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@the Market: Stocks Look Ready to Reach New Highs
By Bill Schmick,
10:25AM / Saturday, May 12, 2018
The S&P 500 Index had its best week in two months. All the averages made good gains and investor sentiment numbers are improving. We could see a return to the January highs before summer unless something comes out of left field.   Left field has become a familiar place for the markets under the present political regime, but not all the news has been negative on that front. Take the release of three American prisoners by North Korea as an example. Kudos to the president for that one. Then there is the Iran nuclear deal — another campaign promise kept. Why are these important?   An American politician willing to keep his campaign promises is a historical

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@theMarket: China Worries Dominate Markets
By Bill Schmick,
04:59PM / Friday, May 04, 2018
You would think an unemployment rate that hit 3.9 percent in April would have cheered the market. It was, after all, the lowest such rate in 18 years. But no, all eyes were focused on the first round of China/U.S. trade talks, which conclude today.   The American team includes Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and two, hardline China hawks: Robert Lighthizer, our trade rep, and the administration's trade and manufacturing adviser, Peter Navarro. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin heads the team that is trying, according to the President 's tweet, "trying to negotiate a level playing field."   What we would like to see from the Chinese is a

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@theMarket: Peak Earnings Versus the Yield Curve
By Bill Schmick,
03:39PM / Friday, April 27, 2018
"Never a dull market" could be the motto of choice to describe stock market performance year-to-date. This week, we need to add two more concerns to the market's wall of worry.   "Peak earnings" is the first issue, which has been brought to the forefront by the 18-20 percent earnings gains reported by companies thus far for the first quarter. The bears would describe peak earnings as the peak of a growth cycle for a stock or a group of stocks such as an index like the S&P 500 or Russel 2000.   Typically during peak earnings, a company will report big "beats" in revenue and profits, but management will then guide

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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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@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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