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The Retired Investor: Tariffs Can Only Do So Much
By Bill Schmick,
05:40PM / Thursday, July 11, 2024
Tariffs in America have been used to accomplish specific goals throughout history. Until the Civil War, tariffs were a revenue generator for the government. After the Civil War, they were used to protect U.S. industries and during the Great Depression, tariffs evolved as a negotiating tool between nations, especially after World War II.   In the postwar years, tariffs built stronger trade relations between nations. Reciprocity rather than protectionism or revenue was the guiding principle behind our trade negotiations with other countries and economic regions. That idea still holds sway under certain circumstances, but tariffs have become an offensive policy tool as

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@theMarket: Stocks Grind Higher Making All-Time Highs
By Bill Schmick,
02:17PM / Friday, July 05, 2024
It was another good week for stocks following another good month of gains. Granted, in this holiday-shortened week, the volume behind the positive moves was paltry at best. However, many traders will tell you that only the price pays.   The macroeconomic data seems to be coming in as the Fed had hoped, with some data showing a slight cooling of the economy and at least two months of better inflation numbers. Although the U.S. economy added 206,000 jobs last month, that was slightly down from 218,000 jobs in May. Average hourly earnings also increased, but below forecast as well. However, the overall unemployment rate did tick up to 4.1 percent, the highest reading in three

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The Retired Investor: Tariffs Are Simply Another Form of Taxation
By Bill Schmick,
03:44PM / Thursday, July 04, 2024
In this era of populism, tariffs have become as American as apple pie. Politicians are bending over backward to out-tariff their rivals. Voters are applauding the effort, and yet it is the consumer who will pay higher prices as a result.   I can understand how voters might disagree, given that party politicians continue to deny the obvious. "The notion that tariffs are a tax on U.S. consumers is a lie pushed by outsources and the Chinese Communist Party," declared a spokesperson for the Republican National Committee.    I am neither an outsourcer nor a Chinese Communist, but I am convinced that tariffs are a tax on all of us.   When

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@theMarket: Financial Markets Could See July Fireworks
By Bill Schmick,
04:05PM / Friday, June 28, 2024
The good news is that early in this coming month we should see new highs in the stock market. The bad news is that we could also see some downside as well.   The equity markets' grind higher throughout June has been achieved by fewer and fewer stocks. Most of the gains have been concentrated in ten stocks or less. There have been a few days where the other 490 stocks of the S&P 500 index managed to mark up some gains, but if you weren't in AI or Fang stocks, you underperformed by a mile.   I have mentioned this before in several of my past columns. As we push higher, a feeling of caution seeps into my bones. On the surface, there is nothing that I

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The Retired Investor: What Can Investors Expect From Coming Era of Populism
By Bill Schmick,
04:25PM / Thursday, June 27, 2024
We are in the second or third year of a new regime change, according to my calculations. If this one follows the patterns of past periods, some clues of what might occur in the years ahead are available (at least from an economic and financial point of view).   Historically, it seems that the most recent period of populism (1964-1982) can give us a better guess of how the stock market might perform. Although there have been many changes in the financial markets since then, many fundamental instruments and assets remain the same.   As for the federal government, it has enacted various laws to reign in speculation in the banking system and to protect the consumer

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