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What We Read Today 04 April 2015

Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries (and sometimes longer ones) of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.

This feature is published every day late afternoon New York time. For early morning review of headlines see "The Early Bird" published every day in the early am at GEI News (membership not required for access to "The Early Bird".).


Every day most of this column ("What We Read Today") is available only to GEI members.

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10 Worst States for Retirement: 2015 (Dan Berman, ThinkAdvisor)  Weather, crime and taxes make some places less desirable than others.

See the 10 best states for retirement (Cori Hengst,  The Sun Belt has long held a natural allure for retiring Americans. Yet, in many cases, you can make a strong argument that the best states to retire are actually located farther north.


Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world






South Korea

Why did Commodity Prices Move Together?  (Manisha Pradhanaga, Triple Crisis)  It is not unusual for the prices of related commodities to move together, but over the last 20 years the prices of virtually all commodities have been highly correlated.  See graph below for prices of five commodities that are normally unrelated since 1995.  The author suggests that it is financialization of commodity markets which has taken control away from producers and users of commodities and turned it over to financial interests which act to produce higher volatility and increased covariance.


Reis: Mall Vacancy Rate declined in Q1 (Bill McBride, Calculated Risk)  Reis reported that the vacancy rate for regional malls was decreased to 7.9% in Q1 2015 from 8.0% in Q4 (cycle peak of 9.4% in Q3 2011).  For Neighborhood and Community malls (strip malls), the vacancy rate decreased to 10.1% in Q1, from 10.2% in Q4 (cycle peak 11.1% in Q3 2011).

Econintersect:  We are not sure what these numbers mean for the macroeconomy in light of the rapid growth of online shopping in the 21st century.  The fact that vacancy rates have declined over the last four years is a definite sign of economic growth but does the recent flattening of the curves mean anything ominous?  Or does it just represent a shift in retail shopping patterns?

Click for large image at Calculated Risk.

Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

Larry Summers and Ben Bernanke are having the most important blog fight ever (The Washington Post)  MOST important?  Really?

What’s Wrong with the Economy—and with Economics? (The New York Review of Books)

Please stand by? Four stocks with technical difficulties (CNBC)

J&J and Google team up in robotic surgery (Seeking Alpha)  Hat tip to Roger Erickson who wonders:  "Someday will we be able to have our surgery done by a robot, in the back of a driverless car?"

Ferri’s Forecast for Next 30 Years (ThinkAdvisor)  The Portfolio Solutions principal says mean reversion will weigh on assets.

Good Human! These Pups Trained Their Obedient Owners To Scratch, Pet, Rub On Command (Huffington Post)  These doggy behaviors will be very familiar to most dog owners (and some cat owners, as well).

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