Manchin in Major Reversal Agrees to Climate, Health Care and Tax Package

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GDP fell 0.9% in 2Q, second straight decline and a strong recession signal


                                                In Today’s Digital Newspaper


Sen. Joe Manchin agreed to back a package aimed at lowering carbon emissions and curbing healthcare costs while raising corporate taxes. The deal will still need the support of every Democrat in Congress, and while some embraced it, others were more cautious, saying they needed to review the details. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), the other swing vote in the Dem caucus, has previously opposed closing the carried interest tax break, which is included in the bill and affects investment managers. We provide more details in the Policy section to complement two special reports we released on it late Wednesday.

The “Manchin Agreement” includes the extension of a popular consumer tax credit for the purchase of electric vehicles, a big win for EV makers like General Motors, Tesla, and Toyota.

The Senate Dem package also includes major ag and biofuel sector provisions, detailed in the Policy section.

President Joe Biden holds a virtual talk today with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. his is the fifth call between the two leaders since President Biden took office.

China makes sizable new-crop soybean purchase. Weekly export sales data from USDA for the week ended July 21 included sizable sales of U.S. soybeans to China for 2022-23. The net activity for 2021-22 included 4,000 tonnes of corn, 1,700 tonnes of grain sorghum, net reductions of 30,800 tonnes of soybeans and net reductions of 2,900 running bales of upland cotton. For 2022-23, sales activity included 538,000 tonnes of soybeans, 67,000 tonnes of grain sorghum and 2,300 running bales of upland cotton. Net sales for 2021-22 included 3,100 tonnes of beef and 800 tonnes of pork.

China’s Wuhan locked down a district of about one million people due to four asymptomatic Covid-19 cases.

Ukrainian troops destroyed a bridge that supplies Kherson in the south of their country, potentially cutting off the Russian forces occupying it. Ukrainian officials said that Russia was trying to shift more troops there, from the east. Meanwhile, Russian forces appear to have captured Ukraine’s second-biggest power plant, at Vuhlehirsk, in the Donbas region.

The U.S. economy shrank at a 0.9% annual rate in the second quarter, reflecting a weakening economy as consumer spending slowed amid rising prices, business investment declined and the housing market cooled. Economists had forecast 0.3% growth for the quarter. The government blamed the worse-than-expected figure on declines in residential investments (or home-buying), federal government spending and business inventories, but said an uptick in exports and spending helped economic activity improve from last quarter's decline of 1.6%. The data comes one day after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell downplayed the significance of early GDP figures, which can be revised "significantly,” and said "it doesn't make sense that the economy would be in recession" given the labor market's strength in the first half of the year, with some 2.7 million people hired and unemployment remaining near pre-pandemic lows.

The definitive call for a recession is up to the National Bureau of Economic Research, which defines a recession as "a significant decline in economic activity" lasting "more than a few months."

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the U.S. had made a “substantial proposal” to free women’s basketball star Brittney Griner and another American, Paul Whelan, from Russian detention, but the overture hasn’t been accepted. The U.S. offered to release Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout to secure the freedom of Griner and Whelan.

The Senate approved Wednesday a $280 billion bill to support the semiconductor industry, a bipartisan embrace of expanding U.S. industrial policy to counter the competitive threat posed by China. The House is expected to vote on the measure today.  

The Fed as expected boosted interest rates 75 basis points. But Fed Chair Jerome made clear he does not think the U.S. is currently in recession and he threw water on initial estimates of GDP, the latest of which are out this morning.

What’s rising faster than temperatures? European energy prices.

President Biden now tests negative for Covid-19.

The FDA signed off on a Bavarian Nordic monkeypox vaccine plant, a move that allows use in the U.S. of 786,000 doses made at the facility in Denmark. Meanwhile, the Biden administration may soon declare a public health emergency for monkeypox.

JetBlue Airways agreed to buy Spirit Airlines for $3.8 billion, a combination that would create the fifth-largest U.S. carrier.



Equities today: Major Asian stock indexes closed mixed, Europe was up at midday and U.S. stock futures were mixed. In Asia, Japan +0.4%. Hong Kong -0.2%. China +0.2%. India +1.9%. In Europe, at midday, London -0.1%. Paris flat. Frankfurt -0.1%.

