business news in context, analysis with attitude

…with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

• The Wall Street Journal has a story about the latest index of consumer sentiment issued by the University of Michigan, which concludes that it was “98.4 in March, up from 93.8 in February. That was above the 97.8 that economists had expected and the preliminary reading reported earlier in the month.

The survey’s chief economist, Richard Curtin, says that “rising incomes were accompanied by lower expected year-ahead inflation rates, resulting in more favorable real income expectations.”

Curtin also tells the Journal that “the last time a larger proportion of households reported income gains was in 1966.”

• The Washington Post reports that “the Texas attorney general has launched an investigation to determine whether the San Antonio City Council violated religious-liberty laws by barring Chick-fil-A from opening a restaurant in the city’s airport.

“The council voted late last week to exclude Chick-fil-A from a concession agreement with San Antonio International Airport, citing, in part, the religious views associated with the fast-food restaurant chain – specifically, the anti-same-sex marriage values.”

Calling the decision religious discrimination, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said “the Constitution’s protection of religious liberty is somehow even better than Chick-fil-A’s chicken. Unfortunately, I have serious concerns that both are under assault at the San Antonio airport.”

Shortly after the San Antonio decision to exclude Chick-fil-A went public, the Buffalo, NY, airport reportedly made a similar move.

I was a little surprised by this, mostly because it was my impression last time this all came up that it has been pretty well established that while Chick-fil-A’s top leadership said he believed in the Biblical definition of marriage, the company - and especially its franchisees, many of whom did not need to be associated with that belief - had done their best to say that belief does not necessarily equate with discrimination. I’d suggest that maybe someone is looking for a fight that is going to get some publicity, but I also think it is important never to minimize the feelings of someone who may feel personally attacked by LGBTQ-oriented discrimination, however it may be manifested.

MarketWatch reports that Kellogg Co. near a deal to sell its Keebler, Famous Amos and fruit snacks units to Ferrero in a deal worth between $1 billion and $1.5 billion … Kellogg has been looking to sell some of its snack-food brands for months as it looks to refocus on its core products.

The story notes that “Ferrero owns Nutella and bought Nestle's U.S. candy business in January 2018,” and that “Ferrero beat out Hostess Brands” for Kellogg’s cookie brands.
KC's View: