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The Independent Investor: Truth About NATO & Defense Spending
By Bill Schmick,
04:19PM / Thursday, December 05, 2019
While it would appear that President Donald Trump left the London NATO Summit this week empty-handed, the truth is he has already achieved what several presidents before him could not. Unfortunately, it is a shallow victory at best.   Just a week ago, in preparation for President Trump's visit, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization announced a change in the funding of its budget. It agreed to reduce the United States' contribution to the alliance (now 22 percent) and redistribute the costs to other members. As a result, the U.S. and Germany will now pay the same amount. Each will contribute 16 percent of NATO's central budget.   The problem is that

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The Independent Investor: Will Santa Satisfy Retailers?
By Bill Schmick,
04:25PM / Thursday, November 28, 2019
Ready, get set, go! That's what the nation's retailers are hoping you will do, preferably before your Thanksgiving dinner has barely been digested. Black Friday has become Black Week, while holiday shopping now officially includes the entire months of November and December.   In 2019, retail sales nationwide are expected to increase by 3.8-4.2 percent from last year, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). That would amount to a total of between $727 billion to $730 billion being rung up in the nation's cash registers. That's not a bad haul when you realize the average holiday sales increase over the last five years was 3.7

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@theMarket: Markets Broken Record
By Bill Schmick,
11:45AM / Saturday, November 23, 2019
As the Dec. 15 deadline approaches, investors aren't sure whether the next tranche of tariffs on Chinese imports will be raised, lowered, or delayed. Given the importance of this event, markets are once again stuck betwixt and between.   If this sounds like a broken record on the China trade deal, you would be right. We have been here so many times before that just about everyone in the worldwide financial community is sick of it. Nonetheless, hope springs eternal, or so it would seem, because, many investors still have faith that there will be a breakthrough sometime in the next three weeks.   A senior executive of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Myron

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The Independent Investor: Diamonds Should Be at Top of Christmas List
By Bill Schmick,
04:52PM / Friday, November 22, 2019
Diamonds for most Americans evoke visions of luxury and romance and are almost always the traditional go-to precious stone for engagement rings. The good news is that no matter how strapped for cash you are, you could probably afford one right now.   Chances are, I don't have to sell you on diamonds, since most Americans are in love with this precious gem and always have been. Diamonds make men into heroes, while nothing says to a woman ‘"I am deeply loved" than a sparkling stone that required millions of years to make.   Americans account for 50 percent of all diamond sales worldwide. Sales grew 4.5 percent (to $36 billion) last year. The

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@theMarket: Record Highs Again & Again
By Bill Schmick,
04:41PM / Friday, November 15, 2019
It has been one of those weeks where just about every day the stock market opened lower. But by the end of the day, one or more of the three main averages would rebound and close higher, usually close to, or at a minor new high. I expect it should continue.   And as stocks grind higher, more and more equity players are calling for a minor 2-3 percent pullback. Is that something that we should even care about? My answer would be no.    We are in a news-driven market. Most investors only seem to care about the latest news on a China trade deal; that said, being out of the market appears to be riskier than being in it.   Many believe we are only

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