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The Independent Investor: Italy's Crisis Threatens Financial Markets
By Bill Schmick,
04:05PM / Thursday, May 31, 2018
A political crisis in the fourth largest economy in Europe has spilled over into the financial markets. Global stock exchanges greeted Italy's present political dysfunction by registering major declines — and the crisis may just be getting started.   Back in 2010 through 2012, readers may recall a similar eurozone calamity. Greece was at the center of that maelstrom and, at its worse, threatened the viability of the European Union and its currency, the Euro. This time around, many of the same issues are now bedeviling Italy. The country has the third largest debt load in the world after the U.S. and Japan. It still suffers from double-digit unemployment

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@theMarket: Nothing Memorable in the Markets this Week
By Bill Schmick,
04:35PM / Friday, May 25, 2018
Most indexes ended the week where they started. While day traders may have lost or gained from intraday moves, serious investors simply ignored the constant and contradictory stream of news coming out of Washington.   It isn't worth the space to comment on all the on-again, off-again series of tweets and statements that has become part of our daily diet. The main events that did carry some substantive weight were the House rollback of the Dodd-Frank rules. This easing of regulations on all but the largest banks, removes the required ‘stress tests' from most banks. While it relaxes some of the more stringent rules on banks, it does continue to regulate those

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The Independent Investor: It Is No Longer Enough to Simply Manage Money
By Bill Schmick,
03:37PM / Thursday, May 24, 2018
Back in the day, money managers were revered. News stories spotlighting the year's "hottest hands," or that hedge fund's rising star were all the rage. Retail investors chased performance and paid for it. But times are changing, and simply beating the market for a year or two fails to impress most investors.   And with good reason.   Most of us are in the investment game for the long haul. We are saving for retirement: a process involving decades of saving and planning. Chasing the firm or adviser that "beat the market" this year has turned out to be a disastrous approach to that concept.   Most of us have now realized

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The Independent Investor: Are Americans Saving Enough for Retirement?
By Bill Schmick,
05:00PM / Thursday, May 17, 2018
If you simply read the headlines, you would assume that over half of Americans aged 55 and over, have no savings as they approach retirement. That's a dramatic statement, but is it true?   Most statisticians derive that data by adding up those who have an IRA or similar tax-deferred savings account such as a 401(k). The latest data compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank's Survey of Consumer Finance indicated that 53 percent of households, age 55 to 64, had some savings in those tax-deferred accounts. So, yes, by that standard, almost half of all Americans fail the savings test.   But what about all the people who work for the government? There are 22

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@the Market: Stocks Look Ready to Reach New Highs
By Bill Schmick,
10:25AM / Saturday, May 12, 2018
The S&P 500 Index had its best week in two months. All the averages made good gains and investor sentiment numbers are improving. We could see a return to the January highs before summer unless something comes out of left field.   Left field has become a familiar place for the markets under the present political regime, but not all the news has been negative on that front. Take the release of three American prisoners by North Korea as an example. Kudos to the president for that one. Then there is the Iran nuclear deal — another campaign promise kept. Why are these important?   An American politician willing to keep his campaign promises is a historical

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