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The Independent Investor: Cracks in the House of Saud
By Bill Schmick,
05:11PM / Thursday, November 09, 2017
Over the weekend, the government of Saudi Arabia announced multiple arrests of royal family members as well as other governmental officials. The official explanation was a new campaign to root out corruption, but many believe the raid was a power grab by the reigning Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.   Corruption in Saudi Arabia is as common as sand. It is what makes the wheels run so global observers discounted that excuse. The assumptions ranged from a thwarted coup against the reigning family to a consolidation of power orchestrated by the heir apparent.   As a result, gold jumped over $10 an ounce, oil spiked 3 percent and investors held their breath

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@theMarket: Investors Underwhelmed by Tax Reform
By Bill Schmick,
10:07AM / Saturday, November 04, 2017
With great fanfare, House Republicans rolled out a tax reform proposal that they promised would get this country going again and invigorate business, while creating jobs and huge savings for the middle class. What are they smoking?   Clearly, the entire reform package was simply a smoke screen to reduce taxes for American corporations with the majority of benefits directed at the country's largest companies. For the individual, depending on what you make and where you live, taxes will remain the same or go up.    Several legislators used a postcard as a prop claiming your individual tax return will be so simple it will fit on a postcard. The reason is

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The Independent Investor: Are You Ready for a Down Market?
By Bill Schmick,
05:02PM / Friday, November 03, 2017
It has been some time since we have had even a tiny decline in the stock market. Human behavior is such that we expect what has come before to continue into the future. When it doesn't, a whole host of emotions arise and most of them will be detrimental to your financial health.   A new survey by E-trade Financial, a discount broker dealer, reveals that well-heeled investors (those with $1 million or more in equity investments) are as bullish as they have been all year. Almost 75 percent of million dollar players are now bullish as we enter this final quarter of the year. Most of these investors are 55 or older and are significantly more optimistic than younger

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@theMarket: Markets Are Waiting for Tax Reform
By Bill Schmick,
10:48AM / Saturday, October 28, 2017
Stocks gyrated up and down this week as events in Washington competed with quarterly earnings results for investor's attention. Next week, we should find out more about both.   True to form, third-quarter earnings results have been in-line or better than expected. Over 70 percent of companies have "beat" earnings estimates, which is no surprise. Sales and earnings guidance have also been upbeat. For those unfortunate corporations who "missed" their targets on either the top or bottom line, retribution was swift and dramatic.   Some companies saw their stock price plummet 20 percent or more. And we are not just talking about penny stocks.

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The Independent Investor: IRS Changes Tax Rules for Next Year
By Bill Schmick,
02:39PM / Friday, October 27, 2017
As politicians squabble over tax reform and cuts, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) continues to do their job. New tax provisions for 2018 are out and some of them may be of interest to you.   Right now, there are seven marginal tax rates (soon to be three or four, if tax reform happens). Each tax bracket applies to a different income range. The highest tax rate (39.6 percent) will apply to all those who make $426,700, or $480,050 (married). The lowest rate, at 10 percent, would apply to those making $9,525 as an individual and $19,050, if married. You can review the other five brackets at your leisure by going to IRS.gov.   The IRS has also increased the

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