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Weekly Survey of Gold and Silver Prices

Single Ounce Silver Market Price Benchmark

Money Daily has been providing business and financial market news, views, and coverage on a nearly continuous basis since 2006. Complete archives are available at moneydaily.blogspot.com.

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Stocks Set to Close Out Week, Month with Healthy Gains; Gold Soars Past $2,200/oz.

Thursday, March 28, 2024, 9:33 am ET

Another day, more all-time highs for the various indices. The Dow posted its best gain since... last Wednesday.

There's nothing at all surprising that stocks continue to rise in the face of mixed - at best - economic data, geo-political and military tensions, and enormous deficits.

Look at one year charts of the national indices of Western nations, and they all look the same. You can find charts for most of them HERE. The DAX, CAC-40, IBEX, FTSE, NIKKEI, All Ordinaries, Kospi, even India's Sensex, all exhibit similar patterns with a sharp bottom near the end of October of last year and then straight up (well, almost). The Nikkei is up 33% over that expanse. The Dow, on October 27, closed at 32,417.59, good for a gain of 18.5%. Not too shabby.

The S&P has packed on 1131 points over the same period. That's a 21.5% return in just five months. The NASDAQ hasn't missed the punchbowl either. It's up a cool 3,800 points since October 26, a profit of 23.2%, best of the bunch.

The week and the month - both of which close out today because of a market holiday for Good Friday tomorrow - are locks for a positive returns, marking the fifth straight month of gains for the majors.

Just to note, Gold, on the COMEX continuous contract, reached another record today, $2,236.30. It's up nearly eight percent this year.

There will be more analysis of this astonishing rally and more in Sunday's WEEKEND WRAP. See you then.

Happy Easter

At the Close, Wednesday, March 27, 2024:
Dow: 39,760.08, +477.78 (+1.22%)
NASDAQ: 16,399.52, +83.82 (+0.51%)
S&P 500: 5,248.49, +44.91 (+0.86%)
NYSE Composite: 18,255.24, +196.04 (+1.09%)


Stock Market Rally Nears Fifth Straight Month of Gains; Trump, DJT Soars; Oil Lower as EIA Reports Crude Build

Wednesday, March 27, 2024, 9:30 am ET

Even as the S&P and Dow indices fell for the third straight day (NASDAQ down two straight), the stock market rally that began at the end of October, 2023, seems to have enough momentum to carry it through to a fifth straight month of wins for the major averages.

There are only two days of trading left in March, as financial markets in the U.S. will be closed for Good Friday. Recent large losses on the Dow recently have put the industrial blue chips in a precarious position nearing the end of the month. Closing at 38,996.39 on February 29, the Dow is up less than one percent in March, or just shy of 286 points.

With futures pointing towards the heavens Wednesday morning, it appears that the "all systems go" signal has been flashed, though stock futures have been highly unreliable predictors of the cash market of late.

Besides the collapse of Baltimore Harbor's Francis Scott Key Bridge on Tuesday, the big news came in the form of a merger between the SPAC, Digital World Acquisition Corp. (DWAC) and Donald Trump's Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), which began trading yesterday under the former president's initials, DJT. The stock of DWAC - as far as we can tell - converted on a 1:1 ratio into stock of the new company, DJT.

For most of the past year, the original SPAC, DWAC, had been trading in a range between 12 and 18. In anticipation of the merger announcement, the stock had been moving higher since the second week of January and reached as high as $77 per share on Tuesday before sliding back to a more reasonable 57.99 at the close. This morning has given the stock renewed momentum, however, as word of Trump's great fortune has induced a flurry of speculation behind the company's main product, Truth Social, the Twitter-like social media app that caters to conservatives and has vowed to be a beacon for free speech on the internet. Shares are up about 20 percent in the pre-market

Despite grumblings from the left, Truth Social has gathered a following of more than five million members according to the usually unreliable Business Insider, though many believe the numbers are closer to eight million and growing. While that's tiny by comparison to Meta Platform's Facebook or Elon Musk's X.com, the power of Trump's influence should not be understated. Remember, in addition to being the president from 2016 to 2020, he is a very savvy businessman and has a strong possibility of winning the White House again.

