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@theMarket: Earnings Up; Stocks, Not So Much
By Bill Schmick,
03:00PM / Friday, April 20, 2018
Earnings season kicked off last Friday with the bank results. The numbers were stellar, but the stock prices of those companies fell hard. Since then, the same thing has occurred to any number of companies. What is going on?   At first, you might think it's classic "sell on the news" behavior where traders bid stock prices up prior to the earnings announcement and then take profits immediately after. However, a closer look reveals something different going on.   For months, investors were expecting a boost to corporate profits from the tax cuts passed by Trump and the GOP last year. Boy oh boy, we said, just wait and see how great earnings will be

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The Independent Investor: Why the Tax Cuts Are Unpopular Among Americans
By Bill Schmick,
04:12PM / Thursday, April 19, 2018
Despite spending big money and all the marketing they can muster, the Republicans are still not able to convince most Americans that the tax cut benefits anyone but the rich and the corporations they own. Maybe, we are not as dumb as they think we are.   An April poll by Gallup indicated that 51 percent of Americans disapproved of the tax cut, versus 39 percent who approved of the cut. Another poll, conducted by NBC News/Wall Street Journal, found that 36 percent of the people they polled thought the tax cut was a bad idea, while only 27 percent believed it was a good idea.   Normally, you would think that a tax cut that benefits "all Americans" and

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The Independent Investor: The Facebook Fallacy
By Bill Schmick,
04:47PM / Thursday, April 12, 2018
After a grueling two-day inquisition before both houses of Congress, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, has left the building. The question is how much did anyone really learn about the privacy issues of this social media behemoth?   As most readers are aware, the present controversy erupted when it was revealed that a Trump-campaign related firm, Cambridge Analytica, harvested personal data from millions of Facebook users. It spawned a huge controversy over privacy, cybersecurity and Big Data companies in general.   I watched as much of the hearings as I could stomach. What was clear to me was most of our so-called legislators had no idea how Facebook

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@theMarket: The Trump Trade Bluff
By Bill Schmick,
04:23PM / Friday, April 06, 2018
This week, our fearless leader upped the ante on the tariff tiff with China. It went like this: Trump announced his list. China announced theirs. And at the end of the week, the president sees them one better. Aside from the volatility, it is causing in the stock markets, not much besides headlines has been accomplished.   Are you seeing the pattern yet? Think back to Trump's schoolyard diplomacy with Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea. First, a furious exchange of tweets and name-calling between the two. That was followed by saber-rattling on both sides. More test missiles. Naval ships steaming toward the Peninsula. The media spent days explaining the "what

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The Independent Investor: Free Trade Vs. Fair Trade
By Bill Schmick,
04:50PM / Thursday, April 05, 2018
In today's world, talk of tariffs is part of daily news headlines. Politicians use terms like "free" and "fair" almost interchangeably in discussing trade to justify their position for or against tariffs. Maybe it's time to review the difference between the two concepts.   While they may sound similar, free trade and fair trade are often at opposite ends of the pole. Free trade is a world where the gloves are off. It allows international cut-throat competition where the marketplace can drive the cost of products way below the price where anyone can make any money. Free trade makes things cheaper including the money we earn to produce those

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