The CEO of Boston Beer Company told CNBC on Friday that the brewer is looking to enter the cannabis market next after its success in the hard seltzer business.

“We’re not going to be the first one in, but we’re going to study and learn once the [hard seltzer] category develops. We’ll play it sometime down the road,” CEO David Burwick said on “Power Lunch. “

As the cannabis market is emerging, several beverage brands have started to dabble in the space. In 2017, Corona beer maker Constellation Brands bought a near 10% stake in Canopy Growth Corporation. Lagunitas Brewing, owned by Heineken, launched a cannabis-infused sparkling water to be sold in select locations in California.

Burwick said until Boston Beer moves into the cannabis market it will be “happy to grow double digits with the portfolio that [it has].”

The hard seltzer category has expanded in the last few years. According to market research firm Nielsen, sales of the alcoholic beverage grew roughly 200% over the past year.

Boston Beer’s Truly hard seltzer makes up about 29% of the market share. “We tripled the brand last year. This year, we’re going to come just short of tripling it again. We’re investing a lot,” the CEO said.

The company’s flagship brand, Sam Adams, experienced two years of dramatic declines starting in 2015. But after the launch of its hard seltzer brand, its stock turned around.

The sparkling beverage helped offset the losses of Sam Adams in April 2018. Then by the end of June that year, Boston Beer’s stock gained $100 per share, reaching $300. As of Aug. 30, 2019, the stock is about $440 per share, growing nearly 80% year to date.

Burwick told CNBC that hard seltzers “[have] disrupted the broader beer business the way craft beer did in the 1980s. It’s that much of a change. It’s sort of a gold rush right now. Everybody’s trying to get as much shares as they can.”

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The National Hurricane Center forecasts that Hurricane Dorian could make landfall this weekend and bring large amounts of rain, strong winds and potential flooding from storm surge.

Florida has declared a state of emergency and residents are preparing for what could be a Category 4 hurricane on the state’s Atlantic coast. Here are three articles from The Conversation’s archive that provide context on how people can prepare for hurricanes.

1. Predicting the path and power

Hurricane Dorian has already moved past Puerto Rico and is expected to gain strength as it travels over the warm Atlantic waters off the coast of Florida. Yet forecasters say there’s a great deal of uncertainty regarding this storm.

Meteorologists Mark Bourassa and Vasu Misra from Florida State University explain how hurricane forecasts are done — using a number of software-based models that generate predictions of where hurricanes will go, and how strong they’ll be from starting conditions, such as wind speeds and ocean temperatures.

Aided by observational data from buoys and aircraft flown into developing storms, forecasts for the paths of hurricanes — which are tropical cyclone storm systems that originate in the Atlantic — have improved significantly over the past decade, they write. But that’s not true for hurricane intensity.

“It’s extremely difficult for a model to estimate the maximum wind speed of a tropical cyclone at any given future time,” write Bourassa and Misra. “Small-scale features of tropical cyclones — like sharp gradients in rainfall, surface winds and wave heights within and outside of the tropical cyclones — are not as reliably captured in the forecast models.”

11 AM EDT: Here are the latest Key Messages for #Dorian. For more information see https://t.co/tW4KeFW0gB pic.twitter.com/idBYhyvVTn

— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) August 30, 2019

2. When to stay and when to go

Experts recommend heeding evacuation warnings. But how do state officials know when to call for a mandatory evacuation?

Hazard expert Susan Cutter from the University of South Carolina says that there are two measurable factors that can go into the calculation: when sustained tropical force winds are expected to arrive and clearance time, or the amount of time needed for vehicles in an area to reach points of safety.


When sustained tropical storm winds are projected to arrive is one of the key factors in deciding when states call for mandatory evacuations. (Source: NOAA, CC BY)

But in the end, the practice of calling for an evacuation is as much science as it is a skill based on experience — and luck.

“It is hard to predict the path of hurricanes, and even more so the behavior of people in response to them. There is a lot of uncertainty in the projections of both, which is why you often hear emergency managers say better to be safe than sorry,” she writes.

3. The role of social networks

Social sciences researcher Daniel Aldrich wanted to get more insight into when people choose to evacuate and when they don’t.

Analyzing social media following disasters, Aldrich found that people with far-reaching social networks — that is, connections beyond their immediate families and close friends — were more likely to evacuate in the days leading up to a hurricane.