     U.S. equities yesterday: The Dow advanced 436.05, 1.4%, to 32,197.59. The S&P 500 rose 102.56, 2.6%, to 4,023.61. The Nasdaq had its biggest one-day percentage gain in more than two years, surging 469.85 points, 4.1%, to 12,032.42.

Agriculture markets yesterday:

  • Corn: December corn rose 2 1/4 cents to $6.03, the contract’s highest closing price since $6.10 3/4 on July 18.
  • Soy complex: November soybeans jumped 26 1/4 cents to $14.10, the contract’s highest close since June 30. September soymeal rose $11.00 to $446.00. September soyoil rallied 106 points to 59.85 cents.
  • Wheat: September SRW wheat fell 13 1/2 cents to $7.90 1/4. September HRS futures fell 15 1/4 cents to $8.61 3/4. September spring wheat fell 18 3/4 cents to $9.10.
  • Cotton: December cotton futures rose 59 points to 95.07 cents per pound, the contract’s highest closing price since July 8.
  • Cattle: August live cattle fell 7.5 cents to $136.80, while October futures fell 5 cents to $142.325. August feeder cattle rose $1.675 to $179.10.
  • Hogs: August lean hogs rose $1.625 to $118.60, while October futures surged $2.80 to $96.45, a three-month closing high. The CME lean hog index rose 35 cents to $119.48, the highest level since June 2021, and is expected to gain another 25 cents today.

Ag markets today: Corn and soybean futures were supported by followthrough buying overnight amid forecasts calling for hot and dry conditions next week, while wheat rebounded from Wednesday’s losses. As of 7:30 a.m. ET, corn futures were trading 12 to 13 cents higher, soybeans were mostly 6 to 8 cents higher and wheat futures were 12 to 16 cents higher. Front-month U.S. crude oil futures were more than $2 higher and the U.S. dollar index was up around 450 points this morning.

Technical viewpoints from Jim Wyckoff:

     July 28 Corn

     July 28 Soybeans

     July 28 Crude

     July 28 Bonds

     July 28 Euro 

     July 28 Gold

On tap today:

     • U.S. gross domestic product for the second quarter is expected to rise at a 0.3% annual pace from the prior quarter. (8:30 a.m. ET) UPDATE: The U.S. economy shrank at a 0.9% annual rate in the second quarter, reflecting a weakening economy as consumer spending slowed amid rising prices, business investment declined and the housing market cooled. The data marks the second straight quarter of negative growth in the U.S. economy, but most economists believe the economy is not currently in recession given continued strength in the labor market. Economists had forecast 0.3% growth for the quarter.
     • U.S. jobless claims are expected to fall to 249,000 in the week ended July 23 from 251,000 one week earlier. (8:30 a.m. ET)
     • USDA Weekly Export Sales report, 8:30 a.m. ET.
     • Kansas City Fed's manufacturing survey is expected to fall to 3 in July from 12 one month earlier. (11 a.m. ET)
     • President Biden is scheduled to deliver remarks on the economy and meet with chief executives for an update on conditions in several sectors at 2:15 p.m. ET.

Federal Reserve raised interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point, its fourth increase this year, setting the policy rate to a range of 2.25% to 2.5% and adding in a statement that it “anticipates that ongoing increases in the target range will be appropriate.”

     “We’re not trying to have a recession, and we don’t think we have to,” said Jerome Powell, the chair of the Fed, adding that the labor market was likely to weaken somewhat. “The risk of doing too little, and leaving the economy with this entrenched inflation, it only raises the costs.”

     The Fed, though, is probably not a reliable recession messenger. The central bank has said it can bring down inflation without sending the economy backward. Many question that. “A big part of leadership is to project confidence,” Michael Arone, a strategist at State Street Global Advisors, told the New York Times’ DealBook. “I have always taken Fed-speak with a bit of salt, but when it comes to a recession, as I told my team this morning, a ton of salt.”

