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@theMarket: Bulls Need More Fuel to Move Higher
By Bill Schmick,
05:05PM / Saturday, June 10, 2023
The bull market has been a story of eight to 10 stocks for most of the year. The frenzied trade in AI stocks has fueled those gains in that elite group of mega-stocks. But investors need to expand their focus to other areas for the stock market to continue to climb.   Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become this year's buzz words. Even though it has been around for well over a decade, investors have suddenly recognized the potential of this technological advancement. The benefits to productivity and economic growth in the years ahead may be as important, if not more important, as the internet revolution.   As in the dot.com boom, any company that can wag the

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The Retired Investor: Government Bond Borrowing Could Cause Disruption
By Bill Schmick,
04:41PM / Thursday, June 08, 2023
The debt ceiling crisis has come and gone but the financial markets did not get away scot-free. The bond market is facing an avalanche of new bond sales that could pressure interest rates higher.   The government's bank account, called the Treasury General Account, is practically empty in sovereign terms. Today, there is less than $50 billion in the account as of June 2, 2023.   The U.S. Treasury has been draining this account since January 2023, when the government debt ceiling controversy started to heat up. The government cut back on the number and amount of bond auctions, which were almost a weekly feature of sovereign debt financing in normal

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@theMarket: Markets Await the 'Skip'
By Bill Schmick,
11:10AM / Saturday, June 03, 2023
Now that the debt ceiling fiasco is out of the way, markets are returning their focus to monetary policy. The burning question on investors' minds is whether the Fed will skip a rate hike in their upcoming June meeting.   The betting by traders on such a move is vacillating around the 50/50 mark, depending on which Fed Head is talking. In recent days, the market had expected the Fed would lift interest rates once again at its June 13-14 FOMC meeting. This week, however, two policymakers, Fed Governor Philip Jefferson, and Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker, expressed their opinions that a pause may be in order unless Friday's jobs report came in stronger than

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The Retired investor: Food Prices May Be Moderating in Some Cases
By Bill Schmick,
03:41PM / Friday, June 02, 2023
For more than a year, consumers have been contending with higher food prices. The latest read of April's Consumer Price Index, however, gave some hope that relief may be around the corner.   Headline inflation rose 0.4 percent last month but a look under the hood revealed that the "food at home index" declined. This was the second month in a row that prices for fruit, vegetables, meat, and eggs among other items, fell.   That may be so, but I certainly am not seeing those price declines in my shopping bill. Let's take eggs for example. You may remember that in December 2022, we were paying as much as $5.46 on average for a dozen eggs. The

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@theMarket: Debt Deadline Hangs Over Markets
By Bill Schmick,
04:09PM / Friday, May 26, 2023
One week before the debt ceiling deadline, members of Congress have adjourned, while a handful of negotiators continue to search for a compromise solution to the impasse. Investors are holding their breath.   As many expected, myself included, the politicians are drawing out the drama and will continue to do so until the 11th hour. Both sides have stressed that there will be no default and the market has taken them at their word. Investors have bid up stocks this week in anticipation of a positive announcement.   This week, Fitch, one of the big three American credit agencies, has put the nation's debt on a negative credit watch. The agency warned that it

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