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@theMarket: Peak Earnings Versus the Yield Curve
By Bill Schmick,
03:39PM / Friday, April 27, 2018
"Never a dull market" could be the motto of choice to describe stock market performance year-to-date. This week, we need to add two more concerns to the market's wall of worry.   "Peak earnings" is the first issue, which has been brought to the forefront by the 18-20 percent earnings gains reported by companies thus far for the first quarter. The bears would describe peak earnings as the peak of a growth cycle for a stock or a group of stocks such as an index like the S&P 500 or Russel 2000.   Typically during peak earnings, a company will report big "beats" in revenue and profits, but management will then guide

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The Independent Investor: The Opioid Effect
By Bill Schmick,
06:29PM / Thursday, April 26, 2018
Opioids are killing us. Both literally, as well as from an economic point of view. The economy has already suffered over $1 trillion in lost potential and those losses appear to be growing by the hour.   Last year, 62,000 Americans fatally overdosed on some form of opioid. It is getting to the point that almost every one of us knows someone who is either addicted or died from these drugs. However, while death is a tragedy, we tend to ignore how much this problem is costing our society.   "You can't put a price tag on the death of a loved one," we say, but actually we can. It's called the "value of a Statistical Life," or VSL. Federal

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@theMarket: Earnings Up; Stocks, Not So Much
By Bill Schmick,
03:00PM / Friday, April 20, 2018
Earnings season kicked off last Friday with the bank results. The numbers were stellar, but the stock prices of those companies fell hard. Since then, the same thing has occurred to any number of companies. What is going on?   At first, you might think it's classic "sell on the news" behavior where traders bid stock prices up prior to the earnings announcement and then take profits immediately after. However, a closer look reveals something different going on.   For months, investors were expecting a boost to corporate profits from the tax cuts passed by Trump and the GOP last year. Boy oh boy, we said, just wait and see how great earnings will be

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The Independent Investor: Why the Tax Cuts Are Unpopular Among Americans
By Bill Schmick,
04:12PM / Thursday, April 19, 2018
Despite spending big money and all the marketing they can muster, the Republicans are still not able to convince most Americans that the tax cut benefits anyone but the rich and the corporations they own. Maybe, we are not as dumb as they think we are.   An April poll by Gallup indicated that 51 percent of Americans disapproved of the tax cut, versus 39 percent who approved of the cut. Another poll, conducted by NBC News/Wall Street Journal, found that 36 percent of the people they polled thought the tax cut was a bad idea, while only 27 percent believed it was a good idea.   Normally, you would think that a tax cut that benefits "all Americans" and

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The Independent Investor: The Facebook Fallacy
By Bill Schmick,
04:47PM / Thursday, April 12, 2018
After a grueling two-day inquisition before both houses of Congress, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, has left the building. The question is how much did anyone really learn about the privacy issues of this social media behemoth?   As most readers are aware, the present controversy erupted when it was revealed that a Trump-campaign related firm, Cambridge Analytica, harvested personal data from millions of Facebook users. It spawned a huge controversy over privacy, cybersecurity and Big Data companies in general.   I watched as much of the hearings as I could stomach. What was clear to me was most of our so-called legislators had no idea how Facebook

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