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@theMarket: Markets Bounce 10 Percent Since Christmas
By Bill Schmick,
10:34AM / Saturday, January 12, 2019
The stock markets have gained almost one percent per day since the beginning of the year. If you had panicked and sold during the Christmas holidays, you are sitting in cash wondering when to get back in. Here is some advice.   Patience should be at the top of your "to-do" list. If you believe we are in a bear market, then the kind of rebound we are seeing in the equity markets is completely normal. Bear markets are characterized by waterfall declines followed by sharp, explosive upside rallies. Unfortunately, these fantastic trading opportunities are just that — trades.   If you are not living the markets every single moment, day-in, day-out,

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The Independent Investor: Changes to Social Security and Medicare Benefits
By Bill Schmick,
04:03PM / Thursday, January 10, 2019
As the year begins, those who are retired, or who plan to soon, need to know the changes the government has recently announced to your benefits.   The good news is that retirees will get a 2.8 percent increase in Social Security payments. While that doesn't sound like much, it happens to be the largest cost-of-living adjustment in seven years. What that amounts to for the average couple in retirement is about $67 per month, or an average monthly payment of $2,448.   If you are one of those workers like me, who waited until 70 years of age before collecting benefits and are considered a "high earner," then you will be receiving as much as $73 more

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@theMarket: The Trump Dump
By Bill Schmick,
09:52AM / Saturday, December 22, 2018
The sell-off in stocks has now exceeded the 2016 decline. Investor sentiment is as low as it has been since May of that year. The Fed refuses to save us, and Donald Trump insists on his wall or he will lay off thousands of federal workers. Did I say Merry Christmas?   The reasons for this rout are well-known by now. The latest disappointment was on Wednesday when, contrary to investor's expectations, the Fed stood firm in their quantitative tightening agenda. For a more in-depth view of the reasons for their stance, please read my Thursday column "The Fed Stands Tall."   The markets expressed their unhappiness by declining 1.5 percent in the last

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The Independent Investor: The Fed Stands Tall
By Bill Schmick,
06:25PM / Thursday, December 20, 2018
Sometimes it takes a while, but financial markets almost always test a new incoming Federal Reserve Bank chairman. On Wednesday, Jerome Powell faced his test and passed with flying colors. Of course, a glance at the stock market averages at the end of the day on Wednesday would have the casual observers scratching their heads.   As most readers know, the stock market has been declining since October. One of the reasons for the sell-off is the fear that the Federal Reserve Bank's gradual tightening policies have gone too far. Their continuous interest rate hikes coupled with the selling of $50 billion of U.S. Treasury bonds every month had started to reduce the excess

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@theMarket: The Market's Winter Storm
By Bill Schmick,
03:28PM / Friday, December 14, 2018
Stocks worldwide have experienced a downdraft since October. All the gains so painstakingly made thus far in 2018 have been erased. Volatility has battered markets with all the severity of a Nor'easter. Next year may prove to be a continuation of the same.   It is interesting that the culprits responsible for this change of heart in the markets have been around for just about all of the past year. Leading the list is Donald Trump. It was our president that decided to wage a trade war against the world. There has been little success in his battle thus far. The prospect of more of the same faces us well into the new year.   The Federal Reserve Bank can also

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