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@theMarket: The Markets Melt Up
By Bill Schmick,
03:52PM / Friday, February 03, 2023
The gains of January are extending into February. Leading the gains are those stocks that suffered the worst declines last year. Can this runaway breakout in the averages continue?   The critical trigger that could have broken the markets has come and gone. The Federal Open Market Committee occurred on Wednesday, ending with another quarter-point hike in the Fed funds rate. The bears were convinced that Fed Chairman Jerome Powell would come out swinging with a hawkish monologue. It didn't happen.   In the Q&A session, Powell kept to the line that another rate hike is probable, headway against inflation is encouraging, and the central bank is on track to

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@theMarket: Macro-Economic Data Indicate a Soft Landing
By Bill Schmick,
03:48PM / Friday, January 27, 2023
The economy grew faster than most expected in the fourth quarter. Unemployment continues to remain tame and corporate earnings, while not stellar, have been good enough to support financial markets this week.   Good news on the economy has been bad news for the stock market at least since the Fed has been tightening interest rates. The reasoning has been that stronger growth and employment would feed the inflation rate forcing even further tightening by the U.S. central bank and ultimately choking off the economy.   Now that inflation appears to be coming down, a bullish case is building that says we might get away with just a mild (as opposed to a full-fledged)

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@theMarket: Markets Are Stuck in Chop City
By Bill Schmick,
10:36AM / Saturday, January 07, 2023
Welcome to a new year of financial markets. But while the dates have changed, stocks continue to disappoint.   The S&P 500 Index has been caught in a range with the mid-point around the 3,800 level. Next week, we could see a minor break higher to the 3,920 level, but it probably won't last. That is because Wall Street experts are as confused as the rest of us. Forecasts for 2023 are all over the place with some strategists predicting an up year while others believe the declines of last year will continue.   The confusion stems from a variety of unknowns including the path of inflation, interest rates, and the economy overall. Currently, the markets are

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@theMarket: Good News on Economy Is Bad News for Stock Market
By Bill Schmick,
03:57PM / Friday, December 23, 2022
The good news on the economy has been bad news for the stock market. That's been the name of the game for the last several months. This week, we had more of the same.   The third and final revision of the U.S. third-quarter 2022 Gross Domestic Product came out on Thursday, Dec. 22. It was revised up to an annual rate of 3.2 percent from 2.9 percent. That's a sizable increase. The engine behind that growth was consumer spending and U.S. exports.   On the unemployment front, jobless claims for last week were roughly flat versus the previous week. That indicates that employment is still running hot. Neither of those data points gives the Fed any reason to

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@theMarket: Markets at Odds With the Fed
By Bill Schmick,
09:56AM / Saturday, December 17, 2022
"Don't fight the Fed" is an oft-quoted market saying that has remained sage advice for the past decade or two. Recently, however, it appears investors are thumbing their noses at that advice.   This week, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and his FOMC members released yet another warning that they see a long drawn-out battle with inflation that will last well into next year. Given the decline in bond yields and the rise in equity indexes, the financial markets appear to disagree. Who will turn out to be right has major implications for what happens to financial markets into the New Year.   The recent good news on the inflation front — lower monthly

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