His legion of MAGA followers (at least 75 million strong) may not all join up to Truth Social or buy stock in the company, but many will, probably enough to keep the price high for an extended period of time. Trump himself stands to make even more money via stock awards if the share price sustains certain levels, and they appear to be on the verge of doing just that.

While the company doesn't make money as of yet other than what it pulls in by selling stock, the future appears bright.

On a similar note, Reddit (RDDT), which IPO'd just last week at $34, was up another eight percent on Tuesday, perhaps in a symbolic manner with DJT, a possible sign that if companies and sites like Google, Facebook, and even X.com continue to throttle free speech or are ridden with bots and misinformation, maybe it's time for a change.

Elsewhere, oil pricing is lower after the American Petroleum Institute (API) reported crude stockpiles increasing by more than nine million barrels, the biggest gain in six weeks. Gasoline continued its streak of drawdowns, however, the eighth straight week of declining reserves, which has seen prices at the pump rise substantially across the U.S.

At the Close, Tuesday, March 26, 2024:
Dow: 39,282.33, -31.31 (-0.08%)
NASDAQ: 16,315.70, -68.77 (-0.42%)
S&P 500: 5,203.58, -14.61 (-0.28%)
NYSE Composite: 18,059.19, -17.96 (-0.10%)


Bitcoin, Gold, Silver Leading Stocks in March; Baltimore Harbor Closed as Ship Collapses Bridge

Tuesday, March 26, 2024, 9:15 am ET

This is the final week of trading for March, and, so far, it's been pretty good.

Stocks have been rising, though the Dow has been the real laggard, up less than one percent while the S&P and NASDAQ have gained more than two percent. What's amazing is how well precious metals have done over the same expanse of time. Gold is up more than eight percent this month, silver, better than ten percent. WTI crude oil has gained more than five percent, though all of that has been over the pst two weeks, breaking out from around $78 to the current $82/barrel.

U.S. stocks are also lagging behind Europe. The DAX, CAC-40, and the FTSE are all up by three percent or more, though some of that is due to big gains today in those markets while the U.S. is still not open. Spain's IBEX is up an amazing eight percent in March, out-pacing its rivals on the continent.

Judging just from one-month and one-year charts, it appears that U.S. stocks are hitting some headwinds, which would be natural after five consecutive months of gains. Sooner or later, there's going to be a correction, though it's unlikely to be a major one. There's still an abundance of liquidity, especially when it comes to Wall Street, stocks, and bitcoin, which is up close to 20% for the month. All of the gains in bitcoin could vanish in a moment, though that also is unlikely to occur, thanks to the same liquidity.

The betting money is still on stocks (and bitcoin), though the safety plays in gold and silver have been outperforming them this month.

On a year-to-date basis, bitcoin's 60% return outshines all the rest, followed by the S&P and NASDAQ (~ +10%), gold (+7%), the Dow and silver (+4%). All in all, a mix of 80% stocks, 10% bitcoin, and 10% gold/silver has performed pretty well, with the precious metal part of that allocation acting like insurance against catastrophe, which doesn't seem to be anywhere in sight.

Early this morning, about 1:28 am ET, the cargo ship "Dali", flying under the flag of Singapore, crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge over the Patapsco River leading to Baltimore Harbor. The ship, which was apparently leaving the harbor, hit one of the main supports and collapsed the entire bridge. Reports are circulating that the ship lost power just prior to the crash. Since the collapse occurred at a relatively quiet time for bridge traffic, the loss of life was minimal. There were some workers on the bridge and a reported seven cars, though those numbers are very, very sketchy and preliminary. Had this happened mid-day or rush hour, the death toll would be in the hundreds.

