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@theMarket: Here Comes Santa
By Bill Schmick,
11:12AM / Saturday, December 16, 2017
With less than two weeks until Santa Claus shimmies down your chimney, investors are betting that what the Big Man has in his sack is lots and lots of gains to finish out 2017.   Now some might say that the signing of a massive tax cut is all the present investors need. After all, despite the rhetoric, we all know that the Republican tax cut is solely directed toward the wealthy, big business, and the stock market. As such, the indexes should continue to levitate between now and the New Year.   Investors are stocking up on the shares of those companies that will benefit most from the windfall profits they will receive as part of the reduction in the corporate

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The Independent Investor: Should You Roll Your 401(k) Into an IRA?
By Bill Schmick,
03:40PM / Friday, December 15, 2017
Some retiring workers roll their 401(k) tax-deferred savings account into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). There are good reasons to do so. But for those who are not retiring, the decision is not so clear cut. Here are some pros and cons to ponder.   In my neighborhood, for example, a local company with more than 300 employees is being acquired by another company from Chicago. As a result, the employees of the acquired company are being offered a choice: they can roll over their existing 401(k) into a new plan offered by the Chicago company, roll their 401(k) into an IRA, or just take the money out, pay taxes and spend it.   Obviously, the last option is

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@theMarket: Should Be Good Month for Stocks
By Bill Schmick,
05:34PM / Saturday, December 09, 2017
The House passed a stop-gap spending bill averting a government shut-down late Thursday night. As a result, markets moved higher. We can expect more of the same until the next deadline, which is just before Christmas.    To be honest, investors have become so used to these eleventh hour deals out of Congress that the markets hardly budge when the drama begins. Dec. 22 is the new date investors will be watching. We will see whether a compromise can be reached on the budget for 2018 by then.   In the meantime, the markets will remain focused on the Republican tax deal. The hope is that a compromise between the House and Senate will be reached in time for

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The Independent Investor: Will the Lights Go Out?
By Bill Schmick,
09:53PM / Thursday, December 07, 2017
The deadline looms. There is no deal in sight. Various political factions are jockeying to get their demands met. It is all part of an annual compromise to fund the government for another year.   So what else is new?   If the government does shut down on Saturday morning, it will be the 18th such occurrence in U.S. history. In every case, the nation has survived, although at times the cost has been great. There was, for example, a 16-day shutdown back in 2013 that resulted in a $24 billion hit to economic output and caused 850,000 workers to be laid off.   We all know it costs the American people more to shut down the government than it does to keep

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The Independent Investor: The Bots Are Coming
By Bill Schmick,
04:43PM / Friday, December 01, 2017
One no longer needs to imagine a post-apocalyptic world where humans are hunted into extinction by intelligent robots. While a shooting war may not break out between the two sides before 2030, a new study by the McKinsey Global Institute indicates that as many as 375 million human workers will be replaced by automation.   Most readers are already aware that companies using high degrees of automation, such as Amazon, are decimating the brick and mortar method of selling products. Most analysts believe it is inevitable that this trend will extend to all kinds of products. Pharmaceuticals and food are just the most recent items to be transitioned over to the internet. While

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