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@theMarket: Markets Held Hostage by Trade & Machines
By Bill Schmick,
03:19PM / Friday, May 24, 2019
If it were not for computer-driven trading, it might actually be funny. Financial markets are careening up and down on a daily basis based on the next tweet or comment from the Trump administration or its counterparts in China. We could see more of the same next week.   Rhyme or reason has truly left the station. Day by day, the trade war of words is accelerating. This week, the U.S. banned China's largest technology company, Huawei, from doing business with American companies. The president accused the company of espionage. The Chinese responded by threatening to drop trade negotiations. Markets collapsed, led by semi-conductor and technology stocks.   A

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@theMarket: Markets Sell in May
By Bill Schmick,
04:58PM / Friday, May 17, 2019
The old adage "sell in May and go away" seems to be working this year. In short order all three averages experienced a down draft over the past few days that amounted to about a 5 percent decline in total. Is there more to go on the downside?   If I were a betting man, I would say the odds are in favor of more declines in the weeks ahead. I base that bet on the assumption that it will take at least until the end of June before we get anymore clarity on whether or not President Trump is willing and able to salvage a trade deal with China.   By now, most readers are aware that there has been an abrupt change in expectations on whether or not the tariff

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@theMarket: Tariffs Trash Stocks
By Bill Schmick,
08:44AM / Saturday, May 11, 2019
Volatility in the form of U.S. trade tariffs levied on China cut through investors' complacency with a vengeance this week.  It took less than three days to drop the markets by 3 percent. Is it over or do we have another 5 percent or so to endure?   My bet is that it is over — for now. Sometime during the on-going trade negotiations occurring in Washington today and tomorrow, the thorny trade issues, (such as intellectual property (IP) protection for U.S. companies) will be kicked down the road. A compromise on other, easier issues will be announced as "on-going" (although not inked) and the Chinese delegation will fly home in an atmosphere of

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@theMarket: New Highs Beget New Highs
By Bill Schmick,
05:00PM / Friday, May 03, 2019
Some people believe we are in a "melt-up." It is where the simple weight of money pouring into the U.S. stock market continues to carry stocks ever higher. Whether that qualifies as an investment thesis, or simply a lame excuse to justify record highs, it matters little to the bulls.   It is true that this past week, we actually witnessed a rare event — a two-day, 50-point drop in the S&P 500 Index — before stocks recovered.  But good news on Friday morning (job gains in the economy came in at 236,000) cheered investors. It was largely a goldilocks report where wage gains (considered inflationary) were flat for the month, bringing the the

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@theMarket: Investors Reach for New Highs
By Bill Schmick,
03:10PM / Friday, April 19, 2019
The stock market won't quit. It has been on a tear since the day after Christmas. It feels like it wants to keep climbing. That would be a fairly simple feat at this point, since we are only a percent or so away from regaining those historical highs. What will happen once we get there.?   You may ask why am I so confident that the markets won't just give up the ghost right here, right now? A look under the hood at the underlying sectors that make up the market indices gives me a clue. Let's take the semiconductor sector. Throughout the last year or more, semiconductors, a sub-segment of the technology area of the market, have led stocks higher (and lower) time

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