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The Independent Investor: Is Bitcoin Broken?
By Bill Schmick,
05:14PM / Thursday, January 18, 2018
Bitcoin, Ethreum, Ripple and a number of other crypto currencies have had a terrible week. Some of these digital dollars have lost 25 percent overnight, if not more. Today Bitcoin, itself, is down almost 50 percent from that level. Those who warned that this mania would come to a tragic end are crowing now. Are they right?   Last July, I wrote my first column on the phenomena of crypto currencies. Since then, Bitcoin vaulted to historic highs, briefly touching $20,000 on Dec. 17. Since then clients, friends, relatives and yes, even my mother-in-law, have asked me if I thought crypto currencies were a good investment.   The answer will always depend on the price

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@theMarket: Melt-Up Continues
By Bill Schmick,
11:53AM / Saturday, January 13, 2018
It's been the best two weeks for the U.S. markets in decades. Investors seemingly can't get enough stocks in their portfolios, no matter how high the indexes climb. Ain't it grand?   Over the past few weeks, I have explained in detail that the stock market is in "melt-up" mode. You may think it's crazy, or that the gains are a result of excessive exuberance. You may even be sitting there with your arms crossed, pointing your finger at me and predicting this is all going to end badly for investors. That's fine, provide as many opinions as you like, but stay invested in the meantime.   Some ask me how you can have the U.S. dollar

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The Independent Investor: The Cost of MAGA
By Bill Schmick,
06:46PM / Friday, January 12, 2018
It is the guiding principle behind the Trump administration, but to "Make America Great Again" the U.S. may have to break some eggs. Are you ready for that?   "MAGA" is much more than a marketing gimmick. Almost every day, we uncover additional evidence of how the President and his supporters in Congress are dismantling regulations, taxes, and on the foreign front, trade deals.   For example, while the president professes to have "a great relationship" with China and admires its president, Xi Jinping, at the same time, he is working behind the scenes to apply more pressure to our sometime-friend,

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@theMarket: Look! Up in the Sky! It's a Bird ... It's a Plane ... It's the Stock market!
By Bill Schmick,
10:09AM / Saturday, January 06, 2018
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained a thousand points in a month. In just the first three days of 2018, all three U.S. averages hit consecutive record highs. Overseas indexes did even better.   Japan, for example, was up more than 3 percent on its first trading day of the year. Emerging markets continue to make new highs, while European bourses continue to climb. Those who expected the markets to tank in the New Year have thus far been wrong. How long can this last?   Short sellers, convinced that stocks just have to come down, bet on a market decline and have had their head handed to them on a daily basis. Undeterred, they point to the

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The Independent Investor: Beware the Tax Hit From Mutual Funds
By Bill Schmick,
03:22PM / Thursday, January 04, 2018
Plenty of investors will be faced with an unpleasant surprise. Any day now, one or more of the mutual funds that you own will be sending out their capital gain distributions for the year.   The tax hit could be quite large this year.   Many investors are not aware that mutual fund companies are required to distribute at least 95 percent of their capital gains to investors each year. Given the double-digit gains in the stock market last year, those gains could be an unwelcome liability when tax time rolls around.   At this late date, there is little one can do about it, other than pay the piper, but this year you can take steps to minimize 2018's

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