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The Retired Investor: Asia: The Investment Case
By Bill Schmick,
05:05PM / Thursday, January 07, 2021

Investment managers have spent the last decade buying and selling U.S. equities largely to the exclusion of the rest of the world. That made a lot of sense, since the S&P 500 was the best performing index in the world during that period. But times are changing.

While our U.S. stock averages did well again in 2020, Asian stocks did equally as well, and in some cases, they did better. Some of that performance can be attributed to the declining dollar. A weaker dollar benefits U.S. holders of foreign equities, and most analysts expect the greenback to weaken further this year.   However, that is not the only reason for investing in Asia. Overall, valuations are cheaper,

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The Retired Investor: Where Have All the Christmas Trees Gone?
By Bill Schmick,
04:22PM / Thursday, December 24, 2020
If you are one of those eleventh-hour holiday Christmas tree shoppers, you may be out of luck this year. Fresh balsam furs and other varieties of the traditional Yule symbol are hard to find.   Blame the pandemic on the scarcity, but at the same time, celebrate the fact that more families than ever before are getting together this holiday season.  And decorating that tree could be an intensely personal experience for the whole family.   My wife, Barbara, and I actually set up our tree on Thanksgiving weekend. Given our ages, we chose to forgo turkey day with our loved ones, who reside in Manhattan, and tried to fill that emotional hole with something else.

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The Retired Investor: Oil's Comeback
By Bill Schmick,
01:55PM / Friday, December 18, 2020
Earlier this year, the price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil slumped into negative territory for the first time in history. Oil traded at a negative $37.63. Today, that same barrel of oil is changing hands at $47.48. What changed?   More than any other sector, the coronavirus has had a devastating impact on the global oil and gas industry. Declining consumer demand in the first quarter of the year in combination with high levels of energy production threatened to exceed worldwide oil storage capacity. OPEC plus, the oil cartel, took action on April 12 by cutting oil production by 9.7 million barrels per day, but by then it was too late. By April 20-22, you couldn't

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@theMarket: Same Old Stimulus Song
By Bill Schmick,
01:00PM / Saturday, December 12, 2020
Investors should know better by now. Stimulus talks have been going on since July 2020, but politicians in the capital appear to be stuck on the same old issues. Unfortunately, the deadline for a 2020 compromise bill is less than three weeks away.   It is anyone's guess whether the nation's economic and pandemic plight will win over partisan politics. It hasn't so far. The financial markets are not taking kindly to failure at this point. The all-time highs we have been enjoying for the last two weeks have been built on investors' near certainty that at least $900 billion in new Federal stimulus money would be forthcoming shortly.   Those funds

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The Retired Investor: Markets Ignore China Sanctions
By Bill Schmick,
01:08PM / Friday, December 11, 2020
During the past few weeks of this presidency, both the Trump administration and Congress have levied additional sanctions against the People's Republic of China. Financial markets and U.S. corporations have largely ignored those efforts; here's why.   Investors have learned over the past four years that tough talk on trade tariffs, blacklisting and other threats were largely ineffectual in curtailing the world's second largest economy. The facts are that U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods have been a failure. Our trade deficit with China is higher now than it was before the trade wars.   China's trade gap with the U.S. was 43 percent bigger in

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