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@theMarket: Pick Your Poison
By Bill Schmick,
04:32PM / Friday, March 08, 2019
Investors were greeted on Friday with two nasty surprises. Both occurred in February. Chinese exports dropped by 20.7 percent, while in the U.S., the nation added a dismal 20,000 jobs. As you might expect, the stock market did not take the news well.   What really spooked traders was how far apart these numbers were to expectations. Over here, we were expecting 180,000 jobs to be added to the payroll number. In China, where the economy had been expected to weaken, exports had been forecasted to decline by 6 percent, versus the prior year.   Before the ink had dried on the jobs data, the administration was already sending their point man on the economy, Larry

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@theMarket: Stocks on Hold
By Bill Schmick,
04:26PM / Friday, March 01, 2019
February delivered good gains for the markets. All the main averages were up, continuing January's climb toward the old highs. This week, momentum stalled a bit, indicating that investors need more good news to continue buying.   A China trade agreement (or lack thereof) still takes center stage. Despite the Washington, D.C., circus surrounding the testimony of Michael Cohen, the president's chief "fixer" for over a decade, traders largely ignored the hype.   At the same time (no accident in the scheduling), President Donald Trump hoped to take the spotlight off Cohen and back on him by meeting with Kim Jung-un in Hanoi for a second summit.

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@theMarket: Markets Gain on Hope & a Prayer
By Bill Schmick,
04:39PM / Friday, February 15, 2019
Investors remain cautiously optimistic that the wall of worry that has been plaguing us for months may now be crumbling. That's no sure thing, but at least we did have some good news this week.   While most investors were not expecting a repeat of last month's partial government shut-down, it was still a relief to see that issue put to bed on Friday. The president reluctantly signed the budget bill that Congress passed over his objections.   Granted, the president did not get his wall, although now he is threatening to get the funding by declaring a national emergency on our southern border. Whether there is or is not such an emergency, by declaring one,

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@theMarket: Markets Are China Dependent
By Bill Schmick,
04:23PM / Friday, February 08, 2019
Profit-taking is a natural and expected part of the stock market. That's why no one should be surprised that this week we are witnessing a period of consolidation. It is actually a good thing.   Given that most investors need a reason to explain any market declines, this week's announcement that President Trump is postponing his meeting with Xi, his Chinese counterpart, was both a surprise and a disappointment. It shouldn't be.   Over the last few months, I have tried to reduce investors' expectations of an easy, one-shot, Chinese break-through on the trade front. The postponement is actually a positive, in the sense that both sides are taking

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@theMarket: The Fed Finds Religion
By Bill Schmick,
09:26AM / Saturday, February 02, 2019
After two years of tightening monetary policy, the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank signaled this week that it was time to put their monetary tightening program on hold. The stock market soared in celebration.   As we closed out the month of January, stocks are gaining. The October-December declines that culminating in the "Christmas Eve Massacre," which were the worst in 80 years, are rapidly disappearing. Investors who were smart enough to hold fast should be made whole again by the end of this quarter, if not before.   That does not mean that the volatility that has beset the markets of late will fade away. Quite the contrary, I expect the wild swings in

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