This is a major calamity for not just Baltimore, which has had more than its fair share of problems the past decade, but for much of the East coast, as the harbor will be shut down indefinitely, at least for a few weeks, if not months, as the wreckage is removed and the shipping lanes reopened. Baltimore is one of the major ports on the Eastern seaboard, exporting a huge tonnage of coal and other raw materials. Chocolate and coffee are among the main imports that will be affected. Coffee prices in the U.S. have increased at least 25=30% over the past two years. If the supply chain is broken for longer than a few weeks, expect retail coffee prices to ramp another 20% higher.

At this early juncture, there's simply too much speculation over how long the port will be closed or even partially functional. In any case, it's going to be a major headache for commuters and Baltimore officials, though there are tunnels underneath the bridge which will provide alternative routes, though they will likely be crammed with automotive traffic.

With U.S. markets opening in about half an hour, stock futures are still positive, though losing ground. Following Monday's declines, today, and the rest of this shortened week (markets closed Good Friday) may be challenging.

At the Close, Monday, March 25, 2024:
Dow: 39,313.64, -162.26 (-0.41%)
NASDAQ: 16,384.47, -44.35 (-0.27%)
S&P 500: 5,218.19, -15.99 (-0.31%)
NYSE Composite: 18,077.15, -34.88 (-0.19%)


WEEKEND WRAP: Welcome to "Weimerica", Where Everything Costs More, Every Day

Sunday, March 24, 2024, 12:04 pm ET

The second FOMC meeting of the year went off as expected with no change to the federal funds target rate policy. The Fed did intimate, rather explicitly, according to the dot-plots within the quarterly economic projections, that they were prepared to cut interest rates three times this year.

Wall Street was overjoyed, to say the least. Stocks rallied strongly both Wednesday afternoon and all day Thursday. Even though the rally faded on Friday, the major indices all managed new highs during the week. Gold, silver, oil, and bitcoin all gained mid-week before giving some back Thursday and Friday, most notably, silver, which made a three-month high at $25.93 before being beaten back to close at $24.84 per ounce.


Stocks

Outside of the FOMC's dot-plots, upon which no fewer than nine members placed their marks precisely within the 4.625% box, the story of the week was Reddit's IPO, which was offered at $34/share and boosted to $50.44 on the first day of trading, like it was 1999 all over again. The gain on day one implied a market cap for the overgrown message board of more than $9 billion. Some sanity returned on Friday, sending shares back to $46.00 to close out the week.

Now that the FOMC gala is over and done until next month, investors will be looking for indications from the final 4Q 2023 GDP estimate which will appear Thursday prior to the opening bell. The number is likely to be close to the second estimate of 3.2%, offering everybody another opportunity to realize how well Bidemomics is working for Americans.

There's so much liquidity in the market that stocks could just continue higher. March is set to mark the fifth consecutive month of gains for the major indices.


Treasury Yield Curve Rates

Date 1 Mo 2 Mo 3 Mo 4 Mo 6 Mo 1 Yr
02/16/2024 5.48 5.51 5.44 5.45 5.31 4.98
02/23/2024 5.49 5.51 5.46 5.46 5.32 5.00
03/01/2024 5.54 5.49 5.42 5.41 5.27 4.94
03/08/2024 5.51 5.48 5.46 5.40 5.34 4.92
03/15/2024 5.52 5.48 5.48 5.41 5.38 5.05
03/22/2024 5.51 5.47 5.46 5.40 5.34 4.98

Date 2 Yr 3 Yr 5 Yr 7 Yr 10 Yr 20 Yr 30 Yr
02/16/2024 4.64 4.43 4.29 4.31 4.30 4.58 4.45
02/23/2024 4.67 4.45 4.28 4.28 4.26 4.51 4.37
03/01/2024 4.54 4.32 4.17 4.20 4.19 4.46 4.33
03/08/2024 4.48 4.25 4.06 4.08 4.09 4.36 4.26
03/15/2024 4.72 4.51 4.33 4.33 4.31 4.55 4.43
03/22/2024 4.59 4.36 4.20 4.22 4.22 4.47 4.39

The treasury market was moved by Powell and the FOMC, managing a rally in all long-dated maturities, led by the 2s, 3s, and 5s, -13, -15, -13 basis points, respectively. Nothing much is going to change in the multi-trillion bond market so long as Treasury continues its insatiable appetite for greenbacks and the Fed and its primary dealers control flows, picking up what foreigners are leaving on the table.

