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@theMarket: October Lives Up to Its Name
By Bill Schmick,
03:42PM / Saturday, October 27, 2018
It happened like clockwork. Earlier in the week, all three main U.S. averages re-tested their lows and then proceeded to bounce back, only to give it all back. That's what happens during corrections, but it is not over yet.  After all, it is October.   Readers will recall that last week I wrote that nine out of 10 times markets will re-test their recent lows. Naturally, this is more of an art than a science, so prices can bottom somewhat above or below those lows. In this case, the Dow hit its lowest level in four months. The S&P 500 Index slipped below its recent lows while NASDAQ got hit the worst, wracking up a total 10percent decline from its

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The Independent Investor: Textbooks Worth Their Weight in Gold
By Bill Schmick,
11:41AM / Friday, October 26, 2018
Forget the stock market, internet, and whatever you might think is worth investing in. The good old college textbook beats them all.    That boring first-semester hardcover and similar books have risen over 1,000 percent in price since 1977. Textbooks are a big business. Estimates for the total value of the textbook industry range from $7 billion to $9 billion. And just a handful of companies sell them. The five largest publishers are: Pearson Education, McGraw-Hill Education, Scholastic, Cengage Learning and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. They have been around a long time, carry deep pockets and usually acquire any startups or smaller competitors in quick order. Some

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The Independent Investor: The Student Loan Crisis
By Bill Schmick,
04:14PM / Thursday, October 18, 2018
  Student loans have now become the second-largest pile of consumer borrowing, after home mortgages. What's worse, it is the fastest growing slice of American household debt and shows no sign of slowing down.   Young Americans are going to college in droves. At the same time, the costs of higher education are at historical highs. That combination has become a lethal cocktail that could hamstring young workers over their entire life and along the way damage the overall economy.   Since the financial crisis and Great Recession over a decade ago, student loans have grown by almost 157 percent. Compare that to auto loans, which have risen 52 percent. In

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@theMarket: Will China Be Next?
By Bill Schmick,
10:37AM / Saturday, October 06, 2018
After this week's trade deal between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, investors are waiting to see if China will now come to the table. What would it take for that to happen?   Mid-term elections could be the trigger. It wouldn't surprise me to see a deal before November — since the polls appear to favor the Democrats. Trump's tariff offensives, while supported by most of his base, are deeply disturbing to those who are feeling the brunt of foreign-trade retaliation.   Farmers, for example, and blue-collar workers in certain steel-related industries, are suffering. Many of them are also part of the 39 percent minority of Americans who support

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The Independent Investor: Estate Planning Is for All of Us
By Bill Schmick,
02:32PM / Friday, October 05, 2018
Here is a trick question. What did Aretha Franklin, Tupac Shakur, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Lincoln have in common? They are all famous people who died without a will.   In the case of the "Queen of Soul," she died in August leaving $80 million and according to Michigan state law, those assets should eventually be divided up among her four children. In the meantime, the entire estate must go through the probate process, which is both expensive and time-consuming.   Some other famous people who failed to prepare their heirs and beneficiaries for their eventual death are: Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Howard Hughes Sonny Bono, James Brown, Prince,

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