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@theMarket: The Summer of Financial Discontent
By Bill Schmick,
05:13PM / Friday, August 30, 2019
As we close out the summer, investors have had anything but a sleepy three months. The volatility caused by the Fed's actions, Donald Trump's tweets, Brexit, and tariff threats had markets gaining and losing billions — if not trillions — of dollars in assets on a weekly, and sometimes, daily basis.   The question you might ask is "Will it continue?" The short answer is yes, at least into October, unless a trade deal is signed. And what are the chances of that happening? Not very high, if you listen to the experts who profess to know and understand China.    A respected Deutsche Bank economist, Yi Xiong, wrote in a

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The Independent Investor: The Rising Costs of Hurricanes
By Bill Schmick,
04:58PM / Thursday, August 29, 2019
Over the last few decades, hurricanes have wreaked havoc on this country. Hurricanes have caused the most deaths, the greatest damage, and cost the most money of any weather or climate-related disasters in U.S. history. Some say we're just getting started when it comes to the intensity and frequency of these super storms.   The frequency of hurricanes (like just about any other subject you can think of in this country these days) can be a political football depending on who you talk to. Environmentalists blame a warmer climate and rising sea levels, caused by greenhouse gas emissions, for the rise in super storms. If you are in the Trump camp, the tendency is to deny

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The Independent Investor: Will We race to the Bottom?
By Bill Schmick,
04:22PM / Thursday, August 08, 2019
Financial markets are in turmoil. President Trump's trade war is escalating, and with it, fears that both China and the U.S. will employ a new weapon, currency devaluation, to win the war. Is that a wise move?   The last time the country devalued the dollar outright was on Dec. 18, 1971, when President Nixon took the country off the gold standard. Since then, there have been times when various administrations have nudged the dollar down, but most American presidents have maintained a strong-dollar policy.   However, over the course of the last two years, President Trump has increasingly complained that the United States is at an unfair advantage versus other

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@theMarket: Tariff Threat Unsettles Markets
By Bill Schmick,
04:26PM / Friday, August 02, 2019
Donald Trump's announcement on Thursday that an additional 10 percent tariff will be levied on the remaining $300 billion in Chinese exports to the U.S. on September 1 did not sit well with investors. The news could very well trigger the stock market decline that I have been expecting.   Regular readers know that I have been waiting for a 5-7 percent pullback in the markets fairly soon. Since the first two weeks of August are usually a bad time in the markets, the pullback this week might be right on cue.    In my last column, I also explained in some detail how it appeared that Donald Trump had no intention of negotiating in good faith with the Chinese

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The Independent Investor: Brexit: The Never-Ending Story
By Bill Schmick,
05:06PM / Thursday, August 01, 2019
Back in 2018, the government of the United Kingdom and the European Union reached an agreement on exactly how the British exit (Brexit) would occur. Since then, despite countless meetings, discussions and votes, the UK Parliament has failed to approve that process. The new date for an exit is Oct. 31. Will this really be the end of the story?   The October extension was really a compromise negotiated by former Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain's Conservative Party. Some European countries were offering a much longer delay for as much as one year.  However, Emmanuel Macron, the French President, insisted on a much shorter time period.    Macron

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