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The Independent Investor: The Business of Baseball
By Bill Schmick,
04:04PM / Thursday, March 28, 2019
Attendance is down, as is viewership, as we head into the 2019 season. Major League Baseball is hoping some rule changes will turn around the decline. Will it be enough, and does it matter anyway?   Defenders of the game argue that last season's declines were to be expected. Television ratings for all sporting events have been declining for years.  But TV ratings in the new world of digital streaming are not what they used to be. There just isn't a good way to capture this new viewership data.   However, there is no way of denying that no World Series (the most popular of baseball's games) has been able to beat the average of 20 million viewers

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@theMarket: Does the Fed Know Something We Don't?
By Bill Schmick,
09:55AM / Saturday, March 23, 2019
Sometimes too much good news can be interpreted badly. Take the U.S. central bank's about face on monetary policy late last year. That was good news and investors responded by bidding the stock market up by 20 percent. But this week we may have received even better news, or did we?   The Fed did more than met investors' expectation this week at the central bank's monthly Federal Open Market Committee meeting. Chairman Jerome Powell indicated that there would be no more interest rate hikes for the remainder of the year (after saying back in December that two rate hikes were on the table for 2019). There was even some discussion that a rate cut might be possible,

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The Independent Investor: Will Pot Stocks Go Up in Smoke?
By Bill Schmick,
05:29PM / Thursday, March 21, 2019
Today, medical marijuana is legal in 33 states, while recreational marijuana is legal in 10 states, plus the District of Columbia. Although there has been progress, little of the recent enthusiasm and hype over pot stocks will come to naught unless the federal government does a major about face and legalizes the substance. What are the chances of that?   Billions of dollars' worth of investment, stock market gains, and federal, state, and local taxes are at stake. Predicting the outcome of such a change in federal legislation is, for now, like betting all your chips on red or black in a roulette game. Nonetheless, a growing number of retail investors want to "get

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The Independent Investor: Does Our Debt Really Matter?
By Bill Schmick,
04:34PM / Thursday, March 14, 2019
The country's national debt hovers at historically record highs, as the nation's budget battle begins. It's a pretty safe bet to expect another budget-busting compromise as well as a hefty increase to our already-overwhelming debt load.   At times like this I wonder whether Americans are facing the prospect that someday the United States could be the world's largest impoverished nation, and if so, does it really matter?   Last week's column examined the subject of debt, both private and domestic, and how large it has become. This week, I begin by asking why debt matters at all? On a personal level, we know the answer, but what about the

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@theMarket: Pick Your Poison
By Bill Schmick,
04:32PM / Friday, March 08, 2019
Investors were greeted on Friday with two nasty surprises. Both occurred in February. Chinese exports dropped by 20.7 percent, while in the U.S., the nation added a dismal 20,000 jobs. As you might expect, the stock market did not take the news well.   What really spooked traders was how far apart these numbers were to expectations. Over here, we were expecting 180,000 jobs to be added to the payroll number. In China, where the economy had been expected to weaken, exports had been forecasted to decline by 6 percent, versus the prior year.   Before the ink had dried on the jobs data, the administration was already sending their point man on the economy, Larry

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