Wednesday, September 17, 2014 11:37am
North Adams, MA now: 57 °   
Send news, tips, press releases and questions to info@iBerkshires.com
The Berkshires online guide to events, news and Berkshire County community information.
SIGN IN | REGISTER NOW   

Home About Archives RSS Feed
@theMarket: Market's New Highs Are No Surprise
By Bill Schmick On: 10:16AM / Sunday October 20, 2013
Important
0
Interesting
0
Funny
0
Awesome
0
Infuriating
0
Ridiculous
0

Here we are just days after the latest attempt by our government to scuttle the financial markets and the averages are making new historical highs. Investors should expect more of the same as long as the Federal Reserve keeps pumping money into the financial system.

While the politicians, aided by the media machine, continue to construct one wall of worry after another, you my dear reader must stay above this daily to and fro. You must keep your eye on the ball. The ball in this case is the $85 billion per month that the Fed continues to push into the financial system.

"Taper," a word that saw the stock markets swoon and interest rates soar is no longer on the front burner; at least not this year, thanks to the latest deficit/debt debacle out of Washington. Back in September, at the Fed's FOMC meeting, Chairman Ben Bernanke had said that tapering was off the table for now due to a slowing economy (thanks to the Sequester) and possible fallout from the upcoming deficit/debt talks. The latest economic data indicates that this little charade out of D.C. will cost $25 billion and shave almost 0.08 percent off fourth-quarter GDP growth. Once again the Fed got it right.

Many on Wall Street tend to want to outguess the Fed. That is a mistake. They are the most wired-in group of financiers in the world. When they talk, it is better to just listen because they are right more often than not. Therefore, when Ben tells me no taper, I have to stay bullish on the markets. This is not rocket science, folks.

You see, the Fed controls the stock and bond markets. It has been so ever since the financial crisis. Many investors continue to make the mistake of thinking the stock market and the economy are one and the same. In times past (pre-financial crisis) that may have been so. Since then however, the Fed has followed an unrelenting monetary policy of stimulus. Although it has been only marginally effective in growing the economy and employment, it has done wonders for the stock market.

It wasn't supposed to work that way. It was supposed to be a team effort. The Fed has been hoping against hope that the U.S. government would follow their lead and use all the fiscal stimulus at their disposal to get the economy growing again. Instead, our politicians have done just the opposite. Since 2010, the government has done everything in their power to sabotage the economy. Today, with our political system in complete disarray, the Fed is the only game in town.

We now have over five years of historical experience of what happens to the stock markets when the Fed stimulates. Ask yourself, has anything changed? There is no need for second guessing here. When I told you that we would not get into a shooting war with Syria, did you listen? Over the past few weeks, when I advised you to ignore the Washington circus because it would end in an 11th hour deal, did you take heart?

Oh ye of little faith, stop focusing on these mundane issues that have little or nothing to do with the performance of your portfolio. We are going to new highs in the markets; enough said.

Bill Schmick is registered as an investment adviser representative with Berkshire Money Management. Bill’s forecasts and opinions are purely his own. None of the information presented here should be construed as an endorsement of BMM or a solicitation to become a client of BMM. Direct inquires to Bill at 1-888-232-6072 (toll free) or email him at Bill@afewdollarsmore.com.



     
@theMarket: The Same Old Song
By Bill Schmick On: 05:18PM / Friday September 27, 2013
Important
1
Interesting
0
Funny
0
Awesome
0
Infuriating
0
Ridiculous
0

The stock market has been down all week. Investors have been so busy biting their nails over the debt ceiling and the budget debates that they have had no time to buy this dip. The question is should they?

The S&P 500 has fallen about 33 points since last week, or roughly 1.8 percent. I blame our elected clowns. As the clock runs out and a Tuesday shutdown of the government grows ever closer, weak-kneed investors are bailing. Yet a government shutdown is small potatoes compared to the risk of not raising the debt ceiling.

In yesterday's column "Play It Again (Uncle) Sam," I explained that government shutdowns have occurred 17 times since the seventies. The longest was a three-week stretch during the Clinton years and none of them had done any lasting harm to the economy, the government or to the stock market. The debt ceiling debate may be a horse of a different color.

There could be some real harm done to all of the above if Congress were to allow the debt ceiling to expire in the middle of October. Although the U.S. Treasury might be able to still pay its bills for another week or so, default would certainly be a direct result of this congressional insanity.

It is ludicrous to believe that this tea party-inspired game of chicken has actually gotten this far. A default would cost this country at least as much as the entire 2013 federal deficit in higher interest rates and lost economic activity. How, therefore, does the Republican Party achieve its goal of reducing our debt and balancing our nation's budget by doubling the size of both overnight?