Demand for T-bills, notes, and bonds will not suffer in this controlled environment. Spreads were little changed, as 2s-10s remains range-bound between -31 and -41 for two months running. Full spectrum (-112) will not have any meaningful impact until it ascends above -95, which it hasn't done since last November.

The Fed seems to be completely at ease over the two-year yield curve inversion, the longest in history. No telling how this plays oout in the long run, but there are suspicions that it won't end well.

Spreads:

2s-10s
9/15/2023: -69
9/22/2023: -66
9/29/2023: -44
10/06/2023: -30
10/13/2023: -41
10/20/2023: -14
10/27/2023: -15
11/03/2023: -26
11/10/2023: -43
11/17/2023: -44
11/24/2023: -45
12/01/2023: -34
12/08/2023: -48
12/15/2023: -53
12/22/2023: -41
12/29/2023: -35
1/5/2024: -35
1/12/2024: -18
1/19/2024: -24
1/26/2024: -19
2/2/2024: -33
2/9: -31
2/16: -34
2/23: -41
3/1: -35
3/8: -39
3/15: -41
3/22: -37

Full Spectrum (30-days - 30-years)
9/15/2023: -109
9/22/2023: -99
9/29/2023: -82
10/06/2023: -64
10/13/2023: -82
10/20/2023: -47
10/27/2023: -54
11/03/2023: -76
11/10/2023: -80
11/17/2023: -93
11/24/2023: -95
12/01/2023: -105
12/08/2023: -123
12/15/2023: -154
12/22/2023: -149
12/29/2023: -157
1/5/2024: -133
1/12/2024: -135
1/19/2024: -118
1/26/2024: -116
2/2/2024: -127
2/9: -117
2/16: -103
2/23: -112
3/1: -121
3/8: -125
3/15: -109
3/22: -112


Oil/Gas

WTI crude oil ended the week only slightly higher, at $80.82, just above last week's close-out of $80.55, though mid-week, the price nearly touched $83, a five-month high.

Crude may go higher still, as Ukraine appears intent on blowing up Russian refineries and supply depots. Humorously - if anything about the slaughter in Eastern Europe can be described as humorous - the Biden administration chided Zelenskyy and Ukraine military leaders over the bombings, implying that despite rancor from Washington over continuing the war, the oil price and re-elections in congress and the White House are all that really matter.

With militaries around the world on edge, oil supplies could be impacted negatively at any time, but the controlling interests on both sides - East and West - are clearly not in favor of sending fuel prices skyrocketing, at least not for now.

Gasbuddy.com reports the national average for a gallon of unleaded regular gas at the pump at $3.52, up another six cents, the same increase as last week. Prices continue rising across the country, now at a six-month high.

The Northeast and the West remain the places the most expensive fueling spots, with California closing in on $5.00, already there in some locations, with the state average at $4.985. Pennsylvania, atop the Northeast, increased another eight cents to $3.66. Illinois, the Midwest outlier, gapped higher during the week by 22 cents, to $3.90 a gallon. Many locations in and around Chicago are already over $4.00.

There have been no states with gas prices under $3.00 for two weeks. Of all places, Colorado shows the lowest price of $3.02, followed by Mississippi ($3.06). The Southeast cluster from Okalhoma east to Alabama are all hovering in a range between $3.13 (Louisiana) and $3.19, other than Georgia ($3.33) and Florida ($3.49).

California, Washington ($4.42), Nevada ($4.29), and Oregon ($4.17) comprise the $4+ club. Arizona ($3.74) is also elevated, but was up only four cents this week. It may be nothing other than tin-foil-hat musing, but gas prices may begin to be tied to election prospects, a weird pay-less-to-play game.