     Some economists have suggested the unemployment rate will have to rise to around 5% to 6% for inflation to fall back to around 2%. The Fed has forecast the jobless rate rising to 3.7% this year and 4.1% next year.

     75 basis points

Powell answered an interesting question Wednesday.  "If you're going make a mistake, would you rather make a mistake on raising too much or too little?" Powell’s response: "We're trying not to make a mistake," he said. But the risk of doing too little and allowing inflation to become entrenched "only raises the cost of dealing with it later."

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its July 2022 Long-Term Budget Outlook. Although CBO’s extended baseline is based on outdated economic assumptions, it nonetheless shows that the federal budget is on an unsustainable long-term trajectory. According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, CBO’s report shows:

  • Deficits and debt are on an unsustainable path. Under current law, CBO projects federal debt held by the public will rise from 98% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 to a record 107% by 2031 and 185% by 2052. Deficits will grow from 3.9% of GDP in 2022 to 11.1% in 2052.
  • Spending will outpace revenue, and interest costs will explode. CBO projects spending will grow from 23.5% of GDP in FY 2022 to 30.2% in 2052, while revenue will reach only 19.1% of GDP. Interest costs are projected to more than quadruple as a share of the economy, from 1.6% of GDP in 2022 to 7.2% in 2052.
  • Major trust funds are headed toward insolvency. CBO projects Highway Trust Fund (HTF) insolvency in FY 2027, Medicare Hospital Insurance (HI) insolvency in FY 2030, Social Security Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) trust fund insolvency in calendar year 2033, and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) trust fund insolvency in calendar year 2048. On a theoretical combined basis, the Social Security trust fund will exhaust its reserves in 2033.
  • The long-term outlook is better than last year’s but still troubling. CBO projects debt will reach 180% of GDP by FY 2051, somewhat lower than the 202% it projected last year. This improvement is due to a combination of higher expected revenue and lower health costs over the next three decades along with lower expected interest rates in the second two decades.
  • Debt could grow much faster than projected. Should policymakers extend various expiring provisions and appropriate at higher levels, debt would grow much higher. CBO generates three alternative scenarios that assume higher discretionary spending and lower revenue than in its baseline. Under these scenarios, debt would grow to between 218% and 262% of GDP. Against current law, CBO also finds that higher interest rates or slower growth could boost debt to as high as 235% of GDP. 

     Bottom line according to the budget group: “Ultimately, high debt levels will slow income and wage growth, increase interest payments on the national debt, place upward pressure on interest rates, reduce the fiscal space available to respond to an economic recession or other emergency, put an undue burden on future generations, and heighten the risk of a fiscal crisis. Policymakers should work today to get our long-term fiscal house in order.”

Inflation watch: hotel pools. Some hotels now charge swimmers and sunbathers to reserve a basic poolside lounge chair, often with few other perks.

Market perspectives:

     • Outside markets: The U.S. dollar index was weaker ahead of U.S. GDP data. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note has eased to trade around 2.77%. U.S. crude around $99 per barrel and Brent around $104 per barrel. Gold and silver futures are higher, with gold around $1,738 per troy ounce and silver around $19.33 per troy ounce.

     • A backup of 40 container ships has grown off Georgia’s Port of Savannah, the Wall Street Journal reports (link), raising fresh concerns that goods arriving for the fall will face new delays as operators scramble to keep shipments moving. Georgia Ports Authority officials say the backlog has grown in part because of constraints in berth capacity during a construction project and because retailers have been ordering goods early to ensure their shelves are stocked this fall. The new backup at the fourth-largest U.S. gateway for seaborne container imports comes as bottlenecks in Southern California have extended to rail services and into overfilled container yards at Midwest hubs. North of Savannah, South Carolina’s Port of Charleston says ships are moving without delay. But for most shippers, relief from congestion may only come if inventory-laden big retailers pull back their orders.

