Global inflation a problem, oil hits another record high on Friday!

Read this on the International version of the New York Times today:

“We were flabbergasted to see how many countries around the globe have inflation running in the double digits,” he added. “We found around 50 countries. And we probably missed some more where data are hard to come by.”

With heavily populated countries such as India on that list, they represent 42 percent of the world’s people grappling with soaring prices that threaten to crimp economic growth.

Oil prices hit another record high above $142 per barrel on Friday, while flooding in the U.S. Midwest, where much of America’s corn and soybeans grow, sent grain markets to record highs.

That will surely stoke already high food and fuel prices and hit emerging markets particularly hard.

India raised interest rates twice in June and economists think more increases are imminent after inflation hit its highest level in more than 13 years in mid-June.

Mexico’s central bank raised its key interest rate on June 20 for the first time in eight months. That surprised many economists, who thought Mexico would keep borrowing costs unchanged because of concerns that weakness in the United States, its top trading partner, would hurt the economy.

Given the widespread price pressures, it is little surprise that the Fed vice chairman, Donald Kohn, stressed that tackling inflation required an international response.

“Policy makers around the world must monitor the situation carefully for signs that the increases in relative prices globally do not generate persistently higher inflation,” Kohn said in a speech last week.”

Dodgers defeat Angels without recording a hit!

hitless MLB win scoreboard 6/28/08The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Angels 1-0 without recording a hit through 9 innings of play. MLB.com reports:

“The Dodgers have been trying to win without hitting all year and Saturday night they literally did.

They were held hitless by Angels starter Jered Weaver and reliever Jose Arredondo, but recorded a 1-0 win anyway with an unearned run in the fifth inning. It was only the fifth time since 1900 a Major League team won a game without a hit.

“The most bizarre game I’ve ever been part of,” said catcher Russell Martin.

Chad Billingsley lost the battle with Weaver, allowing three hits over seven innings, but won the war by combining with Jonathan Broxton and Takashi Saito as the Dodgers recorded their second consecutive shutout against the Angels in the Interleague Freeway Series.

“It was pretty magical,” manager Joe Torre said of the pitchers’ duel, and here’s the historical roundup:

Although by MLB rules it doesn’t officially qualify as a no-hitter because the Angels didn’t pitch nine innings, it was the first time the Dodgers were no-hit since Kent Mercker and Atlanta, April 8, 1994; the first time a Dodgers team won a game without a hit and the first time any team won a game without a hit since 1992, when the Indians beat Boston and former Dodgers pitcher Matt Young.

“We’ll try to win with one hit tomorrow and work our way up,” said general manager Ned Colletti.”

Dow Jones stocks suffer worst June since the Great Depression

Wall Street opens for trading tomorrow after a depressing week of losses that pushed the Dow Jones industrial average to its worst June since the Great Depression. The blue-chip index is at its lowest point since September 2006.

Investors are again contending with a relentless stream of troubling news from record oil prices to renewed concerns over the health of the financial sector.

“I think the market is trying to make a bottom, but the question is: Will it hold there or just crash through?” said Alexander Paris, an economist and market analyst for Barrington Research. “It feels just like the top of the technology bubble in 2000 – you know there’s something wrong, but it is hard to time it.”

The Dow closed Friday at 11,346.51, a loss of 4.2 percent for the week. The Nasdaq composite index finished at 2,315.63, down 3.8 percent. The S&P 500 index ended the week at 1,278.38, a drop of 3.0 percent.

Friday’s 107-point decline in the Dow left the index down 10.2 percent in June and on the brink of a bear market. The Dow has plunged 19.9 percent since setting an all-time high in October. Market experts define a bear market as a drop of at least 20 percent from a recent high.

“We are already in a bear market,” said Peter Kenny, managing director at Knight Equity Markets. “Even the good ships get stranded on the beach when the tide goes out.”