**__ Diplomatt’s Daily Digest – February 14, 2022__**
Good morning and happy Monday, everyone! Stock futures were lower early morning as investors monitored the tensions between Ukraine and Russia and braced against potential Federal Reserve interest rate hikes. Investors are also weighing the potential impact of surging inflation on the U.S. economy, as well as the possible measures the Federal Reserve could take to quell the jump in prices. The Labor Department reported Thursday that inflation in January surged 7.5%, its biggest 12-month gain since 1982. After the report’s release, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said he was open to a 50-basis point rate hike next month, adding that he wanted to see a full percentage point of hikes by July. However, futures trading was still tilting toward a hawkish central bank, with markets pricing in about a 55% chance of seven rate hikes this year, according to the CME. The tension over Ukraine also hit the energy markets, with natural gas futures up nearly 5% early Monday while oil prices also increased.
Quote of the week: “We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other’s children.” -Jimmy Carter
• A weekend call between President Biden and President Putin produced no breakthroughs with Russia continuing to deny its plans to invade Ukraine while accusing the U.S. of stoking “hysteria.” Diplomatic efforts continue with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visiting Kyiv today ahead of a meeting with Putin in Moscow tomorrow. The list of countries advising their citizens to leave Ukraine continues to grow while commercial airlines cut back their services to the country.
• The Los Angeles Rams beat the Cincinnati Bengals in the Superbowl 23-20.
• China’s technology giants, from Tencent to Alibaba and ByteDance, are investing in the metaverse, a market that could be worth $8 trillion in the future.
• Electric vehicle start-up Polestar, which is expected to go public this year, used its first-ever Super Bowl ad to indirectly take shots at its competitors, including Tesla and Volkswagen.
• The busiest U.S.-Canada border crossing was open Monday after protesters against Covid-19 measures blocked it for nearly a week. Still, a larger protest in Ottawa’s capital persisted as city residents seethed over authorities’ inability to reclaim the streets.
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