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@theMarket: All Eyes on the Fed
By Bill Schmick,
04:47PM / Friday, July 26, 2019
It was a week of chop. That was to be expected, given it was the first week of second-quarter earnings results. While some individual big-name stocks made substantial moves, the overall indexes traded up and down but ended the week about where they started.   It was largely what I predicted would happen. The same will apply to this coming week with all eyes intently focused on the July 31 meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee taking place next Wednesday. Investors expect the Fed to cut the Fed Funds interest rate by at least one quarter percent. Let's hope they do.   In the meantime, aside from earnings announcements, investors were confronted with

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The Independent Investor: Make Vietnam Great Again?
By Bill Schmick,
05:10PM / Thursday, July 25, 2019
Funny things happen when our government starts tinkering with the economy in a big way. Unpredictable results, unintended consequences, and confusion often result. U.S. tariffs on China is a case in point.   Now to hear it from the White House, slapping tariffs on imports from China is going to change the entire equation of how companies do business. As it becomes more expensive to import from China, Donald Trump promised that other foreign countries were going to flock to the U.S. creating more jobs, more tax revenues, and generally become a big part of "making the U.S. great again."   So far, the president is half right. Over 50 multinational

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The Independent Investor: Paid Family & Medical Leave Overdue
By Bill Schmick,
04:28PM / Thursday, July 18, 2019
Paid family and medical leave are long-overdue in this country   What do the United States, Papua New Guinea and Oman have in common? Those are the only three countries in the world that do not legally obligate employers or taxpayers to pay for maternity leave.   Many American businesspeople will hide behind a knee-jerk response to the above statement: "We are a free-market society," they will argue, "and paid leave is paramount to just another form of socialism."   Good try, but that old argument is no longer based in facts. Free markets have given way to corporate socialism in this country, while corporations are now legally

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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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The Independent Investor: Home Equity Can Pay for Long-Term Care
By Bill Schmick,
04:54PM / Wednesday, July 03, 2019
A home equity conversion mortgage (HECM) might simply be a fancy term for a reverse mortgage, but there are an increasing number of advisers and planners who are using them for an entirely different strategic planning purpose.   If you ask most couples in their 60s and beyond what is one of the greatest fears for their future, I'm betting that going bankrupt and/or losing their home and life savings as a result of nursing home bills would be right up there near the top.   We all have horror stories to tell of how one or both spouses needed to go into a nursing home and the costs drained all their assets and then some. Before they could apply for Medicaid,

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