It is informative to look back just two years ago to the summer of 2011 to see how the GOP's first stab at blackmail proved out. At that time the debt ceiling debacle was narrowly averted by both parties agreeing to the Budget Control Act. But a few days later the Standard and Poor's Credit Rating Agency downgraded our national debt because of our dysfunctional political process and its legislators. The Dow dropped 635 points in one day (5.6 percent) while during the summer fiasco, the S&P 500 Index lost 16.5 percent.

The Budget Control Act ushered in the sequestration mechanism of automatic spending cuts when neither party could agree on tax and spending measures to reduce the deficit. Those spending cuts were enacted at the beginning of this year. As a result, employment gains have slowed and the growth rate of the economy reduced in 2013. Go Republicans!

However, notice something interesting about the market's reaction today to these same set of circumstances. The stock market has declined less than 2 percent versus the 16.5 percent sell–off in 2011. Interest rates, rather than spiking on the threat of a default, have actually declined from close to 3 percent on the 10-year Treasury note to 2.61 percent today.

The message here is to focus on price, not hyperbole. The media would have you believe that the world is coming to an end once again. The tea party, desperately trying to gain support before their primary elections, are playing us all. Investors aren't buying it. Too often in the past, we have sold out in fear of what these politicians would do only to discover that they are all paper tigers. Don't fall for it this time. Buy the dip.

Bill Schmick is registered as an investment adviser representative with Berkshire Money Management. Bill’s forecasts and opinions are purely his own. None of the information presented here should be construed as an endorsement of BMM or a solicitation to become a client of BMM. Direct inquires to Bill at 1-888-232-6072 (toll free) or email him at Bill@afewdollarsmore.com.



     
@theMarket: From Russia with Love
By Bill Schmick On: 06:05PM / Friday September 13, 2013
Important
0
Interesting
0
Funny
0
Awesome
0
Infuriating
0
Ridiculous
0

Stocks rallied this week as news that the world may have found a way to resolve the looming confrontation between the U.S. and Syria. If so, investors can thank Russia for the solution and a much-needed deal that might actually extend into a brokered peace.

Last week, I suggested that readers should not worry too much. I had my doubts over whether we would see any 'rocket's red glare' over Damascus. Given the overwhelming lack of support by the American public and adverse world opinion for a pre-emptive Syrian strike, I was sure that neither Congress nor the president would pull the trigger.

Now that Russia has offered to broker a deal involving the destruction of the Syrian regime's 1,000-ton stockpile of poison gas, the world gets to have its cake and eat it, too. What's not to love about that? Although the media is arguing that President Obama has handled this international incident poorly, I'm not so sure. If Obama can pull off ridding the world of yet another potential danger without firing a shot, I say kudos to him.

However, I am not pleased with reports coming out of Japan's Nikkei Shin Bun last night that President Obama is leaning toward making Larry Summers our next Federal Reserve Chairman over Janet Yellen, the vice chairwoman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Bank. Summers, in my opinion, is just another of a long line of politicians that have moved between the private and public sectors peddling their influence in exchange for money and position..

The head of our central bank needs to look beyond his or her next meal ticket and focus instead on doing the best possible job for all of the country, not simply Wall Street. I believe Janet Yellen would be such a person. The White House has denied that a decision has been made, but that doesn't mean it won't be Summers. Obama, as a lame-duck president, can do what he wants. I'm hoping he makes the right choice, rather than the political one.

Next week, the Fed meets and most economists and investors believe that the much-mentioned taper will begin at that time. Depending on whatever announcement is made, the stock and bond markets could see quite a bit of short-term volatility. Pay no attention to it.

All you need to know is if the economy gains pace and unemployment does not, then the Fed is going to taper and, at some point, end its efforts at quantitative easing altogether. That will be good for the stock market and bad for the bond market. If, on the other hand, the Fed does not taper it means the economy is rolling over and unemployment will remain the same. That will not be good for the stock market longer-term.

My best guess is that the Fed will announce some minor pull-back in monetary stimulus. For example, they could decrease their $85 billion in monthly purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities by $10-15 billion or so. Since this year's deficit is not nearly as high as expected, the need by the U.S. Treasury to issue bonds has been reduced. The Fed could simply pull back their Treasury bond purchases while leaving the mortgage-backed security purchase plan the same. That would not be the end of the world no matter what the pundits may say.

