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@theMarket: Taper Talk Tanks Stocks
By Bill Schmick,
04:23PM / Friday, August 20, 2021
The July minutes of the last FOMC meeting were released Wednesday. In the announcement, Fed officials expressed their willingness to start reducing asset purchases before the end of the year. In response, traders dumped stocks. Was that the right move?   Stock jockeys seem to believe that by reducing monetary stimulus by even a smidgeon, all will be lost in the stock market. I find that hard to believe. The Fed is purchasing $120 billion a month in bonds. If they reduce that amount by $10-$20 billion, that still leaves a lot of central bank firepower.   A much better explanation for the losses this week could be that it is a slow week, and a seasonally

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The Retired Investor: Corporate Activism Comes of Age
By Bill Schmick,
04:14PM / Thursday, August 19, 2021
For decades, corporations stuck to their knitting, while letting Washington and the voters decide how to deal with social and political issues. But times are changing as companies become bigger and more powerful.   Corporations are speaking out on issues from LGBTQ rights to gun control. To some politicians, managements and their boards are throwing their weight around in ways that make elected officials uncomfortable. At first, I dismissed much of their actions as simply rhetoric, or just good public relations, but more companies are speaking out frequently on many issues.   Take the gun control issue. U.S. politicians on both sides of the aisle

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@theMarket: Stocks Grind Higher
By Bill Schmick,
09:31AM / Saturday, August 14, 2021
The major indices have been working higher over the last few weeks, while rotation among sectors continues unabated. The higher markets climb, the more investors begin to question how long the bull market can sustain its upward trajectory.    "Thin" would be the way I would describe the movement upward in the S&P 500 Index. The same term could be used for the slight downward drift in the NASDAQ and technology stocks in general this week. It is August, after all, and volumes dry up as many on Wall Street take vacations.   Technically, we are trading in the middle of a monthly range in many sectors. A cursory view of some of the sectors reveals

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The Retired Investor: Back-to-School Season
By Bill Schmick,
01:27PM / Friday, August 13, 2021
It is not an easy decision. On one hand, consumers want to go out and shop for their children's upcoming school year. But at the same time, they are concerned that if they do, they might catch the coronavirus. There is no easy answer.   This 2021-2022 school year was supposed to usher in a new beginning. As such, retailers are still expecting sales of clothes, school supplies, and college dorm décor items to increase by 5.5 percent from last years' depressed COVID-levels. Even so, that still won't match 2019's 6.7 percent increase, but it is getting close, or was until the Delta variant arrived.   I thought that parents have the extra cash

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@theMarket: Higher Stocks Climb, Cheaper They Get
By Bill Schmick,
04:43PM / Friday, August 06, 2021
As stocks hit record high after record highs, it might be normal to expect that equities will just get too expensive and collapse under their own weight. Not necessarily.   One of the investor's favorite valuation metrics is called the forward price/earnings (P/E) ratio. The concept is quite simple: compute the market value of any stock and divide it by what the company is projected to earn over the next 12 months. If the ratio is higher than the long-term average, consider it expensive. It is considered cheap (generally) when the stock trades below that average.   The P/E ratio you can compute for an individual stock can also be applied to a market index,

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