Stocks falling, prices and interest rates rising, but economist says it’s ‘too soon to panic’

BOSTON – The rising cost of everyday necessities has consumers restricting how they spend their money. That frustration can be felt at the gas pump, where in Massachusetts, the price per gallon has surpassed $5.

“I think they’re out of control,” one driver told WBZ-TV. “We need gas. I need to get to work, so I don’t know what else to do.”

AAA Northeast spokesman Mark Schieldrop said, “We’ve never seen prices this high.”

In turn, the stock market is taking a tumble, a hint that a recession could be looming, according to Boston College economics professor Peter Ireland, as the Federal Reserve tries to get inflation under control.

“There are reasons for concerns, but it’s too soon to panic,” Ireland explained. “The stock market is notoriously volatile. Sometimes it goes down because we’re heading into a recession. Sometimes it goes down for reasons that people can’t really explain.”

To make matters worse, the price of fuel is cutting into people’s disposable income, which will no doubt impact the economy.

“We all have to pay them and it’s certainly not enjoyable, especially as we begin the summer,” said Schieldrop. “A lot of people are planning their vacations right now.”

Perhaps skip the big summer trip, one expert suggested.

“I’m just thinking a little more cautiously right now,” Ireland told WBZ-TV. “Do you really want to undertake big spending plans? Do you really want to blow your savings on a big summer vacation now?”

When it comes to your stock portfolio, Ireland said the smartest thing to do now is to hold.

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