Weekend Readings: Get ready for even more inflation

In the daily column Need to Know for March 4, Steve Goldstein reports on the risk of a second cold war that will alter global supply lines along regional lines and lead to higher prices for various supplies – not just energy commodities.

Read: Wheat futures surge to a 14-year high on fears of war-related supply shortages

More on supply disruptions and how they may affect US consumers:

  • The war between Russia and Ukraine is fueling the “biggest supply shock to global grain markets” in living memory

  • Here’s what will happen to US food prices if wheat futures continue to rise

Invest before rising military spending

The decision by Germany and other western European countries to send arms to Ukraine for its fight against Russia points to a period of increased military spending. Here are 10 aerospace and defense stocks in Europe and the US that analysts expect to rise the most over the next year.

Invest for a long cycle of high energy prices

fact set

This chart shows the increase in front-month contract prices for West Texas Intermediate crude oil, which occurred prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The international oil benchmark, Brent crude, was trading even higher at $112.99 a barrel on March 4th.

Read: Why Russian Oil Won’t Find Buyers Even When Crude Oil Surges Above $100 A Barrel

Even as prices rise, energy companies are becoming more disciplined about spending on exploration and increasing production of oil and natural gas. Instead, that money is paid out to shareholders, including those of those two companies.

Can Bitcoin Plunge Gold As A Safe Haven?

Getty Images

Bitcoin was trading at $37,571 late on February 23, the day before Russian soldiers rolled into Ukraine. Early on March 4, as fighting continued in Ukraine, Bitcoin was trading at $41,509, up 10%. Meanwhile, the price of gold bullion per rolling front month contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose just 2% from $1,910.40 an ounce when it was fixed on February 23rd to $1,946.40 early on March 4th.

Mark Hulbert describes “Bitcoin’s first major test to topple gold as a safe haven asset”.

For more information on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, see Frances Yue’s Distributed Ledger column.

Where could you live when you retire?

Snowmobilers on a trail near Minocqua, Wisconsin.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Silvia Ascarelli writes the Where should I retire? Pillar. This week she’s helping a couple in their 40s who now want to move their family to an “eclectic” area where they can enjoy year-round outdoor activities and stay there when they retire. Which of their three suggestions would you choose?

Try MarketWatch’s pension location tool for your own custom search. It includes data for more than 3,000 US counties and accounts for climate risks.

Curtain for Russia-focused ETFs?

MarketWatch illustration/iStockphoto

Mark DeCambre writes the ETF Wrap column. This week he discusses the possibility that exchange-traded funds focused on Russian equities could be forced to close.

More on Russia ETFs:

  • The NYSE is halting trading of the iShares MSCI Russia ETF and BlackRock supports the decision

  • According to MSCI, the Russian markets are “uninvestable”; Indexes reclassified from emerging to stand-alone

Biden said something important during his State of the Union address that may have been overlooked

President Joe Biden arrives to deliver the State of the Union address as Vice President Kamala Harris (left) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi look on.

Getty Images

During his March 1 State of the Union address, President Joe Biden focused on countering Russian aggression, as well as energy supply challenges, the coronavirus pandemic, the economic recovery and his legislative agenda.

What might have been overlooked was the President’s proposal for Medicare to negotiate drug prices with manufacturers. Alessandra Malito explains how this could be life-changing for millions of people.

Related: Biden’s State of the Union only briefly touches on taxes, but corporations and the wealthy should still pay attention

How to set aside a retirement emergency fund

20th Century Fox Licensing/Merchandising / Everett Collection

Alessandra Malito writes the help me retire Pillar. This week she’s helping a couple who are planning to retire in a few years and have enough investments to cover expenses along with Social Security but want to set up an emergency fund outside of their investment portfolio.

This is not as easy as it might seem. This is how their emergency fund could be structured.

More on retirement and planning for it:

Bargain Stocks

The S&P 500 index was down 9% through March 3 from its all-time closing high on Jan. 3. But among constituents in the benchmark index, 122 stocks fell 15% or more over the period.

Jeff Reeves recommends these 10 stocks before they rally.

The plight of students who owe money to colleges

Jillian Berman examines how colleges have sued former students who owe them money, even during the pandemic.

The challenges of a strong labor market

Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Domino’s Pizza Inc. has performed extremely well, with a 10-year total return of 1,163% for its stock through March 3, compared to a return of 288% for the S&P 500. Now, Domino’s faces a challenge hiring enough delivery people in a tight labor market, as reported by Tonya Garcia.

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Brian Lowry

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