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@theMarket: Phase One Deal Keeps Markets Bullish
By Bill Schmick,
04:37PM / Friday, November 08, 2019
It was all about the trade deal this week. Both sides seem to want a resolution to the crippling tariffs that have sent the world's economies to the brink of recession. The relief that investors feel is reflected in the new highs we are enjoying at the moment.   I say "at the moment" because anything can change with a tweet. However, given the mounting problems of the Trump presidency, I believe he needs something positive (and fairly soon) to divert the nation's attention away from the impeachment hearings next week.   Trump appears willing to drop, or at least roll back, some (or all) of the tariffs he put in place, but he can't be seen

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The Independent Investor: Fringe Benefits Important as Paycheck
By Bill Schmick,
04:31PM / Thursday, November 07, 2019
Most of us know to the penny how much we made last paycheck, but how many of us know the details of our fringe benefits? Not many, I suspect, and that is a big mistake.   Retirement benefits are available to 77 percent of private industry workers and 91 percent of state and local government employees as of March 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Back in the day, offering perks to workers was a way to stand-out from your competition, but today they are essential tools of recruitment. And countless studies have shown that these benefits are a means to engage employees and increase productivity. That all sounds good on paper but in real life things may be

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@theMarket: Will Record Highs Beget Record Highs?
By Bill Schmick,
05:00PM / Friday, November 01, 2019
As third-quarter earnings wind down, the Fed cut interest rates again this week. Since both events seemingly matched investor expectations, what, then, will investors worry about in the coming months?   As predicted, the S&P 500 Index hit a modest new high this week based on the central bank's one quarter-point cut of the short-term Federal Funds interest rate on Wednesday. Robust earnings from certain favored companies, like Apple and Facebook, also helped sentiment and so the averages ground higher.   "You would think," said one miffed investor, "that after two years trapped in a trading range, we would have had a little more enthusiasm

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The Independent Investor: NCAA Up Against Ropes on College Pay for Athletes
By Bill Schmick,
05:08PM / Thursday, October 31, 2019
This week the Board of Governors of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) met at Emory University in Atlanta to hear the pros and cons of allowing athletes to accept money for endorsements. It has been a long time coming.   This is an issue that has been around for as long as I can remember, but it has only been the recent moves by certain states, as well as the Federal government, that has forced the NCAA to at least acknowledge that the status quo is no longer working for them or for their students.   It is currently illegal for athletes to receive gifts or income related to their college athletic activities. If they do and get caught, the

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@theMarket: Earnings Give Mixed Signals
By Bill Schmick,
03:57PM / Friday, October 25, 2019
So far, third-quarter earnings results have been all over the place. A mixed bag of beats, in-line numbers, and some big disappointments have kept the stock market treading water.   Companies such as Caterpillar, with large exposure to China, came in with lower than expected results. Boeing, another big Dow stock, also reported a 50 percent slide in earnings thanks to the problems generated by two crashes of their 737 Max aircraft. And yet, both stocks rallied on the news.   Semiconductor company Texas Instruments also issued poor earnings, sales, and guidance, but in this case, investors not only punished the stock but trashed the entire semiconductor sector

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