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The Independent Investor: Is America Back in the Space Business?
By Bill Schmick,
04:03PM / Thursday, February 22, 2018
If you were watching television this Thursday, you may have caught the launching of a low-orbit Spanish government-commissioned satellite launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The difference between today and 25 years ago is that it was a private company called Space X, rather than NASA, that made it happen.   For old guys like me, space exploration was a big deal while growing up. Americans my age cheered and cried as the U.S. raced for space from the tragic death of the crew of Apollo One in 1967, to the first moon walk in 1969 (and no, I don't mean Michael Jackson). The work day would be put on pause as everyone watched the latest rocket launch from

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The Independent Investor: Time to Hedge Your Bets?
By Bill Schmick,
03:41PM / Thursday, February 15, 2018
Over the last few weeks, the threat of rising inflation has triggered a great deal of concern among investors. Given that inflation has been at a low level for a number of years, their concern may be justified.   Many market pundits were surprised by the wage data in the non-farm payroll report for December, which was released two weeks ago, Friday. In that report, wages jumped far more than most expected coming in at a 2.9 percent annualized growth rate.   Given that our central bank monitors wages as one of their key indicators to gauge future inflation, that number sent the bond and stock markets into a tizzy. Again this week, investors received another

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The Independent Investor: How to Handle a Pullback
By Bill Schmick,
05:47PM / Friday, February 09, 2018
The stock market is in turmoil. Several hundred point swings in the Dow and other averages has investors on edge. The indexes are suffering 1-2 percent point swings per day. How are you dealing with it?   Over the last several months, I have written several columns preparing you for this day. I thought it might be useful to give readers a refresher course on coping. Here are some useful tips on avoiding that worst of all reactions—selling on the lows.   Number one: do not check your portfolio. The more often you do, the greater the probability that you will panic and sell. Every time you check your investments in a freefall decline like this one, you will

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The Independent Investor: Health Care and the 3 Musketeers
By Bill Schmick,
10:28PM / Thursday, February 01, 2018
Earlier this week, three of the country's most influential corporate titans sounded a call to battle. Given the inaction of our government, these modern-day musketeers are preparing to storm the battlements of sky-rocketing health care costs.   Jeff Bezos of Amazon may not have the swash-buckling prowess of Athos, nor does JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon compare in physical strength to Porthos. And granted, Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway would be a stretch in playing Aramis, but make no mistake, they do bring a combination of strengths that could revolutionize what I believe is the single greatest threat to our nation's economy.   Back in May of

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The Independent Investor: There's Nothing Sheepish About the Price of Wool
By Bill Schmick,
05:24PM / Thursday, January 25, 2018
We humans have been using wool for thousands of years. It was the primary clothing material of the middle ages. But even today, new uses for wool are cropping up, driving prices to record highs.   The primary use for wool continues to be in clothing production. The newest demand for this natural material is coming from sport's companies such Nike, Puma and Adidas that are weaving it into sneakers. It appears that a new generation of consumers prefer natural over synthetic fibers. They want to know where their products come from and where they are going.   Even old codgers like me are not immune to this trend. Six months ago, I purchased my first pair of wool

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