Here are three of the week's top pieces of financial insight, gathered from around the web:
Help not really wanted
"Ghost listings" are haunting job seekers, said Te-Ping Chen in The Wall Street Journal. Turns out it's not uncommon for companies to post listings for jobs they have no real intention to fill. A survey by Clarify Capital of more than 1,000 hiring managers last summer found that "27 percent reported having job postings up for more than four months." Among those with long-term listings, "close to half said they kept the ads up to give the impression the company was growing." A third said they did it "to placate overworked employees." Employers defend the listings as necessary for "stocking a pool of ready applicants" while the quitting rate for workers reached record highs. Job seekers, however, say that applying for positions lately can feel like "chasing a series of mirages."
Suspiciously good market timing
Private tax data shows executives making money through exquisitely timed transactions of other companies' stock, said Robert Faturechi and Ellis Simani in ProPublica. A trove of leaked IRS documents uncovered examples of dozens of CEOs trading — and sometimes shorting — shares of their rivals. Isaac Larian, the CEO of MGA Entertainment, "traded hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of his rival Mattel's securities between 2005 and 2019," earning an 11 percent return — while Mattel's stock fell 57 percent. However, insider trading in such cases is hard to prove. A CEO "can argue their trade of a competitor's shares was informed by deep knowledge of the industry, not a nonpublic tip."
High yields at money market funds
If you're looking "for a safe, short-term, and liquid vehicle to park your cash," you should consider money market funds, said Rebecca Baldridge in Forbes. Don't confuse these funds with "money market accounts" at banks. Money market mutual funds are not FDIC insured, but they are "designed to provide low costs, great liquidity, and very low risk." As yields on these funds have risen, investors have piled into them. Best bets now include the Fidelity Money Market Fund (SPRXX), which currently offers a yield of 4.44 percent, and Vanguard's Federal Money Market Fund (VMFXX) with a yield of 4.52 percent. Unlike many other money market funds, these don't have high investment minimums; you can put as little as $3,000 in the Vanguard account, and there is no minimum for Fidelity's.
This article was first published in the latest issue of The Week magazine. If you want to read more like it, you can try six risk-free issues of the magazine here.