Visualizing the exodus of Miami-area residents in the days prior to Hurricane Irma’s landfall. Each dot represents an aggregate group of users within 0.5 latitude/longitude degrees, colored by evacuees (in blue) and non-evacuees (in red). Danae Metaxa and Paige Maas, CC BY-SA

By contrast, his research found that social networks more narrowly focused on family and friends were less likely to evacuate before a hurricane.

“This is a critical insight,” Aldrich writes. “People whose immediate, close networks are strong may feel supported and better-prepared to weather the storm.”

Understanding how people use their social networks is important because choosing to stay can create more risk of harm and damage when storms do finally come.

Martin LaMonica is deputy editor of The Conversation. This was first published by The Conversation — “Preparing for hurricanes: 3 essential reads

More on Hurricane Dorian:

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Ulta Beauty Inc. shares slid 29% Friday, putting them on track for their biggest ever one-day percentage decline, after the beauty products retailer warned that sales headwinds would dent future earnings.

The move weighed on other cosmetics stocks with e.l.f. Beauty Inc.

ELF, -3.82%

 down 4.3% and Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.

EL, -2.95%

down 2.4%.

Bolingbrook, Ill.-based Ulta

ULTA, -29.55%,

which was riding high earlier this year thanks to the boost it was enjoying from the cosmetics line launched by reality TV star Kylie Jenner,said it earned $161.3 million, or $2.76 a share, in the second quarter, compared with $148.3 million, or $2.46 a share, in the year-earlier period. Revenue rose 12% to $1.67 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of $2.80 a share on sales of $1.68 billion.

But it was the lowered guidance that really hammered the stock. Ulta lowered its same-store sales growth expectations to 4% to 6% for the year, from previous guidance of growth of 6% to 7%. It cut its per-share earnings forecast to $11.86 to $12.06 from a previous $12.83 to $13.03.

“We believe the industrywide challenges in the make-up category will continue in the near term, and as a result, we’ve adjusted our outlook for the rest of 2019 to reflect ongoing volatility in the category,” Chief Executive Mary Dillon told analysts on the company’s earnings call, according to a FactSet transcript.

The news triggered at least four downgrades as analysts cut estimates and slashed stock price targets. The average price target of analysts polled by FactSet fell to $307.17 early Friday from $376.56 at the end of July.

In case you missed it: Ulta Beauty welcomes Kardashians, but margins give analysts pause

Morgan Stanley analyst Simeon Gutman downgraded the stock to equal weight from overweight, and trimmed his stock price target to $275 from $395. The quarter was a “thesis changing” one with the growth outlook for half the business — cosmetics — slowing meaningfully, Gutman wrote in a note to clients.

Read now: Amazon makes own play for the beauty sector as online brands pick up steam

When Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock back in January of 2018, analysts were expecting several drivers to help it outperform, including that the business had an extra year of square footage growth as it built out its stores.

“We think these drivers have moderated while the distinermediation risk from digitally native brands seems higher,” Gutman wrote, “In our view, this limits upside for both Ulta’s multiple and earnings growth in the near term.”

See also: Coty shares plummet as $600 million turnaround plan falls short of expectations

Read: Newly public luxury secondhand retailer the RealReal says it occupies a ‘space of one’

Piper Jaffray downgraded the stock to neutral from overweight and cut its stock price target to $250 from $360. Analysts led by Erinn Murphy said they would rather remain on the sidelines during a period of “muted visibility.”

“What was concerning to us is that this weakness is not only in prestige (which has been the case for well over 18 months) but management called out masstige as having weakened quarter-to-date, following several quarters of double-digit growth,” said Murphy. “While the company has done an excellent job of bucking the general market trend through securing digitally native brands, we are concerned that the business trajectory has turned on a dime.”

Read now: Amazon expects star power from exclusive Lady Gaga beauty launch

At William Blair, analyst Daniel Hofkin said Ulta executives were unable to offer a convincing explanation for why things had slowed so dramatically in the last six weeks, and neither can he.

Management said cosmetics sales were hit by a lack of meaningful “newness and incrementality,” meaning any newness was not really resonating with consumers, and even when it did, it was not encouraging them to buy ancillary items such as make-up brushes.

“While this is certainly plausible, we struggle to understand why this trend would cause such a sudden step-down in the trajectory of the overall category, particularly given that material newness has been lacking in the cosmetics category for nearly two years (particularly relative to the preceding several years),” the analyst wrote in a note to clients.

