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@theMarket: The Market's Last Quarter
By Bill Schmick,
04:29PM / Friday, September 28, 2018
Today marks the end of the third quarter for stocks in 2018. But it is the fourth quarter that will determine what kind of year it will be. Let's place our bets.   First, we should look at what could go wrong over the next three months. Tariffs probably lead the list. More of them, (although the dollar amount is minimal in the scheme of global trade), would be bad for sentiment within the global stock markets. Mid-term elections are a toss-up, but simply not knowing the outcome I count as a negative. Quarterly earnings results might also hold some risk for investors. And finally, the latest investor sentiment readings (a contrary indicator) are as high as they were back

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The Independent Investor: Credit Freeze for Free
By Bill Schmick,
03:30PM / Thursday, September 27, 2018
It just got cheaper to freeze your credit files, thanks to the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act. But should you do it?   The law, signed by President Trump back in May, only took effect this month. It requires the three major credit reporting bureaus — Equifax, Trans Union and Experian — to drop the fees to freeze your credit. Those fees ranged from $3 to $10 per person, times three credit bureaus, plus more charges to "thaw" your credit. Consumers can now also un-freeze their files, either temporarily or permanently, free of charge.   Thanks to a recent spate of credit breaches, Congress felt it needed to do

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@theMarket: Record Highs and More to Come?
By Bill Schmick,
04:03PM / Friday, September 21, 2018
The Dow and the S&P 500 Indexes made record highs this week. That's right, we broke the levels of January and we closed out the week holding these new higher levels. So much for the bear's prediction of a 5-7 percent pullback.   Over two weeks ago, when I published my last column, I wrote that most of the Wall Street community was expecting a pullback. I warned readers "that when the pack is leaning one way, you should be looking the other way. I say stay invested, look beyond a month or two, and prosper by the end of the year."   OK, in hindsight, that was sage advice, but now what? You aren't paying me the big bucks to tell you about

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The Independent Investor: Dogs and Their Cars
By Bill Schmick,
04:50PM / Thursday, September 20, 2018
Pet ownership in America is well over 50 percent. Nine out of 10 of these owners view their pet as part of the family. As such, dollars spent on traditional pet ownership areas such as food, veterinary needs and boarding have expanded to include things like exercise and travel. For more and more Americans, that trend has grown to include what cars we purchase.   This hit home for me recently when my wife and I began discussing our next automobile purchase or lease. In times past, our decision may have been based on what vehicles provided the best fuel mileage or winter safety in snow and ice conditions. But this year, it was all about what car would be most appropriate for

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