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@theMarkets: Markets Muddle Through
By Bill Schmick,
04:17PM / Friday, September 27, 2019
As we close this quarter, investors are having a hard time deciding what the stock market’s next move will be. Since the future appears murky right now, equities are trapped in a tight trading range. Will we break out? And, if so, in which direction?   For the bulls, we are tantalizingly close to breaking out to all-time highs, but every time we do, something happens to spoil the parade. The bears, on the other hand, believe the markets are fraught with risk and should be sold. Both sides have a good case, but that decision is going to be made elsewhere, specifically, in Washington, D.C.   You would have to be marooned on a desert island not to know the

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The Independent Investor: India's Bid for More Trade
By Bill Schmick,
05:44PM / Thursday, September 26, 2019
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi is aggressively pushing for a greater share of global trade now that its neighbor to the north (China) is squabbling with the United States. In doing so, India is hoping to regain some economic momentum, kick-start employment, and reverse its slowing economy.   For those readers whose knowledge of India is limited to the next Bollywood musical, India's economy has been in the doldrums. It is still growing at a 5 percent clip, which may sound high to some, but it is at the lowest level in six years. The country's unemployment rate is presently at 8.19 percent, versus 6.27 percent last year.   Despite the poor

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The Independent Investor: The Era of U.S. Oil Independence
By Bill Schmick,
05:02PM / Thursday, September 19, 2019
Last weekend's surprise drone attack on Saudi Arabia's major oil fields was a disaster, but it could have been worse. Fifty years ago, an attack like that would have sent the world's financial markets into a tailspin and rocked global economies. None of that happened — thanks to the U. S. energy production.   Granted, there was an initial decline in the markets until the damage was assessed and experts concluded that the 5.7 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude production could be put back online within three weeks. The short-fall represented about half of the Saudi's daily production. Yet, the markets rebounded quickly, and for the most part, it is

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@theMarket: Investors Discover Value Stocks
By Bill Schmick,
05:10PM / Friday, September 13, 2019
Value stocks, those equities that have fallen out of favor, have made a comeback this week. These underpriced orphans have become the new darlings of Wall Street, while high-flyers (think software and some tech) have sold off. What does this say about the markets?   The short answer is that we have more room to run. It means, in my opinion, that we will reach and break historical highs in the U.S. averages and that we should have fairly smooth sailing into October. If, at that point, there are breakthroughs in the trade issue and the Federal Reserve Bank cuts interest rates, we could see the markets continue climbing. If, on the other hand, Trump trashes Chinese exports

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The Independent Investor: Europe Throws in the Towel
By Bill Schmick,
07:39PM / Thursday, September 12, 2019

The European Central Bank (ECB) announced a major new stimulus package on Thursday. A key interest rate was reduced, and a new bond-buying program was announced, amounting to $22 billion per month. In the past, those efforts would have been enough to boost the European economy, but will it be enough this time around?

It is not as if we haven't seen this before. Through the years, ever since the Financial Crisis of 2009, the ECB, as well as other central banks around the world, have stimulated their economies to avoid recession, or something worse. The problem is that monetary policy can only do so much before central banks find themselves "pushing on a

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