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@theMarket: FOMO Infects Investors
By Bill Schmick,
04:55PM / Friday, January 24, 2020
The stock market is frothy. The great gains that investors experienced last year are extending into this year. As the indexes climb, more and more of those on the sidelines are jumping in. Is this a good sign?   No, it isn't. "The Fear of Missing Out," or FOMO is rearing its greedy head on Wall Street. Those who may have raised some cash in the past few months, fearing a trade war, or the impeachment proceedings, have watched the portfolios underperform the averages, ignore all the negative news and climb higher.   On the geopolitical front, we have seen the same thing. Selling on fear of an Iranian response to the killing of one of their heroes

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@theMarket: Fed Stimulus Continues to Pump the Markets
By Bill Schmick,
04:59PM / Friday, January 17, 2020
When asked, the members of the Federal Reserve Board continue to argue that the almost $500 million they have pumped into the overnight repurchase market since September is not quantitative easing. The stock market disagrees.   "Not QE" is the term most often used by the Street in describing this fairly hefty expansion of the central bank's balance sheet. Because the purchases that the Fed is making are categorized as debt instruments that mature in 12 months or less, they escape the hard and fast definition of what the Fed labels as quantitative easing. QE is the purchase of longer-dated maturities of debt instruments, so the Fed is technically

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@theMarket: The Teflon Markets
By Bill Schmick,
04:12PM / Friday, January 10, 2020
It was another up week for the stock market. As we hit record high after record high, investors want more and expect to get it. Forecasts are getting even rosier for this year and, if all goes well, we can expect the signing of the long-awaited Phase One China trade deal next week. What's not to like?   Geopolitics for one thing. As I wrote last week, investors should expect a response after the killing of Iran's No. 2 guy, Gen. Qasem Soleimani. I expressed hope that it would be sooner rather than later since the market hates the unknown. That turned out to be the case.   The Iranian response, however, was largely symbolic. Several rockets that did

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@theMarket: New Wall of Worry for Markets
By Bill Schmick,
06:27PM / Friday, January 03, 2020
Donald Trump's decision this week to kill Iran's second-most important figure, Gen. Qassem Soleimanai, this week placed a time-out on the stock market's bull run into the New Year. Do you run for the hills or do you buy the dip?   If I look back to other geopolitical events, my first reaction is to use any further declines as an opportunity to increase exposure to the stock markets. At the same time, I wouldn't chase those categories of assets that have vaulted higher in response to this event. Gold and oil both moved higher overnight, but those gains could be fleeting as investors begin to assess whether or not there will be any further

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@theMarket: Will This Year Be Like the Last One for Stocks?
By Bill Schmick,
03:58PM / Friday, December 27, 2019
It is that time of the year when fortune telling becomes a popular past time in the financial markets. Every Wall Street strategist releases their projections for the economy, the markets, and earnings for the New Year. What strikes me about 2020's crop of predictions is their similarity.   My own informal survey of analyst's forecasts seems to converge around a 1.8 percent-2.0 percent prediction for economic growth in the U.S. Earnings, for the most part, hover around the unchanged mark, or slightly better. These professional forecasters are looking for no more than average gains in the rate of return (ROR) for stocks based on the equity benchmark index, the S&P

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