Get Out of Hock

The market is iffy; the economy might be inflating. It's a good time to pay down some debt

Whiffs of inflation are in the air, and a dead-tired stock market is sending the message that economic troubles lurk. It hardly seems possible that prosperous times will soon fade. Profits are up, and record numbers of Americans are at work. Yet the paradox of a market economy is that stock investors get scorched near the end of a robust expansion, while good times still roar. The reverse is true at the trough of a recession, when times are toughest.

Is the nose-diving NASDAQ forecasting a recession? No one knows. But the Federal Reserve will raise short-term interest rates this week,...

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