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@theMarket: Markets Are Stuck in Chop City
By Bill Schmick,
10:36AM / Saturday, January 07, 2023
Welcome to a new year of financial markets. But while the dates have changed, stocks continue to disappoint.   The S&P 500 Index has been caught in a range with the mid-point around the 3,800 level. Next week, we could see a minor break higher to the 3,920 level, but it probably won't last. That is because Wall Street experts are as confused as the rest of us. Forecasts for 2023 are all over the place with some strategists predicting an up year while others believe the declines of last year will continue.   The confusion stems from a variety of unknowns including the path of inflation, interest rates, and the economy overall. Currently, the markets are

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@theMarket: Good News on Economy Is Bad News for Stock Market
By Bill Schmick,
03:57PM / Friday, December 23, 2022
The good news on the economy has been bad news for the stock market. That's been the name of the game for the last several months. This week, we had more of the same.   The third and final revision of the U.S. third-quarter 2022 Gross Domestic Product came out on Thursday, Dec. 22. It was revised up to an annual rate of 3.2 percent from 2.9 percent. That's a sizable increase. The engine behind that growth was consumer spending and U.S. exports.   On the unemployment front, jobless claims for last week were roughly flat versus the previous week. That indicates that employment is still running hot. Neither of those data points gives the Fed any reason to

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@theMarket: Markets at Odds With the Fed
By Bill Schmick,
09:56AM / Saturday, December 17, 2022
"Don't fight the Fed" is an oft-quoted market saying that has remained sage advice for the past decade or two. Recently, however, it appears investors are thumbing their noses at that advice.   This week, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and his FOMC members released yet another warning that they see a long drawn-out battle with inflation that will last well into next year. Given the decline in bond yields and the rise in equity indexes, the financial markets appear to disagree. Who will turn out to be right has major implications for what happens to financial markets into the New Year.   The recent good news on the inflation front — lower monthly

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@theMarket: Is the Market's Holiday Rally on Track?
By Bill Schmick,
04:32PM / Friday, December 02, 2022
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell delivered a bagful of gains this week for investors. Stocks roared to life as "Santa" came to town. And then the job numbers on Friday spoiled the mood.   "The time for moderating the pace of rate increases may come as soon as the December meeting," said Powell in his opening remarks at the Brooking Institute on Wednesday, Nov. 30. The word "moderating" was all the algos needed to hear.   It was equivalent to striking a match to a kid's backyard toy rocket. The U.S. dollar fell, stocks across the board exploded and the main indexes racked up gains of 3-4 percent-plus by the end of the day. Commodities

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@theMarket: Investors Await Inflation Data
By Bill Schmick,
11:03AM / Saturday, November 26, 2022
December could be a risky month for the stock market. A spate of inflation data, a European Union Russian energy embargo, and another Fed meeting toward the middle of the month, could determine the state of the stock market.   Traders are split between bulls and bears. The bearish view says that we hit the 4,100 level on the S&P 500 Index, and then we begin a decline that continues into next year. The bulls argue that the seasonal factors dictate a continued rally into at least January.   Many readers know where I stand. I have been predicting a market rise that could see the S&P 500 hit somewhere in the range of 4,000-4,100. That is the area where we

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