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@theMarket: Markets Gain on Hope & a Prayer
By Bill Schmick,
04:39PM / Friday, February 15, 2019
Investors remain cautiously optimistic that the wall of worry that has been plaguing us for months may now be crumbling. That's no sure thing, but at least we did have some good news this week.   While most investors were not expecting a repeat of last month's partial government shut-down, it was still a relief to see that issue put to bed on Friday. The president reluctantly signed the budget bill that Congress passed over his objections.   Granted, the president did not get his wall, although now he is threatening to get the funding by declaring a national emergency on our southern border. Whether there is or is not such an emergency, by declaring one,

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The Independent Investor: Trump's War on Drug (Prices)
By Bill Schmick,
04:19PM / Thursday, February 14, 2019
For the second year in a row, President Donald Trump called on Congress to do something about the escalating drug prices in America. The president is doggedly pursuing this campaign promise in the face of an army of special interest groups and big drug companies. Hurrah for you, Mr. President.   In his State of the Union address he said:   He wants our legislators to "deliver fairness and price transparency for American patients. We should also require drug companies, insurance companies, and hospitals to disclose real prices to foster competition and bring down costs."   Given that drug pricing is a complicated area and there have been

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@theMarket: Markets Are China Dependent
By Bill Schmick,
04:23PM / Friday, February 08, 2019
Profit-taking is a natural and expected part of the stock market. That's why no one should be surprised that this week we are witnessing a period of consolidation. It is actually a good thing.   Given that most investors need a reason to explain any market declines, this week's announcement that President Trump is postponing his meeting with Xi, his Chinese counterpart, was both a surprise and a disappointment. It shouldn't be.   Over the last few months, I have tried to reduce investors' expectations of an easy, one-shot, Chinese break-through on the trade front. The postponement is actually a positive, in the sense that both sides are taking

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@theMarket: The Fed Finds Religion
By Bill Schmick,
09:26AM / Saturday, February 02, 2019
After two years of tightening monetary policy, the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank signaled this week that it was time to put their monetary tightening program on hold. The stock market soared in celebration.   As we closed out the month of January, stocks are gaining. The October-December declines that culminating in the "Christmas Eve Massacre," which were the worst in 80 years, are rapidly disappearing. Investors who were smart enough to hold fast should be made whole again by the end of this quarter, if not before.   That does not mean that the volatility that has beset the markets of late will fade away. Quite the contrary, I expect the wild swings in

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