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@theMarket: Equities Register New Highs, Until They Don't
By Bill Schmick,
03:25PM / Friday, January 22, 2021

New highs are getting so common that investors are disappointed when markets fail to achieve them at least weekly. That should tell you something about the future direction of stocks, at least in the short term.

As investors piled into stocks again this week in anticipation of unending spending by the federal government, it might be time to take a few profits. Don't take that statement the wrong way. I am not calling for an end to this run-up in stocks. I think we could actually kiss the 4,000 level on the S&P 500 Index before we face a really big correction.

But that is only about a 3.5 percent move higher from here, something we could do between now and February if we

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The Retired Investor: The Reflation Trade
By Bill Schmick,
04:20PM / Thursday, January 21, 2021

Over the past six months, an increasing number of investors have come to believe that a rise in the inflation rate is inevitable. That appears to be a sound bet from where I sit, even though the present data doesn't support that wager.

The argument for increased inflation centers around money. The world is awash in the stuff. Central banks have been printing money for years to stimulate their economies. Last year's pandemic only opened the monetary flood gates even further. And the trend is not over.

During the next few months, here in the U.S., the Biden Administration is proposing another $1.9 trillion in federal spending, which will then be followed by yet another

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The Retired Investor: Asia: The Investment Case
By Bill Schmick,
05:05PM / Thursday, January 07, 2021

Investment managers have spent the last decade buying and selling U.S. equities largely to the exclusion of the rest of the world. That made a lot of sense, since the S&P 500 was the best performing index in the world during that period. But times are changing.

While our U.S. stock averages did well again in 2020, Asian stocks did equally as well, and in some cases, they did better. Some of that performance can be attributed to the declining dollar. A weaker dollar benefits U.S. holders of foreign equities, and most analysts expect the greenback to weaken further this year.   However, that is not the only reason for investing in Asia. Overall, valuations are cheaper,

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The Retired Investor: Where Have All the Christmas Trees Gone?
By Bill Schmick,
04:22PM / Thursday, December 24, 2020
If you are one of those eleventh-hour holiday Christmas tree shoppers, you may be out of luck this year. Fresh balsam furs and other varieties of the traditional Yule symbol are hard to find.   Blame the pandemic on the scarcity, but at the same time, celebrate the fact that more families than ever before are getting together this holiday season.  And decorating that tree could be an intensely personal experience for the whole family.   My wife, Barbara, and I actually set up our tree on Thanksgiving weekend. Given our ages, we chose to forgo turkey day with our loved ones, who reside in Manhattan, and tried to fill that emotional hole with something else.

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The Retired Investor: Oil's Comeback
By Bill Schmick,
01:55PM / Friday, December 18, 2020
Earlier this year, the price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil slumped into negative territory for the first time in history. Oil traded at a negative $37.63. Today, that same barrel of oil is changing hands at $47.48. What changed?   More than any other sector, the coronavirus has had a devastating impact on the global oil and gas industry. Declining consumer demand in the first quarter of the year in combination with high levels of energy production threatened to exceed worldwide oil storage capacity. OPEC plus, the oil cartel, took action on April 12 by cutting oil production by 9.7 million barrels per day, but by then it was too late. By April 20-22, you couldn't

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