Top Ten: Weekend reads: Get ready for even more inflation

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In the daily Need to Know column on March 4, Steve Goldstein reports on the risk of a second Cold War transforming global supply lines along regional lines, leading to higher prices for various supplies — not only energy commodities.

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

More on supply disruptions and how they can affect U.S. consumers:

The Russia-Ukraine war is fueling the ‘biggest supply shock to global grain markets’ in living memory

Here’s what will happen to U.S. food prices as wheat futures keep surging

Investing ahead of increased military spending

The decision by Germany and other western European countries to send weapons 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 U.S. that analysts expect to rise the most over the next year.

Investing for a long cycle of high energy prices

FactSet

This chart shows the increase in front-month contract prices for West Texas Intermediate crude oil that was happening even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The international oil benchmark, Brent crude oil, was trading even higher on March 4, at $112.99 a barrel.

Read: Why Russian oil can’t find buyers even as crude soars above $100 a barrel

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

Can bitcoin topple gold as a safe haven?

Getty Images

Late on Feb. 23, the day before Russian soldiers began rolling into Ukraine, bitcoin was trading for $37,571. Early on March 4, as fighting in Ukraine continued, bitcoin was trading at $41,509, for a 10% increase. Meanwhile, the price of gold bullion, per continuous front-month contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange, rose only 2% from $1,910.40 an ounce when it settled on Feb. 23 to $1,946.40 early on March 4.

Mark Hulbert describes “bitcoin’s first big test to topple gold as a safe haven.”

See Frances Yue’s Distributed Ledger column for more coverage of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Where might you live when you retire?

Snowmobilers on a trail near Minocqua, Wis.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Silvia Ascarelli writes the Where Should I Retire column. This week, she helps a couple in their 40s who want to move their family now to an “eclectic” area where they can enjoy outdoor activities year-round and stay when they are retired. Which of her three suggestions would you pick?

Try MarketWatch’s retirement location tool for your own custom search. It includes data for more than 3,000 U.S. counties and incorporates climate risk.

Curtains for ETFs focused on Russia?

MarketWatch illustration/iStockphoto

Mark DeCambre writes the ETF Wrap column. This week he discusses the possibility that exchange-traded funds concentrated in Russian stocks may be forced to shut down.

More on Russia ETFs:

NYSE halts trading in iShares MSCI Russia ETF, and BlackRock supports decision

MSCI says 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 Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi look on.

Getty Images

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

What may have been overlooked was the president’s pitch 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 address only briefly mentioned taxes, but businesses and rich people should still pay attention

How to put aside a retirement emergency fund

20th Century Fox Licensing/Merchandising / Everett Collection

Alessandra Malito writes the Help Me Retire column. This week she helps a couple that plans to retire in a few years and has sufficient investments to cover expenses along with Social Security, but wants to set up an emergency fund outside their investment portfolio.

This isn’t as simple as it may appear. Here’s how their emergency fund might be structured.

More about retirement and planning for it:

Bargain stocks

The S&P 500 index declined 9% through March 3 from its all-time closing high on Jan 3. But among the benchmark index’s components, 122 stocks fell 15% or more during that period.

Jeff Reeves recommends these 10 stocks before their prices recover.

The plight of students who owe money to colleges

Jillian Berman looks into 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 been an incredible performer, with a 10-year total return of 1,163% for its shares through March 3, compared to a return of 288% return for the S&P 500. Now Domino’s faces a challenge in hiring enough delivery workers in a tight labor market, as Tonya Garcia reports.

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