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The Independent Investor: The Cost of Rebuilding God's House
By Bill Schmick,
05:04PM / Thursday, April 18, 2019
Sometimes a tragedy can bring people together. In the case of the devastating fire that swept Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral, the world wept. But even before the fire was completely extinguished, the business community was already making plans to rebuild the 850-year-old edifice.   The price tag will likely be in the multibillion-dollar range. A preliminary assessment of the damage thus far includes two-thirds (about 100 meters) of the roof and the destruction of a spire, which the world witnessed on television. At least a 62-foot expanse of stained-glass windows was also severely damaged.   What we don't know as of yet, is how the 800-pipe organ, one of

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@theMarket: Earnings Season Cause Markets to Surge
By Bill Schmick,
04:48PM / Friday, April 12, 2019
After a week of low volume consolidation, all three averages broke higher on Friday. The bulls are still in charge and seem determined to push stocks back to their all-time highs.   A trigger could be this year's first quarter earnings season, which is upon us, some of the multi-center banks reported today. They did not disappoint, beating estimates handily and expectations are that most of the big banks will also beat earnings estimates. That won't be too difficult to do given that earnings estimates have been down-graded not once, but twice, over the last three months.   Overall, the Street is expecting companies that comprise the S&P 500 Index to

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The Independent Investor: Retirement Savers Could See Positive News This Year (Maybe)
By Bill Schmick,
03:55PM / Thursday, April 11, 2019
In this acrimonious political environment, little in the way of new legislation is expected to pass both chambers of Congress. One exception may be the Secure Act. Last Tuesday, a key House committee unanimously approved the bill, which would greatly enhance some private retirement plans.   The bill would not only increase the flexibility of 401 (k) plans but would also provide much greater access for small-business owners and their employees. The changes would hopefully encourage many more small businesses to offer private retirement benefits to their workers. It is the most sweeping legislation to come out of Congress in over a decade.   The sponsors,

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@theMarket: Markets on a Tear
By Bill Schmick,
04:22PM / Friday, April 05, 2019
As fearful as investors were back in December, the greedier they have become in April. Investor sentiment is climbing, interest rates are falling, and the Fed is on hold. All we need to push the markets even higher is a trade deal with China. It's coming.   The S&P 500 Index has tacked on a hundred points in nine days. The all-time record highs for that index is at 1,940 less than 50 points away. That index has been up seven days in a row. The Dow up 6 out of 7. Last week's worry, the inverted yield curve, which occupied everyone's attention, is a barely remembered footnote in buyers rush to own stocks.   Of course, there are warning signs

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The Independent Investor: Coffee Prices at 13-Year Lows
By Bill Schmick,
04:45PM / Thursday, April 04, 2019
A few days ago, arabica coffee futures prices fell to a price they haven't seen since December 2005. But don't expect your morning cup of coffee to reflect those cheaper prices. The coffee business doesn't work like that.   Normally, when the price of a commodity falls (like oil), consumers can expect to see a drop in price at the gas pumps within a week or three. The same thing might happen if the price of beef, wheat, corn or any number of commodities experienced a decline in price, so why not coffee?   You might guess (as I did) that the demand for coffee by consumers must be falling, but that's not the case. In fact, more Americans are

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