     • Europe’s energy woes are already starting to reach into industrial and agricultural supply chains. Chemical giant BASF says it will reduce production of fertilizer ingredient ammonia, the WSJ reports (link), as it seeks to curb its natural gas use after Russia throttled flows to Europe. Moscow has started reducing supplies through the Nord Stream pipeline to around 20% of capacity. The supply cuts and rising natural gas prices carry a heavy burden for BASF, which uses the fuel both to generate power and as feedstock for products. Although BASF said ammonia output cuts won’t affect farmers this year, as they have bought fertilizer and the harvest is already taking place, issues might arise next year. BASF expects to operate its sprawling manufacturing hub in Ludwigshafen, Germany, at a reduced load and is looking at alternatives to gas but says those can only partly fill the gap.

     • Unionized dockworkers at U.S. West Coast ports and shipping companies signaled progress in contract talks with a tentative agreement on health benefits.

     • $82.1 billion is the total value of North American transborder freight that moved by truck in May, up 20.7% from the same month last year and 3.1% more than April, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

     • Day 2 HRS wheat tour results. Scouts on Day 2 of the Wheat Quality Council’s annual spring wheat tour found an average HRS yield of 47.7 bu. per acre on routes through central and northern North Dakota, up from the five-year average of 37.9 bu. per acre on similar routes. But the crop’s lagging maturity, estimated by the North Dakota Wheat Commission to be two to three weeks behind normal, have raised some concerns that yields may fall short of expectations. Scouts will sample fields in northeast North Dakota and in bordering Minnesota counties today, with the tour’s final yield estimate and a production guesstimate from scouts released this afternoon.

     • Many Southern states have been particularly impacted by the heat waves, including Texas, where vital water and lush fields are needed to sustain livestock. Texas cattle ranchers have been especially hit hard by drought, as dry land and triple-digit temperatures make it difficult to maintain healthy cattle. As a result, ranchers are selling off animals at a startling pace not seen in more than a decade, foreshadowing troubling trends for consumer beef prices.

     • Ag trade: Bangladesh purchased 50,000 MT of optional origin milling wheat. Iran passed on a tender to buy 110,000 MT of milling wheat.

     • NWS weather: Moderate Risk of Excessive Rainfall out for parts of the Ohio/Tennessee Valleys where flash flooding, potentially both significant & life threatening, is possible today... ...Steady stream of monsoonal moisture to cause daily rounds of excessive rainfall and flash flooding across portions of the Southwest and southern/central High Plains with Slight to Moderate Risks of Excessive Rainfall... ...Heat wave to continue in the Pacific Northwest; stifling heat to stick around in South-Central U.S. and Southeast the rest of the week; coolest temperature anomalies in the Central Plains & Midwest.

        NWS 072822

Items in Pro Farmer's First Thing Today include:

     • Price strength overnight
     • Rains roll through, but focus is on next week’s heat and dryness
     • China drops GDP target mention, aims for ‘best possible’ results (see details below)
     • Cash cattle trade lower
     • Big jump in cash hog bids



— Sen Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced a deal on healthcare, energy and climate issues, taxes and U.S. debt. Late Wednesday, we issued two special reports providing some details and background information on the surprising development on an expansive plan to reduce healthcare and energy costs, cut down on carbon emissions, fight inflation and allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices. The deal could give Democrats an opportunity to make progress on some of their key policy priorities ahead of the midterm election.

     Summary: Proponents say the plan would increase cleaner energy production and reduce carbon emissions by about 40% by 2030; lower Affordable Care Act premiums for some Americans; cap out-of-pocket Medicare prescription costs at $2,000; and raise taxes on corporations and the ultra-wealthy. The plan would raise about $739 billion by imposing a 15% minimum corporate tax and by allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices. It would spend $369 billion on energy security and climate change policies and put $300 billion-plus toward deficit reduction.

     Some ag and biofuel sector goodies in the measure:

  • $20 billion to support climate-smart agriculture practices
  • $5 billion in grants to support healthy, fire resilient forests, forest conservation and urban tree planting
  • Sustainable Aviation Fuel tax credit of $1.25/gallon

     The biodiesel tax credit, currently scheduled to expire at the end of 2022, would be extended through 2024 along with the alternative fuel credit, biodiesel mixture credit and payments for alternative fuels. Credits for second generation biofuels, also set to expire at the end of 2022, would be extended through 2025.

