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Independent Investor: Europe — A Train on the Right Tracks
By Bill Schmick,
03:42PM / Thursday, October 27, 2011
It finally looks like the European Union is on the right track. After almost two years of vacillating, finger pointing and empty promises, the outlines of a deal were announced this week in Brussels that could provide a solution to Europe’s debt crisis.

The EU gave itself a self-imposed deadline of this Wednesday to come up with at least an outline of a deal. It wasn't easy. There were so many moving parts to include that in the end it took a marathon, ten-hour series of negotiations to get everyone on board.

The respective finance ministers addressed the three areas that most threatened the financial well-being of the Union. Greek debt was the first order of business.


@theMarket: She Said, He Said
Bill Schmick,
06:05AM / Saturday, October 22, 2011
Forget about earnings. Forget about the economy. None of it matters. Investors are totally mesmerized by every twist and turn in the on-going soap opera playing out in Europe.

A week ago, France and Germany announced they had a deal that would be all but completed this weekend and signed, sealed and delivered by Nov. 3, the date of the next G-20 meeting. Markets rallied. Then word came down that this weekend may be too soon for a definitive agreement. Markets fell.

Markets both sold off and then rallied when both French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Prime Minster Angela Merkel indicated that, while no definitive agreement would be completed this weekend, both countries were in


The Independent Investor: Can you blame them?
By Bill Schmick,
11:01PM / Thursday, October 20, 2011
From May through September of this year, retail investors yanked over $90 billion from stocks funds. If you include the money investors have taken out of mutual funds since January 2007, the total is almost $250 billion. The question is whether or not the little guy will ever want to come back to the market?

It is not too difficult to understand why investors have abandoned stocks en masse. The declines and losses most investors experienced in 2008-2009 were traumatic. Many investors never returned to the equity markets, but preferred, instead, to keep their money in bonds or money markets. Those who did participate in the subsequent stock market rally from March, 2009 to the beginning

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The Independent Investor: The American Autumn
By Bill Schmick,
03:08PM / Thursday, October 13, 2011
Occupy Wall Street, contrary to press reports, did not "come from nowhere." The American grassroots movement that has spread to more than 40 cities is a natural progression of protests that began in the Arab world this spring.

But don't try to compare what is happening today on Wall Street or in D.C. to the ongoing struggle for basic human rights in the Middle East, nor to the riots in Greece over their debt crisis, or the seemingly senseless rampage of young people through the neighborhoods of London this summer. The one palpable thread that weaves its way throughout the masses in this global awakening of civil disobedience is that these protestors are convinced that their


@theMarket: Bottoming Out
By Bill Schmick,
08:29PM / Monday, October 10, 2011
One could tend to dismiss this week's market move as just another short-covering rally triggered by unsubstantiated rumors from Europe. Friday's sell-off in the face of fairly good unemployment data bolsters that premise. So why do I feel we have further to go on the upside?

Call it a feeling; call it a hunch, but the market's action over the last week or so makes me think that the rally is not quite over. I noticed that during our recent break of the 1,100 level of the S&P 500 Index (The Low) on Oct. 4, the number of new lows was less than the number of new lows in stock prices registered on Aug. 8. And on that same day, the number of stocks above their 200-day moving average

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