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@theMarket: Is the Market's Holiday Rally on Track?
By Bill Schmick,
04:32PM / Friday, December 02, 2022
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell delivered a bagful of gains this week for investors. Stocks roared to life as "Santa" came to town. And then the job numbers on Friday spoiled the mood.   "The time for moderating the pace of rate increases may come as soon as the December meeting," said Powell in his opening remarks at the Brooking Institute on Wednesday, Nov. 30. The word "moderating" was all the algos needed to hear.   It was equivalent to striking a match to a kid's backyard toy rocket. The U.S. dollar fell, stocks across the board exploded and the main indexes racked up gains of 3-4 percent-plus by the end of the day. Commodities

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The Retired Investor: Inflation Versus Wages
By Bill Schmick,
04:20PM / Thursday, December 01, 2022
American workers are making more dollars per hour than they did before the pandemic. That's the good news. The bad news is that inflation is wiping away most of those gains and the rate of wage growth is slowing.   Most Americans look at their paychecks today and feel pretty good. However, they realize that after spending on essentials such as food, fuel, education, and health, they realize that their wages are not keeping up with the cost of living.    "Real wages on average are falling, not rising," says San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly, summing up the present state of wage growth.   To be sure, there was a one-time surge

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@theMarket: Investors Await Inflation Data
By Bill Schmick,
11:03AM / Saturday, November 26, 2022
December could be a risky month for the stock market. A spate of inflation data, a European Union Russian energy embargo, and another Fed meeting toward the middle of the month, could determine the state of the stock market.   Traders are split between bulls and bears. The bearish view says that we hit the 4,100 level on the S&P 500 Index, and then we begin a decline that continues into next year. The bulls argue that the seasonal factors dictate a continued rally into at least January.   Many readers know where I stand. I have been predicting a market rise that could see the S&P 500 hit somewhere in the range of 4,000-4,100. That is the area where we

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The Retired Investor: Time to Rebuild the Strategic Petroleum Reserve?
By Bill Schmick,
03:19PM / Friday, November 25, 2022
The nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SRP) has been reduced by more than 25 percent over the last year. That is the lowest level in 40 years. Oil had dropped below $80 a barrel mark this week, causing some critics to argue that it might be time to start building the SRP back up. I disagree.   My reasoning centers on a handful of geopolitical events that could send oil prices soaring in the first week of December. To understand how important the SRP might be in that case, one needs to know more about the Biden administration's use of the SRP since 2021.   A year ago this month, on Nov. 23, 2021, President Joe Biden announced the release of oil from

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@theMarket: Markets on Hold
By Bill Schmick,
10:31AM / Saturday, November 19, 2022
Thanksgiving is right around the corner and then the Christmas holidays are upon us. Will Santa deliver coal, or will the stock market find gains in their stocking?   The bulls are expecting a pretty good market between now and year-end. Historically, the evidence is on their side, although there have been several years when the Grinch stole Christmas, stocks usually gain during the coming holiday season.   On the other hand, history has not been as reliable in predicting the market's direction of late. That is understandable, given the continuing presence of COVID mutations, a European War, soaring inflation, and rising interest rates. If the equity market

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