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Russian oil is still flowing in huge volumes even as EU sanctions and a price cap are less than a week away.

Markets Insider 11/30/2022 (Phil Rosen)

Happy hump day, Opening Bell crew. I'm Phil Rosen. Right now I'm thinking about how one of the most historically-reliable recession indicators is flashing its loudest warning in decades. 

Any guesses? 

You'd be right if your mind turned to the bond market. Treasury yields a few days back saw their most extreme inversion since 1981. That's back when Paul Volcker was Fed Chair, and unemployment reached levels that surpassed those of the Great Financial Crisis.

Commentators remain split on whether a recession is in fact impending. To find out more, later today I'll be watching Jerome Powell's speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington. 

(You can tune in, too).

He's expected to touch on the labor market, while also reiterating that central bankers will continue their inflation battle into 2023. 

But for this morning, let's turn our attention to oil. 

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1. European governments still can't agree on a price cap for Russian oil even as the December 5 deadline is less than a week away. Nations were supposed to announce their decision last week, but so far have remained mum on the matter. 

There's a divide on how low to set the cap. A higher price ceiling would minimize damage to European energy flows, but a lower cap would mean more pain for Moscow's export revenues. 

Poland, for example, is committed to a $30 price cap

"The Poles are completely uncompromising on the price, without suggesting an acceptable alternative," one EU diplomat said, according to a Reuters report. "Clearly there is growing annoyance with the Polish position."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, too, has insisted on a cap as low as $30. He said last week that a limit being considered as high as $70 was a "concession" to Moscow. 

Even with a price cap of, say, $65, it's unclear whether that can really make an impact, given that Russia's flagship crude oil — Urals grade crude — is trading 20% below that level already. 

Either way, as European nations debate the particulars, the EU is still scheduled to begin an embargo on Russian seaborne crude starting December 5. 

And yet, Russia remains on track this month to ship its highest amount of oil products since launching its war on Ukraine earlier this year.

Despite the West's repeated condemnation of Russia and President Vladimir Putin, Russia remains Europe's largest single refined oil products supplier

Between now and December 5, what do you think is the most likely outcome here? 

A) The West agrees to a price cap above $40

B) The West agrees to a price cap below $40

C) The West does not agree to any price cap

Let me know on Twitter (@philrosenn) or email me (

In other news:

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell speaks at a news conference following a Federal Open Market Committee meeting, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) Patrick Semansky/AP Photo © Patrick Semansky/AP Photo Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell speaks at a news conference following a Federal Open Market Committee meeting, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) Patrick Semansky/AP Photo

2. US stock futures rise early Wednesday, as investors brace for Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's speech later — on watch for any hint of a pause or pivot in interest rate hikes. Here are the latest market moves.

3. On the docket: Salesforce, Royal Bank of Canada, and Okta Inc, all reporting.

4. These stocks outperform the most in a falling inflation environment. That's according to Goldman Sachs' strategists. See the list of 20 names that all jumped higher than their peers in reaction to the last CPI reading. 

5. The chief economist of Mizuho thinks the Fed is making a complete mistake by cutting down its balance sheet. With quantitative tightening, policymakers are opting not to reinvest the proceeds from maturing bond holdings, which Steven Ricchiuto warned could disrupt market liquidity. His concern stems from the uncertainty around whether this scale of tightening can work alongside an aggressive rate-hiking campaign.

6. US gas prices have fallen to their lowest since February. Americans from coast to coast have seen declines for three weeks now. According to GasBuddy, prices at the pump could drop below $3 before Christmas. 

7. Short seller Carson Block said China no longer prioritizes foreign investment and it's become impossible to predict macro policy under President Xi Jinping. The world's second largest economy no longer telegraphs policy for economic growth that involves "generally treating foreign capital somewhat well." Here's what to know.

8. Goldman Sachs analysts recommended waiting for several signs that the market has bottomed before buying into stocks. Indexes will trade flat for the next 12 months, in the firm's view. But these four options can be smart places to keep your money in the meantime.

9. Investors should give up on the traditional 60-40 portfolio in 2023. Instead, you should adopt this unconventional strategy, according to Manish Kabra, Societe Generale's head of US equity strategy. Here's how he's preparing for slowdowns and high interest rates with a three-part allocation.

Markets Insider © Markets Insider Markets Insider

10. Chinese stocks jumped on Tuesday as Beijing officials fueled speculation they could ease zero-COVID policies. E-commerce heavyweights Alibaba and climbed, as did internet company Baidu. Shares in Chinese and Hong Kong markets also climbed. 

Keep up with the latest markets news throughout your day by checking out The Refresh from Insider, a dynamic audio news brief from the Insider newsroom. Listen here.

Curated by Phil Rosen in New York. Feedback or tips? Tweet @philrosenn or email

Edited by Max Adams (@maxradams) in New York and Hallam Bullock (@hallam_bullock) in London.   

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