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@theMarket: Markets Reach for the Sky
By Bill Schmick,
03:40PM / Friday, August 28, 2020
Credit the Fed for this week's bump up in the averages. Technology shares led the charge as usual, shrugging off a sinking economy, higher unemployment and no progress on another bail out. What else is new?   At the annual Jackson Hole Symposium of world central bank leaders, conducted virtually this year, Jerome Powell, the chairman of our central bank, took center stage. In his prepared remarks, Powell announced a shift in the U.S. inflation policy. Rather than using the oft-stated, long-held inflation target of 2 percent, the Fed will now "seek to achieve inflation that averages 2 percent over time."   What's the big deal, you might ask? In

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The Retired Investor: The Drive-In Returns
By Bill Schmick,
03:41PM / Thursday, August 27, 2020
There is not much good one can say about the coronavirus, but if one looks hard enough there are a few silver linings. One of which is the revival of the drive-in theater.   Cinemas have been closed for months, thanks to COVID-19, and are only now re-opening to limited audiences. In the meantime, consumers have been surviving on streaming movies and television series for entertainment. However, one bright spot for those who can take advantage of it has been the drive-in theater.    It is well-suited for a country in pandemic, and ready made for social distancing. At many drive-ins, autos are parked at least 6 feet apart. Ticket-holders do not need to wear a

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@theMarket: Market's Window Getting Smaller
By Bill Schmick,
04:29PM / Friday, August 21, 2020
This week the benchmark S&P 500 Index made a minor new high for the year. While that is cause to celebrate, the question to ask is how much further can we climb in the face of a slowing economy before suffering a meaningful pullback?   Over the last few months, investors have been warned by just about every economist worth their salt that the country needs another jolt of federal stimulus. It has not happened. You can cast blame on whomever you want for that failure, but none of that matters to the over one million American workers who lost their jobs in the past week.    Even the Federal Reserve Bank, in releasing its July 28-29 Federal Open Market

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The Retired Investor: Home Is Where the Hammer Is
By Bill Schmick,
04:45PM / Thursday, August 20, 2020
Remember those promises of how you were going to finish that deck, remodel the kitchen, or fix that faucet? Well, this year, many Americans finally stopped procrastinating.    It appears that there is at least one silver lining in this pandemic: a boom in home improvements. Take my brother-in-law, for example. He lives in a Maryland suburb with his wife and extended family, which consists of three adult children, plus a bunch of grandchildren. Faced with working from home, the entire family embarked on a do-over to their back yard. During the last few months, they installed an above-ground pool, built a gazebo, and purchased outdoor patio furniture. Since then, the back

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@theMarket: The Economy Versus the Stock Market
By Bill Schmick,
03:57PM / Friday, August 07, 2020
It is a tale of two markets. One represented by stocks, which has experienced a "V" shaped recovery, while the other (the economy) appears to be describing a "W." Can the two continue to diverge?   The short answer is "yes," as long as the Federal Reserve Bank continues to support the financial markets with unlimited stimulus.  "Stocks are the only game in town," as one investor put it. "Bonds are yielding me less than nothing after inflation, and commodities are just too risky."   That sums up the present state of affairs facing investors.    The fact that earnings have been absolutely

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