Inflation is the rise in prices of goods and services in an economy over a set time period. When prices rise, for the same level of income, the consumer can purchase less, which means they have less purchasing power and are “poorer” compared to the previous time period. The inflation rate is the annualized level of price changes. Excessive growth of the money supply is one cause of inflation. When the government adds more money to an economy, it devalues each bill already in circulation, lowering the value, as it now will take more money to purchase the same good or service. Inflation is not a problem if it is very low; but, once it escalates, it causes severe economic problems.
Do you feel wealthier today compared to last year? According to the Federal Reserve, you should, as the household net worth of Americans rose 2.5% between the second and third quarters of 2013 for a total of $77.3 trillion. (Source: “Financial Accounts of the United States,” Federal Reserve, December 9, 2013.) The Federal Reserve calculates household net worth by looking at the value of stocks, homes, and other assets, minus mortgages and debts. In fact, the nominal total wealth is at a record high. Adjusted for inflation, the current level of net worth is approximately one percent below the peak prior to the Great Recession. On paper, it appears as though econom ... Read More
As far as investment and trading opportunities go, gold is currently the stock market’s poor cousin. No one really craves the yellow ore at this time. The reality is that unless you are looking for jewelry, there’s really no reason to buy the metal right now. Back in September, when I last discussed the prospects for this precious metal, I wrote that “in the absence of further turmoil in Ukraine, gold prices could deteriorate to below $1,200, possibly even $1,180.” The precious metal did bounce to the $1,225 level recently on concerns surrounding ISIS and the economic situations in both Europe and China. Since then, it has also collapsed to below $1, ... Read More
When it comes to America’s income levels, we continue to be a nation of haves and have-nots—the latter being the majority. There are about 48 million Americans collecting food stamps and many more are struggling to pay rent and put food on the table. In fact, we are now also seeing once-middle-class families going to food banks. The government wants you to believe all is great, but that’s not true for everyone. Jobs are being created, but the majority are low-income service jobs that don’t require higher-level education. Yet highly educated workers are taking jobs that are far below their skill group and experie ... Read More
The stock market appears anxious to move higher to new record highs. In the past week, the Federal Reserve released its Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting minutes that suggested it wanted to see stronger, sustained growth before deciding on when to raise interest rates. This includes both economic growth and jobs creation. On Thursday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) will report the second reading of the second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP), which came in at a surprising ... Read More
On one hand, it’s great the economic growth is showing renewed progress as the advance reading of the second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth came in at an annualized four percent, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. (Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis web site, July 30, 2014.) Now I realize this is only the advance reading and things can change over the next few weeks as more credible estimates come into play, but I’m sure the Federal Reserve is keeping close tabs on the numbers. Investors are also likely quite nervous. It appears that the weak showing in the ... Read More