See: Estée Lauder beat expectations thanks to China and travel retail but the Americas business has stalled

Hofkin said he’s sticking with his outperform rating on the stock, however, because he continues to view the company as having a solid long-term growth story.

Stifel analysts led by Mark Astrachan cut their price target to $250 from $315, while JPMorgan’s Christopher Horvers lowered his to $317 from $395. Stifel is sticking with a hold rating, while JPMorgan remains overweight.

Cowen’s Oliver Chen said the cosmetics industry is in a softer cycle now that does not require a heightened level of units per transaction. The recent trends, such as contouring and brow styling that involved rituals and application techniques that were driving growth, have peaked.

Chen said he is sticking with his outperform rating based on the longer-term view given Ulta’s appeal to Generation Z and a data-centric model that includes more than 33 million loyalty members. However, “ULTA’s diversified portfolio across price points, categories, and newness, is not immune to underlying market dynamics, despite the fact that ULTA has effectively bucked slowing Prestige trends since mid-2017 through a series of ongoing brands launches and assortment expansions,” he wrote.

Cowen lowered its stock price target to $313 from $375.

Ulta shares are now down 2% in 2019, while the S&P 500

SPX, +0.05%

 has gained 17% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average

DJIA, +0.18%

 has gained 13%.

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Amid concerns about the information-technology spending landscape, Dell Technologies Inc. delivered better-than-expected quarterly results showing that the company is managing the industry challenges.

Dell’s

DELL, +6.35%

 latest numbers, which included a sizable earnings beat, were particularly notable given that many of the company’s peers missed expectations and had to lower their forecasts, according to Evercore ISI analyst Amit Daryanani, who has an outperform rating and $63 target on the stock.

He titled his note to clients: “If There Is an IT Slowdown, Michael Didn’t Get the Memo.”

Dell shares were up 9% in premarket trading Friday.

Raymond James analyst Simon Leopold called Dell “a nice house in a tough neighborhood,” writing that while the IT spending environment is still difficult, Dell is outperforming its rivals. He raised his price target by a dollar, to $62 from $61, while keeping an outperform rating on the stock.

Citi analyst Jim Suva pointed to Dell’s 1% sales growth on a year-over-year basis, while NetApp Inc.’s

NTAP, +0.40%

 sales dropped 16%, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co.’s

HPE, +0.95%

 sales fell 7%, and HP Inc.’s

HPQ, +1.17%

 sales were flat. “While one can slice the products and end markets to try to discount Dell’s progress or explain the softness by competitors, it’s clear that Dell’s breadth and depth of product offerings are gaining traction,” he wrote.

Suva rates the stock a buy with a $65 target.

Others pointed to some areas of concern in Dell’s results, notably in the company’s server division which saw a 12% revenue drop. “The company commented that in 2H it plans to bias its balance of growth versus profitability towards growth,” wrote Barclays analyst Tim Long. “This could help reverse server revenue trends but also weigh on margin.”

While Dell beat profit expectations in its most recent quarter, Long expects those numbers to “gradually normalize as the benefits of lower component costs flow through the model.”

He has an equal weight rating on the shares and moved his price target up to $54 from $53.

Credit Suisse’s Matthew Cabral echoed the sentiment. “Dell’s ‘family approach’ and the resulting diversified portfolio is a clear benefit in choppier times, evidenced by a healthy PC demand environment that offsets accelerating enterprise weakness,” he wrote. “That said, we’re concerned by management commentary suggesting a more aggressive pricing environment in 2H, particularly given margins have been a key offset to EPS for both Dell and the wider industry against a tougher demand backdrop.”

He has a neutral rating on Dell’s stock and increased his price target to $61 from $58.

Dell shares have dropped 30% over the past three months, as the S&P 500

SPX, +0.04%

 has risen 5%.

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The runup to the 2020 Democratic primaries is in full swing as the candidates argue over the best way to approach policy. One of the biggest policy divides: the role of private health insurance.

Many countries provide government funded universal health care while offering secondary private insurance. One country that’s frequently overlooked: Australia.

Watch the video above to learn more about how Australia’s health-care system works, and how it compares with the United States’.

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A customer looks at sports bras inside a Lululemon Athletica store.

Xaume Olleros | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The ugly Christmas sweaters you’re eyeing might still see a tariff price hike before the holiday season, according to an industry group.

