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@theMarket: Inflation Is Running 'Hot'
By Bill Schmick,
03:26PM / Friday, June 11, 2021
May's Consumer Price Index (CPI) jumped the most since 2009. That follows a similar gain over the past three months that has brought the total increase to 6.9 percent on an annualized pace.   That is the largest gain in 13 years.   Excluding the notoriously volatile food and energy components, however, the "core" CPI rose by 0.7 percent, which was still larger than the forecast of 0.5 percent. Readers might scratch their head when looking at those numbers, since excluding food and energy makes little sense to us, who are faced with weekly rises in both commodities.   The difference is that the price of chicken or a $3 gallon of gas

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The Retired Investor: Want equality? Start With Better Jobs
By Bill Schmick,
05:08PM / Thursday, June 10, 2021
Jobs. They are the primary focus of the Federal Reserve Bank, the Biden administration, the Republican opposition, and most U.S. corporations. Supposedly, with all this high-powered attention, we still can't find enough workers to fill all the positions available. Has anyone questioned why?   One important reason might be that 60 percent of jobs in the U.S. are considered "mediocre" or "of poor quality," according to a recent Gallup survey. If you combine those findings with the fact that many workers in the service economy are poorly compensated, the problem begins to come into clearer focus.   If you listen to the free market critics,

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@theMarket: A Churn at the Top
By Bill Schmick,
04:39PM / Friday, June 04, 2021
It was a sleepy week in the markets for the major averages. Stocks flirted with the old highs, only to fall back by the end of the week. Energy and a few meme stocks occupied most of the attention.   Crude oil spiked higher, nearing almost $70 a barrel (bbl.), pulling energy stocks along with it. Energy traders were heartened by the latest OPEC meeting. The cartel expects demand to outstrip supply by more than a million barrels a day for the foreseeable future. As a result, the members intend to gradually increase production as the global economy gathers steam. Most analysts expect oil to breach $70/bbl. before taking a break.   Certain stocks such as AMC and

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The Retired Investor: The Movies Return
By Bill Schmick,
04:47PM / Thursday, June 03, 2021
The Memorial Day weekend launched the unofficial beginning of the summer season. Movie theater owners are holding their breath in hopes that consumers, once vaccinated, may start to return to the cinema. Is it a false hope?   Much has been written about the demise of the movie theater, even before the world was ravaged by the novel coronavirus pandemic. Sky-high prices for tickets and the exorbitant costs of concessionary items like $8 bottles of water, and $15 baskets of popcorn had made the movie-going experience almost as costly as a rock concert.   At the same time, consumers were being offered the choice of sitting at home, while watching a steady

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The Retired Investor: Carbon Market Comes of Age
By Bill Schmick,
03:41PM / Thursday, May 27, 2021
At the beginning of this year, the global price of carbon was $24.05 per ton of CO2. In order to achieve the emissions reduction goals of members of the Paris Agreement, prices need to reach a range of $50-$100 per ton of CO2. That makes buying carbon an attractive investment.   The ongoing concerns about climate change have spawned several emission trading schemes over the last decade. The reasoning is simple: if left unchecked, carbon emissions (among other factors) will have a material impact on our environment and will do severe damage to the global economy.   The ratification of the Kyoto Protocol of 2007, by world governments, effectively addressed the

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