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@theMarket: Markets Up on Thin Holiday Trading
By Bill Schmick,
03:15PM / Friday, December 31, 2021
The Santa Rally continued this week with the S&P 500 Index hitting a new record high. Most stocks that gained did so on little volume. Don't read too much into this week's gains, however.   There is an old, rarely used term called "painting the tape." It is a mild form of market manipulation where market traders buy and sell securities among themselves to create an appearance of substantial trading activity. The goal is to fool investors into buying into stocks, sectors, or the market thereby driving prices higher.   These kinds of tactics often result in an unsustainable spike higher in the averages, followed by a period of consolidation,

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The Retired Investor: Climate Change Is Costing Billions
By Bill Schmick,
04:04PM / Thursday, December 30, 2021
In 2021, worldwide, the costs of the ten worst disasters caused by climate change totaled more than $170 billion. It was the fourth time in the last five years that we have suffered that level of damages. Scientists expect next year to be even worse.   Insurance companies, like Zurich-based Swiss Re, bear the brunt of the costs of extreme weather. During the last decade, losses have been rising 5-6 percent per year, according to Swiss Re's recent analysis. They expect at least one $10 billion catastrophe, such as severe flooding, a winter storm, or a massive wildfire will be part of the new normal in weather changes.      What is worse, more than

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@theMarket: Markets Are Heading for Trouble
By Bill Schmick,
04:16PM / Friday, December 24, 2021
The continuing volatility in the stock market is troubling. It is likely signaling difficult times ahead as early as January or February 2022. As such, it is time to consider risk management.   After over a decade of steadily rising equity prices with few interruptions, investors have been lulled into believing that investing in stocks is a riskless game of never-ending profitability. Newcomers to the stock market arena, like your typical Robinhood investor, have been using stocks to supplement, or even replace, earned income.  Unfortunately, I believe we are entering an environment where the investment themes are changing to our detriment.   The most

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The Retired Investor: Time to Hire an Investment Adviser?
By Bill Schmick,
03:26PM / Thursday, December 23, 2021
Individual investors have had a decade or more of gains, compliments of a stock market that has gone up with few interruptions. But as we enter a new era of tighter monetary policy, the road ahead may be a bit rockier than most investors expect. As such, it might be time to enlist a little professional help to preserve those profits.   There is a saying on Wall Street that just about anyone can make money in a bull market. That may be a bit harsh. I don’t want to denigrate the efforts of so many who work hard at managing their own retirement portfolios. Some work diligently at following the markets and have made it a full-time occupation. Most others "dabble"

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@theMarket: Markets Keep Churning
By Bill Schmick,
04:32PM / Friday, December 17, 2021
As most investors expected, the Federal Open Market Committee announced the start of their tapering effort but doubled the pace of the monthly taper to $30 billion a month until March 2022 when the effort will conclude. In addition, FOMC members see three, 25-basis-point increases in the Fed Funds interest rate next year, and more in 2023.   Faced with the end of a decades-long era of loose monetary policy, historical behavior would indicate interest rates up, equities down. That still seems a good bet despite the market's immediate reaction to the Fed announcement.   Some participants may still be scratching their heads after Wednesday's (Dec. 16)

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