In an attempt to save Christmas, President Donald Trump announced earlier this month that tariffs on some Chinese goods will be delayed until Dec. 15. Retail and department store stocks including American Eagle, Abercrombie, Macy’s all jumped following the news, as investors expected the announcement to mean that the companies’ products wouldn’t be taxed until later in the year. 

But 91.6% of Chinese apparel imports will still be hit with a 15% tariff beginning Sept. 1, according to new data breakdowns from the American Apparel and Footwear Association.

The group also said 68.4% of home textiles and 52.5% of footwear will also begin to see tariffs on Sept. 1. The remaining imports in these categories will be levied 15% on Dec. 15.

“It has been, and will be, extremely difficult to move this amount of product due to capacity limitations in other countries, the need to build new relationships to ensure compliance with various product safety and labor regulations, and the fact that every industry is being asked to move at the same time,” AAFA executive vice president Stephen Lamar said in an email.

Many retailers including Best Buy, Macy’s and Home Depot have said they are implementing strategies to reduce the impact of tariffs. The most popular is to move factories, suppliers or vendors out of China.

Craig Johnson, founder of retail research firm Customer Growth Partners, said most companies have utilized a number of tools to lessen the number of products that will be impacted by the Sept. 1 tariffs.

For example, T-shirts that are less than 70% silk will be imposed with tariffs on Sept. 1. Knowing this, companies can ask factories to start making their T-shirts completely out of silk, Johnson said.

Companies have also been timing shipments to arrive earlier to evade the Sept. 1 deadline, according to Johnson. “Normally, holiday goods don’t come until September or October,” he said. “But companies started planning for that a year ago. People have been ordering early and have some product landed in August now.”

KPMG partner Andy Siciliano also said that apparel and footwear companies are especially accustomed to deal with tariffs because the industry has been levied even before Trump was elected.

For example, if a product costs more as it goes through the manufacturing process — $10 to be manufactured in China and $20 in Hong Kong — the company can make sure the 15% tariff is applied to the first cost by confirming with the vendor that it will be eventually sold in the U.S.

Sciliano has noticed that apparel and footwear suppliers are more familiar with programs like these than hardware or consumer goods suppliers.

But Lamar said even with the mitigation strategies, companies will still be facing higher costs.

“A sudden 15% tariff on 9 out of every 10 dollars worth of apparel from China will also trigger cost increases from other major suppliers, either by forcing costs up as companies shift to those countries and run into capacity constraints or by giving suppliers in those other countries a pricing advantage,” he said.

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A United Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft lands at San Francisco International Airport.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

United Airlines on Friday said it doesn’t plan to fly the Boeing 737 Max until Dec. 19, more than a month later than previously expected, as the worldwide grounding of the jets, approaches the six-month mark.

Federal regulators grounded the planes around the world in mid-March after two fatal crashes — one in Indonesia in October and another in Ethiopia in March — killed all 346 people who were aboard the flights.

United and its U.S. competitors who have the Max in their fleets, American and Southwest, have canceled thousands of flights during the busy summer travel season as the planes’ grounding wears on. Regulators have not yet said when they plan to allow the planes to return to service.

Southwest last month pulled the plane from its schedules until January, the latest of the U.S. carriers.

This is breaking news. Check back for updates.

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This woman from Texas, then 36, wrote to the Moneyist in September 2018. She didn’t have a college degree, said she would never earn more than $30,000 a year, and worked full-time for $15 an hour, in addition to a part-time job at $10 an hour. She paid $1,050 a month in rent.

The reason for her letter: She was about to inherit $150,000. It was more money than she had ever had in her life. She had grown up in a family that had experienced generations of poverty. It was a life-changing opportunity for her, and she didn’t want to waste it.

She wanted to get dental work done, invest some money and, if she could afford to, buy a house. “I feel like this money is my chance to finally be financially safe and maybe have a shot at retiring. I’m just not sure which one will get me there safely and hopefully before I’m 70,” she wrote.

You can read her original letter and the Moneyist’s advice here.

Nearly a year later, she emailed to update readers on her life. Here is an edited version of her letter:

Dear Moneyist,

Firstly, thank you for your advice. I took all of it to heart and really sat down and considered my options, and, after some really detailed research online, I did come up with a plan on how to spend the money. Secondly, to anyone who laughed at my letter, and the notion that $150,000 could somehow change my life: My life might seem small to you, but I know what it costs to live in this country.

‘Maybe if I had learned something useful in school I would have made a better go of it and not been so far down on the economic ladder that my mouth hit the floor at the thought of having $150,000 handed to me.’

