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@theMarket: Looking Ahead
By Bill Schmick,
03:58PM / Friday, July 05, 2019
Will the second half of the year be as good as the first half for the markets?   The S&P 500 Index finished up 18 percent for the six months ending June 30. That was the best first half since 1997. Historically, that kind of return is three times the gains investors can normally expect from the market in an average year. The chance of a repeat performance in the next six months is, at best, remote.   That doesn't necessarily mean this is as good as it gets for stock investors. My near-term target for the S&P 500 Index is somewhere around 3,050, which is a further 4 percent gain from here. From my vantage point, as long as interest rates continue to

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@theMarket: G-20 Weighs on Stocks
By Bill Schmick,
05:06PM / Friday, June 28, 2019
It wouldn't be a normal weekend in the financial markets without something to worry about. This weekend, it is the meeting of the two presidents, Trump and Xi, in Japan with $350 billion in new tariffs hanging on the outcome. What are the odds that they clinch a deal?   Not great, in my opinion. That doesn't necessarily mean that we need to brace for a worldwide economy-killing deluge of massive tariffs and counter-tariffs either. There is too much at stake for Donald Trump and China knows it. Instead, I expect we will get a classic Trumpian foreign policy "speak loudly and carry a little stick" maneuver.   Robert Lighthizer, our U.S. trade

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@theMarket: Stocks Should Move Higher From Here
By Bill Schmick,
04:09PM / Friday, June 21, 2019
It was a good week for investors. The S&P 500 Index hit an all-time high. The Fed indicated that they might cut interest rates sometime soon, and the President is once again optimistic about a China trade agreement. That’s a heady cocktail that could see markets gain another 3-5 percent over the next few weeks.   Of course, the critical caveat to my forecast remains President Trump's next tweet on the progress of a trade deal with China. As you know, with such a big “if” on the table, making future forecasts with even a modicum of certainty is impossible.   In last week's column, I enumerated all the scenarios that could play out,

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@theMarket: Markets Expect Fed to Cut Rates
By Bill Schmick,
04:08PM / Friday, June 14, 2019
Investors can credit the Fed once again for the market's revival thus far in June. The buying is fueled by expectations of three rate cuts by no later than December. Is that wishful thinking?   While only 23 percent of investors expect a rate cut next week when the Fed meets, 83 percent do expect a cut in July. The odds of another cut in September are now at 63.8 percent, with a third cut in December, which is expected by over half of market participants.   Given that the Fed's job description is to keep inflation under control, while supporting robust employment, one or the other of those variables will need to change in order for the Fed to cut rates.

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@theMarket: When Bad News Is Good News
By Bill Schmick,
04:47PM / Friday, June 07, 2019
You would think that a non-farm payroll report that was way below expectations would give investors pause. After all, when the pace of employment slows, it usually means that the economy is slowing as well. So why did the stock market spike higher?   It comes down to what the Fed may do. Contrary to many investors' belief that tariffs (or the lack thereof) are the critical element in the stock market's fortunes, I believe the actions of the U.S. central bank trump Trump's antics on the trade front.    A look back to the last quarter of 2018 reveals why I believe this is so. While the press gave plenty of space to the on again, off again

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