Bitcoin

This week: $64,938.60
Last week: $67,382.40
2 weeks ago: $69,603.00
6 months ago: $26,250.20
One year ago: $27,466.10

Now that bitcoin and other cryptos have been pumped higher for profit-taking, prices may continue to languish. Wall Street got their spot ETFs in place, which isn't really crypto, but rather, speculation of crypto. Like everything else Wall Street touches, bitcoin and the rest of the alt-space coins are corrupted to the maximum.


Precious Metals

Gold:Silver Ratio: 88.09; last week: 84.65

Per COMEX continuous contracts:

Gold price 2/23: $2,045.80
Gold price 3/1: $2,091.60
Gold price 3/8: $2,186.20
Gold price 3/15: $2,159.40
Gold price 2/22: $2,188.20

Silver price 2/23: $23.19
Silver price 3/1: $23.34
Silver price 3/8: $24.52
Silver price 3/15: $25.51
Silver price 3/22: $24.84

Gold reached fresh all-time highs during the week, then routinely were shunted by the COMEX, which is quickly losing control of prices outside of London and New York. The Shanghai and Moscow exchanges are likely to emerge as the new price-setters. Buyers around the world should take cues from the physical markets, which are screaming higher. On eBay, plenty of gold coins are emerging, now that the gold price is higher by nearly ten-fold since 2000.

One can't blame holders of precious metals for cashing out at what they may feel is an appropriate time. There is massive human movement across the globe. Dollars are still highly exchangeable, but a few well-hidden gold coins are serviceable for crossing borders. Anybody feeling anxious about the future of the dollar or any fiat currency for that matter, may be taking matters into their own hands towards the logical conclusion of gold as the ultimate protector of wealth. Silver remains a viable store of value, but better for barter overall. $1 silver coins and fractional coins are flying out of dealers and on ebay along with gold in any form. Premiums, especially for silver, remain high.

Here are the most recent prices for common one ounce gold and silver items sold on eBay (numismatics excluded, free shipping included):

Item/Price Low High Average Median
1 oz silver coin: 30.00 47.50 38.51 38.92
1 oz silver bar: 32.00 45.00 37.06 35.48
1 oz gold coin: 2,222.77 2,298.00 2,264.81 2,262.22
1 oz gold bar: 2,175.00 2,289.29 2,254.54 2,266.18

The Single Ounce Silver Market Price Benchmark (SOSMPB) zoomed higher thanks to demand for 1 oz coins, and higher than the previous two weeks, rising to $37.49, a gain of 72 cents from the March 17 price of $36.77 per troy ounce.


WEEKEND WRAP

Spring has sprung and March Madness proceeds. Stocks are unlikely to turn lower in any significant manner prior to the election, bearing in mind that Jerome Powell and his Federal Reserve cohorts insist there is nothing even remotely political about lowering interest rates during a liquidity free-for-all. Somebody coined the term "Weimerica" to describe current U.S. economic policy. Zimbabwe and Venezuela are increasingly annoyed by the U.S. giving hyper-inflation a bad rap.

97% of the population probably has no idea of what's occurring as prices begin ramping higher again. They fail to understand that even two or three percent inflation is evil, and theft by a thousand cuts. Prices for food and fuel will never again come down unless there's radical reform of not only the government, but of industry and people's buying habits. When Dollar Tree changed their motto from "Everything's $1.00" to "Everything's $1.25" the handwriting could not have been clearer.

A lot of people still don't get it, but they will, hard, repeatedly, and without lubrication.

At the Close, Friday, March 22, 2024:
Dow: 39,475.90, -305.47 (-0.77%)
NASDAQ: 16,428.82, +26.98 (+0.16%)
S&P 500: 5,234.18, -7.35 (-0.14%)
NYSE Composite: 18,112.04, -102.09 (-0.56%)

For the Week:
Dow: +761.13 (+1.97%)
NASDAQ: +455.64 (+2.85%)
S&P 500: +117.09 (+2.29%)
NYSE Composite: +263.95 (+1.48%)
Dow Transports: +512.35 (+3.31%)


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idleguy.com July 2024
IdleGuy.com July 2024, Vol. 1 #6