It’s a price I’ve been struggling to pay since I was 17, and I will not be lectured by people who don’t know what it means to go hungry for five days until you get your next paycheck because you need that $20 you have left for gas to get to the job that will give you that paycheck.

Let me begin by explaining that I was born into poverty. In many cases in this country, poverty is generational, and my family epitomizes this. I didn’t have a bad childhood, but our single-wide trailer certainly wasn’t glamorous. And my birthday and Christmas presents (if I got any) were definitely bought at a garage sale or at the thrift store. My parents tried, but they were both high-school dropouts. By 17, I was on my own.

Maybe if I had learned something useful in school I would have made a better go of it and not been so far down on the economic ladder that my mouth hit the floor at the thought of having $150,000 handed to me.

Maybe if instead of teaching me about Shakespeare and Orson Welles, our public education system taught me the power of compound interest, I wouldn’t be middle-aged and a low-income worker now. Maybe if instead of learning algebra or calculus, I had learned how to change a tire or do an oil change, and l could have saved myself a little money here and there to put toward an IRA or an investment account. Maybe if instead of having to take art or European history, I had learned how to balance a checkbook or even how to coupon; I could have a nice little retirement account now.

Maybe if instead of having to take chemistry and physics, I had been taught some type of computer skill, and I would have a better job.

Don’t miss: During stock-market volatility, how would you invest $100,000?

Sadly, our education system only cares if we are able to have an intelligent conversation about the Renaissance or the effect of the Enlightenment on the evolution of European politics and attitudes towards monarchial systems of government. Yep, I definitely needed to know all that. Those pearls of wisdom have done me loads of good in the real world. Not.

‘Sadly, our education system only cares if we are able to have an intelligent conversation about the Renaissance or the effect of the Enlightenment on the evolution of European politics.’

Unfortunately, as the U.S. public education system did absolutely nothing to prepare me for the real world, and my parents definitely weren’t acing it and had nothing of value to teach me, I learned the old-fashioned way: trial and error. I made mistakes and paid for every one of them — most of them on payment plans, but I paid.

I was finally debt-free and content with my modest little savings of $7,981.33, but when I learned I was going to be getting roughly $150,000, I freely admit I had to sit down or I’d fall down. I felt a sense of hope, the kind of hope I’d never known. I’ve always been one small misstep away from homeless. I have, in fact, lived out of a car at various points in my life.

‘This money has been a life changer for me’

This money has been a life changer for me. Well, for starters, the final amount I got was $157,998.14. I decided against moving. I do really love my job and got a promotion as an incentive to stay. So I now make $16 an hour. I also decided against buying a house. Instead, I took three weeks off and spent $5,600 to go to this DIY build-a-tiny-house camp a few states away. I built my own off-grid tiny house for about $31,000, and that includes the cost of the camp.

‘I built my own off-grid tiny house for about $31,000, and that includes the cost of the camp. I have a solar roof and two small wind turbines that generate all the power.’

I have a solar roof and two small wind turbines that generate all the power, and a rainwater harvesting/purification system with a water heater and a recirculating shower that ensures I never run out of clean or hot water. Most of the tiny house is made from repurposed materials I got off of Craigslist. Pretty much everything — stove, microwave, sinks, vinyl siding, etc. — I got on Craigslist. I finished it a little over six months ago and have been living in it ever since.

I am also able to park it for free. I found an advertisement on Craigslist posted by a group of people who all co-owned 50 acres with horses. They were looking to hire someone to go there once a day to feed and water the horses, and check up on them for $100 a week. They agreed to let me park there, and they are still paying me the $100 a week. So I now have no rent, and no electric or water bill. My monthly expenses have gone way down. And the horses are really nice.

I now only have to pay for food, gas, car insurance, health insurance and my cell phone. So my monthly bills come to about $700 to $800, and half of that is life insurance. I took people’s advice to get my dental work done in Mexico. I spent about $7,000 on my teeth, and it was so worth it. I have a beautiful smile now!

‘I spent some money on what I would call frivolous things’

I also spent some money on what I would call frivolous things. I bought about $500 in massage and chiropractic Groupons throughout the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex. I started taking violin lessons online for $15 for 30 minutes, twice a week. I bought a used violin from a reputable dealer in Dallas for $375. I also gave a few friends and family some money to help them out: I paid $1,600 for one of my friends to go to dental-assistant school. I bought new tires for my brother, and I paid $1,900 for another friend to get dental work done with me in Mexico.

