Oil Prices Decline Amid Demand Concerns
Oil prices were moving lower on Thursday as investors weighed demand concerns against potential supply disruptions.
Benchmark Brent crude futures fell 0.7 percent to $93.45 a barrel, while WTI crude futures were down 0.7 percent at $87.86.
Data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed that crude inventories in the U.S., the largest consumer in the world, increased by 2.4 million barrels in the week ended September 9th, suggesting weaker fuel demand.
On Tuesday, a report from the American Petroleum Institute showed crude inventories rose by 6 million barrels last week.
On the positive side, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Wednesday it expects widespread switching from gas to oil for heating purposes following Russia’s decision to halt flows through the Nord Stream pipeline.
The IEA estimates that the switching will occur at a rate of 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) in October 2022 to March 2023 – double the level of a year ago.
The downside also remained capped by speculation the Biden administration may consider refilling U.S. oil reserves at $80 a barrel.
Sunset Farm Foods Recalls Sausage Products
Sunset Farm Foods, Inc. has recalled about 4,480 pounds of chicken and pork smoked sausage products for possible contamination with foreign matter, specifically thin blue plastic material, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) said in a statement.
The problem was discovered after the firm reported to FSIS that it received consumer complaints reporting thin blue plastic embedded inside the pork and chicken sausage product.
This is classified by the FSIS as a Class II recall with low risk, which indicates “a health hazard situation where there is a remote probability that the use of the product will cause adverse health consequences.”
The recall involves 28-oz. vacuum sealed packages of “Georgia Special Chicken and Pork Smoked Sausage.”
The recalled fully cooked chicken and pork smoked sausage items were produced on June 30, 2022 with a sell by date of October 28, 2022 (10-28-22). They were shipped to retail locations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina.
The Valdosta, Georgia-based company is yet to receive any confirmed reports of adverse reactions, injury or illness due to consumption of these products.
The FSIS has urged consumers who have purchased these products to not consume them and should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase. FSIS is also concerned that some product may be in consumers’ refrigerators or freezers.
Gold Hits Two-week Low On Fed Concerns
Gold prices slipped on Thursday to hit two-week lows as the dollar held near recent peaks, diminishing the precious metal’s safe-haven appeal.
Spot gold dipped 0.4 percent to $1,690.51 per ounce, while U.S. gold futures were down 0.6 percent at $1,699.40.
The dollar index remained supported by rising Treasury yields on expectations that the Federal Reserve will continue to raise rates aggressively to tackle high inflation.
The Fed is expected to deliver a third consecutive 75 basis-point rate hike when it meets next week.
Fed funds futures suggest a 28 percent chance of a 100 basis-point rate hike after stronger-than-anticipated U.S. inflation figures for August.
In economic news, U.K. consumer confidence slipped into negative territory for the first time since June 2020, while French consumer price inflation slowed less than expected in August, separate reports showed.
Elsewhere, Germany’s wholesale price inflation eased for the fourth month in a row in August but remained at an elevated level.
U.S. retail sales, import and export prices and industrial production, all for August, as well as weekly jobless claims for the week ended September 10, business inventories for July and New York Fed’s empire manufacturing survey for September will be out in the New York session.
CMA Decides To Refer Microsoft/Activision Blizzard Deal For Phase 2 Investigation
The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on Thursday decided to refer the proposed acquisition by Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) of Activision Blizzard, Inc. (ATVI) for a phase 2 investigation.
CMA is concerned that the deal could substantially lessen competition in gaming consoles, multi-game subscription services, and cloud gaming services within a market or markets in the United Kingdom.
Microsoft and Activision had until September 8 to offer an undertaking to address the CMA’s concerns that may be accepted by the CMA. However, Microsoft informed the CMA on September 6 that it would not be offering any undertakings. The CMA had stated then that the deal will be referred for a Phase 2 investigation If suitable proposals are not submitted.
The CMA had launched its merger inquiry on 6 July 2022 and had a deadline of 1 September 2022 for its phase 1 decision.
In January, Microsoft agreed to acquire Activision Blizzard for $95.00 per share, in an all-cash deal valued at $68.7 billion, inclusive of Activision Blizzard’s net cash.
Eloxx Pharma Shares Plummet As Class 1 Cystic Fibrosis Trial Fails
Shares of Eloxx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ELOX) are down over 42% at $0.22 in premarket trading session on Thursday, following disappointing results from the company’s phase II combination trial of ELX-02 in Class 1 cystic fibrosis patients.
The phase II combination clinical trial was designed to evaluate safety and assess biological activity of of ELX-02 in Class 1 cystic fibrosis patients as monotherapy and in combination with Ivacaftor.
The trial included a 1-week monotherapy period followed by a four-week combination period.
The study did not achieve statistical significance for efficacy endpoints, including changes from baseline in sweat chloride concentration (SCC) and percent forced expiratory volume (FEV1).
ELX-02 was well tolerated with no drug-related serious adverse events observed.
CF patients with a Class 1 nonsense mutation remain highly underserved with no approved disease modifying therapies. An estimated 10-12% of CF patients are Class 1 patients
ELOX has traded in a range of $0.21 to $1.89 in the last 52 weeks. The stock closed Wednesday’s trading at $0.38, up 0.24%.