     The bill would create a new tax credit of $1.25 per gallon for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), with a supplemental amount linked to lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions reductions of up to 50 cents per gallon. The new SAF credit would run through 2024.

     The package would include $500 million over FY 2023-2031 that would be used to for cost share on infrastructure improvements for blending, storing, supplying or distributing biofuels, by installing, retrofitting or upgrading fuel dispensers and pumps and storage facilities required to dispense fuels with “high levels of commodity-based ethanol and biodiesel.”

     Four USDA conservation programs would share in the $20 billion in funding, with the biggest share going to the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) at $8.45 billion over the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 through 2026 period. The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) would see an increase of $3.25 billion over the FY 2023-2026 period with the Conservation Easement Program to receive $1.4 billion over that period. The Regional Conservation Partnership Program would get $6.7 billion over FY 2023-2026. Under the package, the funding would increase annually over the FY 2023-2026 period. For example, EQIP would start at $250 million in FY 2023, increase to $1.75 billion in FY 2024, $3 billion in FY 2025 and be at $3.45 billion in FY 2026. The program funding would be from authorities under the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) and would “support the implementation of conservation projects that assist agricultural producers and nonindustrial private forestland owners in directly improving soil carbon or reducing nitrogen losses or greenhouse gas emissions, or capturing or sequestering greenhouse gas emissions, associated with agricultural production.”

     Some note there appears to be no provisions relative to the CCC borrowing level which could become an issue under the expanded conservation efforts. There is a $30 billion annual borrowing authority and this would come out of that. This could create problems for other Farm Bill programs in terms of available dollars especially if there is a need for special ad hoc assistance as has been the case for several years now including to mitigate trade wars, pandemic, and natural disasters. It also creates a fiscal cliff by cutting off the funding in 2026. That will create competition between new climate programs that will have lost their funding and existing programs.

     The bill is being submitted to the Senate parliamentarian to ensure it complies with the rules for the reconciliation process. “I expect that the remaining work with the parliamentarian will be completed in the coming days and the Senate will vote on this transformative legislation next week,” Schumer said in a statement last night.

     All Democrats need to back the legislation given unified Republican opposition in the 50-50 Senate. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who’s been cool to corporate tax increases in the past, is a potential holdout. Asked whether she’d vote for the agreement, press secretary Hannah Hurley said, “Senator Sinema will need to review the text. We don’t have comment at this time.”

     Before the announcement, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the House would reconvene in August to pass a reconciliation bill, while discussions on policing legislation continued. She touted the expanded reconciliation package after it was announced as “welcome news for House Democrats.” House Democrats only have a four-seat vote cushion now. That shrinks to three-seat advantage come Aug. 9, after a special election in Minnesota that will be won by Republicans.

     Republicans are set to unanimously oppose the bill if it comes up for a vote and will likely attempt to use procedural maneuvers and amendments to pare it back if possible.

     One of the biggest GOP criticisms of the legislation will be that it raises taxes. Manchin, talking to Punchbowl, countered that the legislation only raises taxes on companies that have a book value of $15 billion and don’t currently pay a 15% tax rate. On carried interest — which this proposal would eliminate — Manchin said Wall Street has “been on a hell of a ride for a long time,” and it’s time for it to end.

— ERP deadline extended. The deadline for producers to apply for Emergency Relief Program (ERP) compensation for losses from natural disasters in 2020 and 2021 was extended indefinitely. More than $4 billion has been paid out so far. Link for details.



— Summary: Missiles and rockets rained down on northern Ukraine this morning, the first time in weeks that the Kyiv region has been hit.

  • The U.S. offered a deal to Russia for the release of the WNBA star Brittney Griner and a former Marine, Paul Whelan. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. “put a substantial proposal on the table weeks ago” to gain their release and had “communicated repeatedly and directly on that proposal.” He said he expected to speak soon with Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, about the matter. In June, the U.S. reportedly offered to trade an imprisoned Russian arms dealer, Viktor Bout, for Griner and Whelan, and that President Biden had backed the offer. Whelan was sentenced last year on espionage charges. Bout is the Russian arms dealer sentenced by U.S. courts to 25 years in prison in 2012. He's known as the "Merchant of Death," and Moscow has long called for his release.



