Oil and gasoline futures gyrate after Ida disrupts production. - The New York Times

Energy markets swirled on Monday as investors responded to the immediate disruption of Hurricane Ida while also trying to gauge the economic toll of rising hospitalizations in the United States caused by the coronavirus. Gasoline futures were 2 percent higher, after climbing more than 4 percent when trading started. West Texas Intermediate oil, the United States benchmark, also jumped at first, but then dropped into negative territory and was 0.8 percent lower Monday morning. Before Hurricane Ida stormed ashore in Louisiana on Sunday, oil and gas companies shut down more than 90 percent of production in the Gulf of Mexico, making this storm the first of the year to significantly disrupt those industries. Workers were evacuated from nearly half of the area’s staffed production platforms, federal officials said on Saturday. BP, Chevron, Phillips and Shell were among the companies that closed facilities. The disruption could affect gasoline prices throughout the region ahead of Labor Day, traditionally one of the year’s high-demand peaks. Consumer confidence: The Conference Board is set to report its consumer confidence index for August. Consumer’s optimism could ebb after mostly unchanged results from the month before as the Delta variant continued to spread in August. Another measure of consumer attitudes, the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index, showed a sharp decline in August. Elizabeth Holmes jury selection: Jury selection begins for the trial of Elizabeth Holmes, the disgraced founder of the blood-testing start up Theranos, which will be held in San Jose, Calif. Ms Holmes, who could face up to 20 years in jail if convicted, has pleaded not guilty to allegations that she defrauded investors, doctors and patients. OPEC+ meeting: The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies are expected to meet after the cartel agreed in July to increase production by 400,000 barrels a day each month beginning in August. Analysts expect the coalition to ratify that schedule amid concerns that the Delta variant could threaten the global economic recovery. Campbell earnings: The maker of Campbell’s Soup, Prego pasta sauce and Swanson broth is set to report its financial performance for the quarter ending Aug. 1. Will inflationary pressures and increasing supply chain bottlenecks affect the company’s bottom line? Jobs report: The Labor Department is expected to release its monthly jobs report for August after reporting the biggest monthly gain in hiring in nearly a year for July. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect to see an increase of 750,000 positions, but they’ll be looking to see if the rapid pace of hiring remains or if the sustained outbreak of the Delta variant hampered industries trying to regain their footing. New mobile money apps are promoting themselves as part of the solution to a stubborn problem: a lack of financial savvy, particularly among young Americans. The apps offer slick educational videos and tools while enabling children and teenagers to save and spend and even invest in stocks, Ann Carrns writes for The New York Times. And they’ve caught the attention of researchers and financial advisers who say the tools may help engage and enlighten young users, even as they worry that the apps, without close parental involvement, may encourage bad financial behavior. Numerous reports have noted that financial literacy in the United States has resisted improvement for some time, even though more states have begun requiring schools to teach it. Financial technology, or “fintech,” start-ups see the apps as a way to sign up customers early by offering personal finance instruction along with spending and saving tools. Here are some notable apps: Amazon customers will soon have another payment option at checkout. Affirm, a so-called buy now, pay later payment provider that allows customers to pay for their purchases in installments, said on Friday that it had reached a deal with the online retail giant. Affirm said Amazon customers would be able to use its service on purchases of $50 or more — including items like furniture, home goods, electronics and fashion — and pay in monthly installments. Once approved, customers will be able to see the total purchase price upfront — and they won’t be charged any late or hidden fees, the company said. The service is being tested with select customers now, Affirm said, and will become more broadly available to shoppers in the coming months. Certain purchases, including those from Whole Foods Market, Amazon Fresh and certain digital purchases like movies and books, will not be eligible, according to Affirm. “Amazon is always looking to add flexible payment options,” an Amazon spokeswoman said, “and Affirm does just that by offering transparent pay-over-time solutions that customers can choose based on their needs.”

source: https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/08/30/business/economy-stock-market-news

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