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The Retired Investor: Beware the Delta Variant
By Bill Schmick,
04:01PM / Thursday, June 24, 2021
Airplanes are full, parkways are bumper to bumper, and restaurants are packed. The summer is in full swing, and for many, the coronavirus is a thing of the past. Let's hope it stays that way.   The last thing I want to do is spoil the re-opening party. Afterall, we deserve to feel good, go out, meet family and friends without a mask, even chance a hug now and then. The one fly in all of our ointments may be the onset of an extremely contagious, and virulent coronavirus mutation dubbed the "delta variant."   You have probably read about this super bug and its devastating impact on the population of India. It was first detected in that country in

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The Retired Investor: Chlorine, Cars and the Supply Chain Challenge
By Bill Schmick,
04:35PM / Thursday, June 17, 2021
Supply chain shortages are showing up across the nation. Some items, such as chlorine for America's pools and used cars, just illustrate a lesson we need to learn.    The chlorine shortages illustrate why supply chains are so important and how fragile they can be when faced with something as devastating as the pandemic. Last year, when lockdowns kept most Americans hunkered in their homes, an enormous home improvement wave swept through the country. Demand for home offices on the inside, and new recreational improvements on the outside, skyrocketed.   Gazebos, firepits, and swimming pools were just some of the items that consumers decided would make

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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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