‘I took people’s advice to get my dental work done in Mexico. I spent about $7,000 on my teeth and it was so worth it. I have a beautiful smile now!’

By the time everything was said and done I had $111,723.02 left. I maxed out my IRA last year and this year, and then I invested $10,000 between very safe dividend stocks and ETFs.

I did do something pretty risky, which I hope pays off in the long run. After reading every single investment article and book I could get my hands on, I invested primarily in emerging markets instead of the U.S. stock market. I put $30,000 into them. Not putting in any more. They either pay off, or they don’t. I now am able to put $1,600 a month away into my savings and investment portfolio between my two jobs and the horse-care income.

Also see: Should I sell my $565,000 duplex and invest the money — or continue to collect rent?

I am looking to quit my second job here in a few months. With the raise from my primary job and the $400 a month I make taking care of the horses, and my reduced living expenses, I can afford to stop working 60- to 70-hour weeks. As of this exact moment I have no debt; my car is paid off with only 42,000 miles. I own my tiny home free and clear. I have more than $70,000 in a high-yield online savings account, making a little over $100 a month in interest. I have $4,500 in my checking account, and I have a retirement/investment portfolio with more than $40,000.

‘I did something pretty risky, which I hope pays off in the long run. I invested primarily in emerging markets instead of the U.S. stock market. I put $30,000 into them.’

I’m in a better position than I ever thought I would be, and, after 20 years of working two to three jobs at a time, I think I’ve earned a 35- to 40-hour work week. I’ll still be able to put about $800 a month away in savings and investments.

So that’s what I did with the money, and it most certainly did change my life. My new hope for the future is to find a nice little rundown three-bedroom farmhouse on a few acres in the country that I can buy for cheap and restore myself. That way, when I’m 55, I can retire with no debt and get a few horses of my own. I just want to live out the rest of my life never having to worry about bills again. I don’t need fancy vacations to Europe or a Cadillac. I just want to finally not have to work anymore, and maybe have a few horses I can ride every day and a comfortable home to come back to each night.

It might seem like a small and sad little life to some people, but it’s the kind of life I never dreamed of having when I was younger. Now, it’s coming true.

Sincerely,

Still Low-Income in Texas, But Definitely Feeling Rich Now

Do you have questions about inheritance, tipping, weddings, family feuds, friends or any tricky issues relating to manners and money? Send them to MarketWatch’s Moneyist and please include the state where you live (no full names will be used).

Would you like to sign up to an email alert when a new Moneyist column has been published? If so, click on this link.

Hello there, MarketWatchers. Check out the Moneyist private Facebook group, where we look for answers to life’s thorniest money issues. Readers write in to me with all sorts of dilemmas: inheritance, wills, divorce, tipping, gifting. I often talk to lawyers, accountants, financial advisers and other experts, in addition to offering my own thoughts. I receive more letters than I could ever answer, so I’ll be bringing all of that guidance — including some you might not see in these columns — to this group. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or weigh in on the latest Moneyist columns.

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An increasing number of workers are devoting time to salary research, a new survey shows, but just half feel they’re paid enough.

And 54% of workers (61% of men and 49% of women) say they swap salary information with coworkers, with workers aged 18 to 34 far more likely than their older counterparts to do so, according to the survey released Wednesday by the global staffing firm Robert Half.

What’s more, 45% of those surveyed said they have used this information to their advantage. Twenty-eight percent of employees have leveraged that intel to ask for a pay raise, according to the survey, while 17% have used it during job-offer negotiations.

Some 46% of workers feel they’re underpaid, the survey added, including 50% of women and 41% of men. (Women make an average of 80 cents on a man’s dollar; women of color often make even less.) Another 47% think they receive fair pay, while 7% feel overpaid. A potential factor in some workers’ dissatisfaction: More employees are doing the legwork to see if they’re being paid their worth.

While about eight in 10 workers feel they know what they’re worth, 73% (80% of men and 65% of women) report having compared their salaries to market rates over the past year, a nearly 20-point increase from respondents surveyed two years earlier.

Using an outside research firm, Robert Half surveyed more than 1,000 office workers across the U.S. and 2,800 office workers in 28 major American cities.

