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Magnolia Mornings: July 8, 2024

This article first appeared on the Magnolia Tribune.

  • Important state and national stories, market and business news, sports and entertainment, delivered in quick-hit fashion to start your day informed.

In Mississippi

1. Gas Prices Hold Steady for Mississippi Drivers

At an average of $2.96 per gallon, Mississippi drivers can purchase the least expensive gasoline in the country, edging out neighbors in Louisiana by 7 cents/gallon and neighbors in Arkansas by 10 cents/gallon. The highest price fuel in the country can be found in California, where residents pay $4.79/gallon.

Overall, prices for Mississippians have held steady in the last year, down a single penny year-over-year. Prices have fallen fairly dramatically, though, since reaching an all-time high of $4.53 in June of 2022.

2. Blessing of the Fleet

On Sunday, shrimpers in Biloxi participated in the annual Blessing of the Fleet. The tradition is in its 95th year at the start of shrimping season along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. St. Michael Catholic Church hosts the ceremony annually with a week of festivities that culminate with the naming of a Shrimp King and Queen. This year’s Shrimp King is Van Pham, a shrimper with more than 40 years experience. The Shrimp Queen for 2024 is Baylie Gollott-Ho.

A wreath was dropped to honor those who have died while fishing and Monsignor Dominick Fullam sprinkled the boats with holy water.

National News & Foreign Policy

1. Hurricane Beryl hits Texas, more than 750,000 without power

After carving a path of destruction through the Caribbean and Mexico, Hurricane Beryl reformed in the Gulf of Mexico before making landfall on the Texas coast southwest of Houston as a Category 1 hurricane around 4 a.m. Monday morning. Top sustained wind speeds were reported at 80 mph. CenterPoint Energy said the storm left 750,000 customers without power before daybreak. Officials have warned that the storm could cause flooding throughout the region.

2. France’s Snap Elections Yield More Chaos than Certainty

French President Emmanuel Macron had called for parliamentary “snap election” to provide France with a “moment of clarification.” But on Sunday, French voters failed to elect a majority government, splitting French Parliament between the left, center and right, and yielding more chaos in the European Union’s second-largest economy.

Many had expected Marie Le Pen’s National Rally party, often described as being “far right” or “nationalist,” to prevail in the election. While National Rally gained a considerable number of seats — 140 up from 89 in 2022 — it finished third overall and well short the 289 seats needed to claim a majority in French Parliament. The New Popular Front, a coalition of leftist organizations, finished first with 180 seats, ahead of Macron’s more centrist coalition, which finished with 160 seats.

Sports & Entertainment

1. Ocean Springs native named to MLB All-Star Team

Ocean Springs native Garrett Crochet has been named to the All-Star Game. The Chicago White Sox pitcher is 6-6 on the season, but that record does not tell the full story. Crochet leads the majors in strikeouts (146) and has maintained a 3.08 ERA in 19 starts.

Crochet is one of 32 first-time All-Stars named to this year’s game. The full All-Star roster can be seen here.

The 2024 MLB All-Star Game will be held on July 16 at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

Markets & Business

1. Market’s Record Setting Run Could Continue

The Dow Jones closed at 39,375 on Friday. The Nasdaq closed over 18,353. The S&P 500, the broadest of the indices closed over 5,567. All have been on record runs that stock market analysts do not anticipate stalling any time soon.

Analysts at Oppenheimer have raised their S&P 500 target for year end to 5,900, a roughly 6 percent gain from current levels. Analysts at RBC Capital Markets have raised their index target to 5,700. Markets have been driven to a degree by innovations around AI in recent months, as chip producer NVIDIA and others at the forefront of the technology have soared.

2. Boeing to plead guilty to criminal fraud tied to 737 Max crashes

Boeing will plead guilty to criminal fraud charges related to the manufacturing of the 737 Max, a plane involved in multiple fatal crashes. The deal is likely to include fines of up to $487.2 million. The Justice Department has asked the court reduce the fine by $243.6 million, the amount Boeing paid under a previous settlement agreement.

The felon label could impact Boeing’s ability to sell to the U.S. government under current law. According to CNBC, roughly 32 percent of Boeing’s $78 billion in revenue last year came from its defense, space and security unit that sells to the government.

This article first appeared on the Magnolia Tribune and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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