Axios Closer

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🇫🇷 Hope is headed to Cannes next month. Sign up and email her if you’ll be there too.

Today's newsletter, edited by Pete Gannon, is 684 words, a 2½ -minute read.

🔔 The dashboard: The S&P 500 closed up 1.0%.

  • Biggest gainer? Best Buy (+9.0%), benefitting from a broad lift in retail stocks.
  • Biggest decliner? Agilent Technologies (-3.2%), after reporting earnings yesterday.

1 big thing: Inflation lays an egg

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The price of eggs is expected to rise as much as 21% this year, up from previous estimates of 6%–7%, new government data out today shows.

Why it matters: Eggs are now expected to see the highest increase in price compared to all other staple food groups tracked, Hope writes.

The big picture: Egg prices are a unique reflection of our current economic environment.

  • Eggs are not only an ingredient in many other foods and meals, they’re also the product of other food sources.

State of play: A bird flu outbreak that began in January has killed about 6% of commercial egg-laying chickens in the U.S., and the disease is still spreading.

  • Chicken feed (like corn and soybean meal) and chicken treatment (think cage-free) make up the majority of the cost of an egg — and are also getting more expensive.
  • And of course all the other factors contributing to overall inflation — including transportation costs due to fuel and labor shortages — are helping drive prices too.

By the numbers: The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts egg prices will rise between 19.5% and 20.5% this year.

  • Poultry prices are expected to increase between 8.5% and 9.5%.

Flashback: The average price of a dozen large, grade A eggs was $2.52 in April and $2.05 in March, compared to about $1.40 in the spring of 2019.

What to watch: The bird flu outbreak is expected to shrink turkey production from last year.

2. Charted: Natural gas prices soar

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Natural gas prices are surging, adding fuel to the inflationary fire, Nathan writes.

  • Spot prices of natural gas soared above $9 per million British thermal units, or MMBtu, in intraday trading Wednesday.
  • That's the highest point in more than a decade, as "dwindling inventories push prices higher" and the war in Ukraine applies upward pressure, per CNBC.

By the numbers: Prices have more than tripled in 12 months, according to the Energy Information Administration.

💬 Our thought bubble: Break out the shorts this summer if you want to save on air conditioning.

3. What's happening

✌️ Jack Dorsey left Twitter's board of directors. (Axios)

🛰 Elon Musk’s SpaceX now has 400,000 global subscribers for its Starlink satellite internet service. (CNBC)

4. Abbott and Congress talk baby formula

The Abbott Nutrition factory in Sturgis, Michigan.
The Abbott Nutrition factory in Sturgis, Mich., has been shut down since February after a massive recall. Photo: Matthew Hatcher/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Abbott Nutrition today apologized for the baby formula shortage, while the FDA provided a timeline for its inspection that resulted in a temporary shutdown and massive product shortages across the country, Nathan writes.

  • Lawmakers at a congressional hearing Wednesday called for more competition from manufacturers to prevent future supply disruptions of the vital product.

Details: The FDA learned on Sept. 20 of a serious infection in an infant who consumed baby formula made at Abbott's Sturgis, Michigan, plant, the agency disclosed Wednesday.

  • After another case was reported on Dec. 1, the FDA scheduled an inspection for Dec. 30.
  • The agency ended up delaying the inspection until Jan. 31 after Abbott reported a dozen COVID-19 cases among its employees.
  • The FDA temporarily shut down the plant in February.

What they found: "Serious cracks" in key equipment and "water leaks and condensation ... in areas where dry powdered formula was produced," the FDA reported.

What's next: The FDA is expected to allow Abbott to reopen the factory during the first week of June after the company made a round of improvements.

5. 🏈 Pepsi breaks up with halftime show

A screenshot of a tweet from Pepsi.
Screenshot: @pepsi/Twitter

Pepsi confirmed yesterday it will no longer sponsor the Super Bowl halftime show after a 10-year run, Axios Pro's Kerry Flynn writes.

  • The company is calling an audible, planning to shift ad spend to a new, online-focused marketing effort, but it will still remain a big NFL sponsor in a renewed and extensive deal.
  • The next deal for the halftime show could command $40 million to $50 million annually.

Why it matters: The Super Bowl remains a tentpole event. The halftime show is also notorious for transcending TV, dominating online and IRL conversations.

Meanwhile, the NFL has plenty of interest from potential new sponsors.

6. What they're saying

“As a nation, we have to ask: When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?"
— President Biden, referring to Congress' inaction on passing new gun-control measures following the country's latest mass shooting at a Texas elementary school.

Thanks to Sheryl Miller for copy editing today's (and every day's) newsletter.