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@theMarket: Uncertainty Descends Upon the Markets
By Bill Schmick,
04:23PM / Friday, April 07, 2017
Pick your poison — U.S.-Syrian strife, weak employment numbers, China-U.S. relations — those are just some of the issues investors had to contend with this week. Despite these potential roadblocks, the averages hung in there, losing little ground as the week closed.   There was even more bad news, if you include the latest minutes of the Federal Reserve Bank's FOMC meeting. There was much discussion among the members and a chorus of assent to begin the delicate task of reducing the Fed's $4.5 trillion balance sheet later this year. Recall that the Fed bought mountains of U.S. Treasury bonds over the last eight years in an effort to keep interest rates low

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@theMarket: New Quarter, New Market
By Bill Schmick,
02:03PM / Saturday, April 01, 2017
As traders and institutions put to bed the first quarter, several concerns loom large in the weeks ahead. How things play out over that time period will have important implications for the averages, given that they are not far from their all-time, historical highs.   What will the Fed do in May? Will Washington pursue tax cuts and if so, will there be opposition?  What will first quarter earnings look like and how will markets react to all of the above? Let's look in my crystal ball, shall we?   Wall Street analysts expect corporate earnings to be higher by as much as 10-11 percent. That would be a big change from the recent past, where dismal guidance

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@theMarket: Fed Rate Hike Sets Stage For More
By Bill Schmick,
04:13PM / Friday, March 17, 2017

This week the Federal Reserve hiked interest rates again. That's two times in as many quarters. Back in the day, the markets would have swooned. This week they did the opposite. What gives?

The short answer is investors believe both the economy and inflation are beginning to accelerate, so the Fed has every right to reduce the gas and ease its foot off the monetary pedal. There is, after all, no need to keep interest rates at historically low levels at this point.

That's good news, after buoying both the economy and the financial markets through several years of anemic growth and worries over deflation. It is one explanation for why the stock market has climbed to

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@theMarket: Mushy Markets in March
By Bill Schmick,
04:44PM / Friday, March 10, 2017
Investors took a break this week from the ongoing Trump rally, even as the pace of change in Washington seems to be accelerating. Both the financial downside and political upside should be positive for your investment portfolio overtime.   The minor consolidation I have been expecting in the stock market began this week. The averages have pulled back a little, but the S&P 500 Index, for example, has lost less than one percent from its all-time highs. That's not exactly the end of the world ...   I see a meandering two steps back, one step forward, kind of market with the downside risk somewhere between 2,300 and 2,330 on the S&P 500 Index. That would

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@theMarket: Markets Are Priced for Perfection
By Bill Schmick,
01:52PM / Saturday, March 04, 2017

What a week for stock investors! All the main averages and most of the minor indexes registered historic highs. No question, Donald Trump has been good for the markets. The question is when will investors begin to take profits?

Calling a top (or a bottom) in the markets is notoriously difficult. Granted, over the years I have been lucky and managed to catch a turn or two once or thrice. As readers know, once we hit 2,330 on the S&P 500 Index, I expected and still do expect some profit-taking. That doesn't mean you should panic nor do anything more than raise a little cash.

My strategy is to re-employ that cash as we pull back. The timing of such a move is always more of

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