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@theMarket: Markets Hope for Trade Breakthrough
By Bill Schmick,
05:13PM / Friday, November 30, 2018
This Saturday evening, Donald Trump and Xi Jinping will sit down to dinner in Buenos Aires at the G-20 conference. Investors are holding their breath, hoping that the two might come to some agreement that could lower tensions and avert a full-out trade war between the U.S. and China.   Given past rhetoric and the president's mercurial temperament, anything could happen. Xi Jinping and his advisors, after years of dealing with Washington, believe if they just hang tough and wait Trump out, the outcome will be "business as usual" on their terms.   Unfortunately, Wall Street and the media have created another binary event out of the dinner. Either

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The Independent Investor: Sustainability Investing and Millennials
By Bill Schmick,
05:10PM / Thursday, November 29, 2018
The demand for sustainability investments is growing. Companies that offer measurable social and environmental impacts that address issues like world hunger, climate risk, poverty and access to health care, seem like a good investment for those socially-minded. Finding companies that also provide a good financial return at the same time is not so easy.   Sustainability investing is different from the decades-old trend called "social investing." Generally, social investments are those that bet on solar power, clean water, or the avoidance of "sin stocks" such as tobacco, guns or liquor companies. Most of these areas were not viable investments without a

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@theMarket: It Is a Black Friday on Wall Street
By Bill Schmick,
11:11AM / Saturday, November 24, 2018
Black Friday sales are in full swing. Normally, today is all about the retail trade. Consumers spend the day waiting in line, picking up heavily discounted "door buster" deals, and generally starting their holiday gift shopping. This year, it appears traders are also holding their own Black Friday sales.   The day after Thanksgiving, the stock and bond markets are open for a half day. Few turn up for work, so trading desks are usually manned by a skeleton crew, volumes are light and the indexes meander about the center line. As such, what happens on Black Friday has little consequence in the grand scheme of things.   The real action is before a

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The Independent Investor: The Origin of Black Friday
By Bill Schmick,
05:58PM / Thursday, November 22, 2018
As you finish your turkey and prepare to get an early start on Black Friday shopping, you might wonder how shopping became such an integral part of your Thanksgiving holiday. The term has followed a circuitous route through our financial history.   Although the term "Black Friday" is a new phenomenon, its origins date back to the late 19th century. The term was first associated with a stock market crash on Sept. 24, 1869.   Two speculators, Jay Gould and James Fisk, tried to corner the gold market. This created a boom-and-bust atmosphere in gold prices. That volatility spilled over into stocks. Before it was all said and done, stocks lost 20 percent of

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@theMarket: Markets Need to Hold Here
By Bill Schmick,
01:24PM / Saturday, November 17, 2018
This week saw a re-test of the October lows. That is to be expected in most stock market corrections. What is important to the future well-being of equities globally is that the averages do not decline much further from here.   That does not mean that if the S&P 500 Index, for example, falls by another percent or so the ball game is over. Remember, folks, calling the levels of the stock market is an art, not a science. Sure, we could overshoot (most times we do), thrash around a bit more, and then recover. What I don't want to see is a solid and definitive drop lower over a week or more.   On the S&P 500, if we were to break 2,685, the next level of

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