Money in a Minute for the Week Ending Jan. 21

Every Friday I recap “news you can use” from the week: a handful of quotes from major (and often expensive) news sources, so you can stay up to date on the news that affects your money without spending a dime and in less than a minute.

Here’s an overview of what happened this week.

Oil Prices Are Likely to Stay Steady This Year—With a Couple of Big Ifs (Jan. 13, Wall Street Journal) Oil prices generally aren’t expected to change dramatically this year, but two big questions loom over that outlook: Will China have the workers needed to rev up its economy as the country loosens its Covid restrictions? And will American energy companies focused on fracking stick to their recent reluctance to bankroll another expensive oil boom?

Investors Seek to Pull $20 Billion From Core Real Estate Funds (Jan. 17, Bloomberg) Some of the biggest investors in US commercial real estate are looking to cash in before property values slide further.

The capital outflows are ratcheting up the pressure on institutional fund managers as higher interest rates batter the commercial real estate market. At the same time, managers such as Blackstone Inc. are seeing retail investors — wealthy individuals in particular — pulling money from real estate bets amid volatile markets.

Bonds Over Stocks: The New 60-40 Portfolio (Jan. 17, Wall Street Journal) Yields are so attractive that some are recommending investors shift from the classic 60-40 portfolio—60% stocks and 40% bonds- a basic, conservative approach that last year delivered its worst returns in decades.

BlackRock proposed a different take on the model portfolio in a recent report: Put 35% in stocks and 65% in bonds. That should let investors achieve a 6.5% annual yield at current prices, according to research by the firm.

**Wall Street’s ‘fear gauge’ flashes warning that stocks might be headed off a cliff (Jan. 17, MarketWatch) Wall Street’s fear gauge has fallen to its lowest level in months, and Wall Street strategists are concerned it could be a warning that the latest stock-market rally is coming to an end.

Specifically, they’re worried that the low level of the Cboe Volatility Index, otherwise known as “the VIX,” suggests that investors may have become complacent about the risks to their portfolios, raising the possibility that they could be caught off guard in a way that exacerbates the potential market mayhem, according to a series of research notes sent to clients and reviewed by MarketWatch.

That Giant Sucking Sound Is the Exit From US Stocks (Jan. 17, Bloomberg) The US and its stock market have led the rest of the planet ever since going into the financial crisis in 2008. Now, with startling swiftness, big investors believe the trend is at last about to reverse.

The latest sign that sentiment has turned emphatically against US stocks comes from Bank of America Corp.’s monthly survey of global fund managers. Remarkably, the proportion of global asset allocators who say they are overweight in US equities has dropped almost to its lowest on record.

Producer Price Increases Decelerated in December (Jan. 18, Wall Street Journal) U.S. supplier price increases decelerated in December to their slowest annual pace since March 2021, adding to signs of cooling inflation.

On a monthly basis, the PPI declined 0.5% in December from November, the first monthly decline since August. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had estimated a 0.1% increase…

Market’s New Year Rally Shows Why Stocks Are Better Than Cash (Jan. 18, Barron’s) A fall in stocks would make the 4% yield on cash look appealing. As of the close on Tuesday, the S&P 500 was up almost 4% so far in 2023, putting it on pace to match the yield cash would produce over 12 months, with more than 11 months left to go.

A Four-Day Workweek Is Less Stressful, but Just as Productive (Jan. 18, Barron’s) Good news for fans of a four-day workweek.

Workers who worked eight fewer hours per week—amounting to one less day—were just as productive as those still clocking in for a standard 40-hour week, according to a newly released real-world study.

The study was conducted by 4 Day Week Global, which collected data on the viability of a four-day workweek.

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I founded Money Talks News in 1991. I’m a CPA, and I have also earned licenses in stocks, commodities, options principal, mutual funds, life insurance, securities supervisor and real estate.

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