— Biden/Xi talks today. Expectation is building that President Joe Biden may scrap some of the tariffs imposed on roughly $350 billion in Chinese imports following a highly anticipated conversation with Chinese leader Xi Jinping today. Link to Bloomberg item.

— China drops GDP target mention, aims for ‘best possible’ results. China will try hard to achieve the best possible results for the economy this year, state media reported after a high-level meeting of the ruling Communist Party, in contrast to previous calls to meet its full-year economic growth target of around 5.5%. In the second half of 2022, China should “stabilize employment and prices, maintain economic operations within a reasonable range, and strive to achieve the best possible results,” state-run Xinhua news agency reported, after the 25-member Politburo chaired by President Xi Jinping met to assess the economy. The Politburo will reportedly accelerate food security and the country’s energy supply amid its supportive measures. China is widely expected by analysts to miss its 2022 economic growth target for the first time since 2015. China’s gross domestic product in the first half grew only 2.5% from a year earlier, pointing to huge pressure in the second half amid fears of a global recession, uncertainties from the Ukraine war and worries of any recurring Covid lockdowns.

— China plans big real estate sector bailout. China is seeking to mobilize up to 1 trillion yuan ($148.2 billion) of loans for stalled property developments, the Financial Times reported, as it tries to revive the debt-stricken sector. The People’s Bank of China will initially issue about 200 billion yuan ($29.6 billion) of low-interest loans, charging about 1.75% a year, to state commercial banks, the paper said, citing people involved in the discussions.

— China’s Wuhan locks down district with one million people. Wuhan, the central Chinese city that was the epicenter of the early Covid-19 outbreak, locked down a district of about 1 million people due to four asymptomatic cases, as the nation’s leaders maintain their zero tolerance toward the virus, a policy that has cast a shadow over both the national and global economies. It is the first time that Wuhan has imposed a restriction since late January in 2020, when the city had the world’s first coronavirus lockdown, which lasted for 76 days. Last month, Chinese leader Xi Jinping visited the city and said the country would rather sacrifice some of its economic development to remain Covid zero.



— Tyson Foods wants a Supreme Court ruling. Tyson Foods asked the U.S. Supreme Court to agree with its argument that because it was obliged by a Trump executive order to keep its plants open during the pandemic, it cannot be sued over unsafe working conditions. Link for details.




  • Global Covid-19 cases at 573,833,499 with 6,393,496 deaths.
  • U.S. case count is at 90,973,512 with 1,028,819 deaths.
  • Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center says there have been 601,497,801 doses administered, 222,950,194 have been fully vaccinated, or 67.67% of the U.S. population.

— President Biden tested negative for Covid-19 on antigen tests administered Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, allowing him to emerge from his isolation.



— The Senate on Wednesday cleared a $280 billion bill that includes $52 billion toward fostering a stronger domestic semiconductor industry. The package, known as the Chips and Science Act, provides financial incentives to companies that build plants in the United States, and expands funding for research in a range of technologies that lawmakers view as vital to the country’s commercial and military prowess. The measure now goes to the House.

— The Congressional Baseball Game is tonight, Republicans vs. Democrats at Nationals Park. Close to 20,000 fans are expected and more than $1.5 million has already been raised for Boys and Girls Clubs of America and The Washington Literacy Center. Capitol Police say they are ready with a "robust security plan" ahead of the game.



The Food and Drug Administration signed off on a Bavarian Nordic A/S monkeypox vaccine plant, a move that allows use in the U.S. of 786,000 doses made at the facility in Denmark.

— Rural broadband funding to be announced. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack will announce $401 million in grants and loan guarantees for rural broadband. Yesterday, he announced a $43.3 million federal investment in California food banks.

— Spirit Airlines and JetBlue agree to merge. Their deal was announced a day after Spirit and Frontier terminated their proposed agreement after monthslong talks. JetBlue will pay $33.50 in cash for Spirit shares, which closed at $24.30 yesterday. But antitrust regulators could derail the merger or demand stiff concessions.


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