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The Independent Investor: Europe, the World's Sick Sibling
By Bill Schmick,
12:08PM / Thursday, January 31, 2019
The European Community is beset by worries. Brexit, trade threats, a slowing Chinese economy, and internal politics at home have all conspired to slow growth, employment, and positive sentiment.   This year, the EU will be lucky to see 1.5 percent GDP growth. In fact, the International Monetary Fund reduced their overall forecast this week for global growth largely as a result of poor performance out of Europe. Europe's powerhouse, Germany, saw its growth for 2019 cut by 0.6 percent because of anemic consumption and weak industrial production data.    Italy, one of the problem children of the EU, saw its growth forecasts cut by 0.4 percentage points as

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The Independent Investor: The IRS Has Its Hands Full This Year
By Bill Schmick,
05:05PM / Thursday, January 24, 2019
The government's partial shutdown has everyone on edge this year. Despite assurances from the powers that be, many taxpayers are concerned that their tax returns won't be processed on time. Should you be worried?   One misconception many have is that the Internal Revenue Service is closed. Not true, the IRS remains open, despite having no budget since Dec. 21, 2018. The agency is running under a contingency plan, which includes operating with only 12 percent of its staff.   Usually, you can e-file your returns in late January, and that remains doable. The IRS announced it will be accepting 2018 tax returns starting January. 28, 2019. They also said they

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@theMarket: Markets Retrace December Losses
By Bill Schmick,
09:04AM / Saturday, January 19, 2019
It was a week where lackluster earnings battled with the Fed's willingness to hold off on rate hikes for investors' attention. The Fed won. Investors bought on the dips and helped to push the markets out of correction territory.   From a technical point of view, however, all the U.S. indexes are overbought, extended, and in need of some kind of pullback. Traders know this and have been shorting the market as it climbs, betting that we will see at least a 100-point decline in the S&P 500 Index. It hasn't happened — yet.   Normally, markets will do what is most inconvenient for the greatest number of traders.   In this case, the

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The Independent Investor: Pay Gap for Women Is Growing
By Bill Schmick,
07:22PM / Thursday, January 17, 2019
If Citigroup, one of the world's largest banks, is any indication, women earn 29 percent less than their male counterparts. It also revealed that only 37 percent of its managerial jobs were held by females.   Wall Street has long been known as "the last bastion" for white males. But to Citigroup's credit, it just made public its internal assessment of the existing pay gap between the genders. One reason it did so was the new disclosure standards that are now required in the United Kingdom since last April.   Last year, when Citigroup first reported these numbers for its U.K. workforce, women were paid 44 percent less, and if bonuses were

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@theMarket: Markets Bounce 10 Percent Since Christmas
By Bill Schmick,
10:34AM / Saturday, January 12, 2019
The stock markets have gained almost one percent per day since the beginning of the year. If you had panicked and sold during the Christmas holidays, you are sitting in cash wondering when to get back in. Here is some advice.   Patience should be at the top of your "to-do" list. If you believe we are in a bear market, then the kind of rebound we are seeing in the equity markets is completely normal. Bear markets are characterized by waterfall declines followed by sharp, explosive upside rallies. Unfortunately, these fantastic trading opportunities are just that — trades.   If you are not living the markets every single moment, day-in, day-out,

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