michael Siluk/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Yesterday’s Market Moves
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Hey Snackers,

Don’t call it “le streaming”: France has banned the use of English gaming words in a bid to reduce the influence of tech companies. Esports will now be “jeu vidéo de compétition.” Even catchier: “jeu vidéo en nuage” (cloud gaming).

Stocks fell yesterday, capping a turbulent month of trading. The S&P ended May flat after nearly slumping into a bear market, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq shed another 2% in May.


Crude crackdown… The EU’s planning its toughest restrictions on Russia yet, as Moscow enters its fourth month of fighting in Ukraine. Today EU officials are expected to greenlight their sixth sanctions package, which includes an embargo of Russian oil. Energy prices surged on the news, with Brent crude (aka: the international benchmark) hitting $120/barrel.

  • What’s included: A ban on Russian oil that comes into the EU by sea, which would be 90% of all oil imports by the end of the year.
  • What’s not: There’s an exemption for oil coming in by pipeline (the remaining 10%), a concession made for the landlocked Hungary, Slovakia, and Czech Republic.

A trifecta of oil problems… could be about to spill over. While Russia’s war on Ukraine is already aggravating the global oil crunch, experts say an embargo could spur an even bigger ripple effect for insatiable energy markets.

  • In the US: The release of 1M barrels of oil a day from the strategic reserve hasn't been enough to temper soaring pump prices as summer travel szn kicks off.
  • In China: The loosening of Covid lockdowns in cities like Shanghai could supercharge demand as the world's second-largest oil consumer prepares to reopen.
  • Everywhere else: Refineries are already running at full capacity — and still struggling to meet demand.

Europe has another sanction up its sleeve… Russia’s still exporting oil to willing buyers like China and India (at discounted prices). One thing that could make that harder: cutting off the ability to insure tankers carrying Russian crude. The UK and EU — which control much of the maritime-insurance industry — are reportedly about to do just that. If Moscow can't insure its tankers, it’ll be effectively cut off from exporting oil by sea. Less oil on the market = even higher prices for the world.


Tom Cruise to the rescue… 36 years after the original “Top Gun” premiered, “Mav” is back in the cockpit — and not a moment too soon for the movie biz. “Top Gun: Maverick” opened to $156M at the US box office, a new Memorial Day-weekend record. After being postponed several times because of the pandemic, “Top Gun” may signal a summer movie rebound:

  • Takeoff: Shares of Paramount, which produced the film, rose more than 1% yesterday, and shares of theater giants AMC and IMAX also jumped (before flattening out later).
  • Dad-nip: Most “Top Gun” watchers were older than 35 (and male), a shift from recent flicks like “The Batman” that were hotter with younger audiences.

It’s a big win for the big screen… The theater industry has come a long way since its 40-year sales low in 2020, but it will never again look like it did pre-pandemic. The reason: Hollywood studios have branched out their strategies beyond the theater.

  • “Day-and-date” is dead: Studios like Warner Bros. and Comcast’s Universal have released movies simultaneously in theaters and to stream during the pandemic. But the strategy angered talent and flopped at the box office.
  • The future’s mixed: Universal plans to release mass-market films in theaters (think: “Jurassic World”) and more niche flicks straight to streaming (think: a LeBron biopic that appeals to younger viewers).

The theatrical bar has been raised… Hollywood may push sequels and sure-fire hits to big screens, since iconic characters (Batman) and huge stars (Tom Cruise) are more likely to deliver returns on investment than new, unproven stories. But Paramount, Disney, and Universal also compete for streaming subscribers, not just theatergoers. So they may test out riskier films on their streaming platforms first, since a surprise streaming hit could yield subscriptions, or even a big-screen sequel.

What else we’re Snackin’

  • Foxy: Foxconn, which assembles most of the world’s iPhones, had to pause production at some key China factories in March. Now the Taiwanese company says Covid lockdowns haven’t hurt iProduction as much as feared.
  • Sold: US home prices surged 20% in March from a year earlier, as buyers rushed to lock in mortgages before rates ticked up. But with mortgage applications now tumbling, the housing boom could be cooling.
  • Eur-ouch: It’s not just the US: eurozone inflation hit another record in May, with prices up 8% year over year. Germany saw the highest #flation figures, as Russian sanctions cut off energy and wheat supply.
  • Icy: Unilever, which sells everything from Dove soap to Ben & Jerry’s, will add activist investor Nelson Peltz to its board. Shares popped 10% on hopes he could help revive growth, as he did with rival P&G.
  • Ink: Virgin Atlantic has lifted its requirement for cabin-crew members to hide their tattoos under their clothes. The shift comes as Virgin seeks to hire 300 more flight attendants to meet surging global travel demand.

Snack Fact of the Day

The US Navy reportedly saw a 6X increase in enrollments in the year after the original “Top Gun” was released


  • Pride Month begins
  • Earnings expected from NetApp, Chewy, MongoDB, and Weibo

Authors of this Snacks own: shares of Disney, and Comcast

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