The U.S. median household income in 2017 was $61,372, the Census Bureau announced last September, a 1.8% increase from the previous year. Meanwhile, millennials’ (aged 22 to 37) median household income in 2017 was $69,000, according to a Pew Research Center analysis. The unemployment rate currently sits at 3.7%, a nearly 50-year low.

“Workers have more access to information about their salaries, roles and career options than ever before, arming them for conversations with current and potential employers,” Robert Half senior executive director Paul McDonald said in a statement. “In a stronger economy, top performers have options, but they’re more likely to stay put if they feel they’re getting paid fairly.”

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Asian markets rose in early trading Friday on news that Chinese officials have more interest in renewed trade negotiations with the U.S. than retaliation for new tariffs.

China’s Commerce Ministry was quoted Thursday as saying China would not immediately respond to the Trump administration’s latest tariff hikes — some of which are scheduled to take effect Sept. 1. The spokesman added that the two sides had been discussing details of new face-to-face trade talks scheduled for next month.

That boosted stocks on Wall Street on Thursday, with the major indexes rising more than 1.2% each.

Japan’s Nikkei

NIK, +1.34%

  gained 1.2% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index

HSI, +0.69%

  rose 0.5%. The Shanghai Composite

SHCOMP, +0.23%

  edged up 0.2% while the Shenzhen Composite

399106, +0.16%

  advanced 0.1%. South Korea’s Kospi

180721, +1.93%

 gained 1.8% as the country’s central bank kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged, as analysts expected, while benchmark indexes in Taiwan

Y9999, +1.15%

 , Singapore

STI, +0.80%

 , Malaysia

FBMKLCI, +0.59%

  and Indonesia

JAKIDX, +0.47%

  posted gains. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200

XJO, +1.53%

  rose 1.3%.

Among individual stocks, Japan Steel Works

5631, +6.38%

  surged in Tokyo trading, while Rakuten

4755, +5.03%

 , robotics maker Fanuc

6954, +3.23%

 and SoftBank

9984, +2.90%

  rose as well. In Hong Kong, oil producer CNOOC

883, +6.67%

  and Apple supplier Sunny Optical

2382, +6.22%

  gained, along with Tencent

700, +1.81%

  and AIA Group

1299, +0.72%

 . Samsung

005930, +1.96%

 , LG Electronics

066570, +3.18%

  and SK Hynix

000660, +6.14%

  shot up in South Korea, while Foxconn

2354, +1.29%

  and Largan Precision

3008, +1.56%

  rose in Taiwan. In Australia, Beach Energy

BPT, +3.86%

 , Oil Search

OSH, +3.31%

  and mining giant Rio Tinto

RIO, +2.39%

  advanced.

Investors were encouraged by a Chinese government statement Thursday that its penalties on U.S. imports are adequate. That suggested Beijing might be pausing in a tit-for-tat cycle of tariff hikes by both sides that has fueled fears the fight will tip the global economy into recession.

The Chinese comment was a “temporary relief for markets,” said Jingyi Pan of IG in a report. However, Pan cautioned it was in line with the view that Beijing “may delay a deal until the 2020 U.S. elections.”

Some analysts say Beijing might be hoping to strike a more favorable deal if Trump is under pressure during his re-election campaign — or might hold out to negotiate with his successor if he loses.

“This could still make for prolonged trade uncertainty,” said Pan.

The S&P 500 index

SPX, +1.27%

  rose 1.3% to 2,924.58. The Dow

DJIA, +1.25%

  climbed 1.3% to 26,362.25. The Nasdaq

COMP, +1.48%

  gained 1.5% to 7,973.39. The S&P 500 is on track for its first weekly gain in five weeks.

Anxiety about the U.S.-Chinese trade fight fueled market volatility this month.

Washington and Beijing are deadlocked in talks over U.S. complaints about China’s trade surplus and industry plans its trading partners say are based on stealing or pressuring companies to hand over technology.

Tit-for-tat tariff hikes by both sides have depressed trade, prompting fears the fight might tip the global economy into recession.

Negotiators are due to meet next month in Washington after the latest round of talks in July in Shanghai produced no sign of progress.

Benchmark U.S. crude

CLV19, -0.11%

  fell 20 cents to $56.51 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 93 cents on Thursday to close at $56.71. Brent crude

BRNV19, +0.13%

 , used to price international oils, shed 9 cents to $60.40 per barrel in London. It gained 56 cents the previous session to $60.49.

The dollar

USDJPY, -0.09%

  declined to 106.44 yen from Thursday’s 106.52 yen.

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