Bill Schmick is registered as an investment adviser representative with Berkshire Money Management. Bill’s forecasts and opinions are purely his own. None of the information presented here should be construed as an endorsement of BMM or a solicitation to become a client of BMM. Direct inquires to Bill at 1-888-232-6072 (toll free) or email him at Bill@afewdollarsmore.com.



     
@the Market: Expect Another Volatile Week
By Bill Schmick On: 08:45PM / Friday September 06, 2013
Important
0
Interesting
0
Funny
0
Awesome
0
Infuriating
0
Ridiculous
0

The stakes are rising. On Friday, Vladimir Putin seemed to suggest that an attack on its ally, Syria, would provoke a response from Russia. President Obama stubbornly maintained that we will still take military action against Syria, who he accuses of breaking international law by gassing innocent people. Historically, financial markets don't take well to the threat of war between super powers.

Some might conclude that Russia is simply calling Obama's bluff by answering one attempt at sabre rattling with another, but investors normally would rather sell first and wait to see if a shooting war develops. In order to navigate the markets these days one needs to be a political analyst, military historian and fortune teller all at the same time.

Well, please come into my parlor, and we will see what my crystal ball says.

On one side, according to the U.S. government, there is some evidence that the Syrian regime did gas its own people. However, the United Nations, Russia, China and the majority of world opinion (including that of our allies) are disputing that and have made it clear that there is no justification for a military response from the U.S.

President Obama, suspecting that a military response might be a hard sell to the American public (less than 30 percent of Americans are in favor of a strike), handed the decision over to Congress last weekend. Both the House and Senate want more details and plan to vote on the issue next week. As a result, I believe that the stock and bond markets, worldwide, will be held hostage to that vote.

You can bet that markets will gyrate up and down based on every comment out of Congress and the White House. Overseas, Russia's Putin, ever the poker player, will be throwing in another chip or two in an effort to increase the stakes of the game. We could see naval or air alerts, even troop movements by Russia in support of its Syrian ally.

In the end, America will have to ask itself if it's worth it. In the face of a United Nations that refuses to uphold the laws it was created to defend, should we? How will a perceived loss of face and resolve impact Iranian or North Korean ambitions? Is gassing 1,000 Syrian civilians equal to gassing millions of Jews in World War II?

I believe that unless the polls change dramatically over the next few days, Americans have already given their answer and the politicians will vote accordingly. I'm guessing that President Obama, although stubborn, is also pragmatic. He will acquiesce to a congress "no go" vote and back down.

In which case, investors will have worried for nothing. At that point, we will be on the eve of the Fed's decision to taper (or not) on Sept. 18. What a wall of worry! Given all of the above, I am impressed by the resiliency of the markets thus far. We are above the S&P 500 Index's 50-day moving average and are less than 3 percent off record highs, despite Syrian worries. I warned readers last week that we are still not out of the woods quite yet. It appears that there are at least two or three good weeks to go before we can see a clearing on the other side. Take heart and stay invested.

Bill Schmick is registered as an investment adviser representative with Berkshire Money Management. Bill’s forecasts and opinions are purely his own. None of the information presented here should be construed as an endorsement of BMM or a solicitation to become a client of BMM. Direct inquires to Bill at 1-888-232-6072 (toll free) or email him at Bill@afewdollarsmore.com.



     
@theMarket: Markets Will Drift Lower
By Bill Schmick On: 03:22PM / Friday August 30, 2013
Important
0
Interesting
0
Funny
0
Awesome
0
Infuriating
0
Ridiculous
0

August was not a great month for stock markets. September could be equally disappointing. After months of higher highs, a consolidation phase should be expected but it is not the end of the world.

As expected, from the peak, we have pulled back about 4.5 percent in the S&P 500 Index in August. As consolidations go, this one has been exceptionally mild. What makes it so painful is that we have all gotten used to one record high after another. We don't like losing money, even if they are only paper losses. I am putting you on notice that my worst-case scenario would be to expect another 4 to 5 percent of downside from here. Why?

Although I look at a number of indicators, the market's technical indicators across the board have started to deteriorate. So much so that it will make future short-term attempts to re-capture the recent highs problematic. Yet, on the plus side, there are some signs that we could be closer to a bottom than the bears might think.

All month I have been looking for a day in which the number of stocks with down volume on the New York Stock Exchange exceeded those with up volume by more than 90 percent. These 90 Percent Down Days are quite rare. We have only seen five instances of this type of behavior in 2013. In every instance, these readings occurred near the lows (3-5 percent) of their respective pullbacks.

On Tuesday of this week we had a 92 Percent Down Day on the NYSE. However, the event had some shortcomings. Ideally, you want this kind of sell-off (capitulation) to occur after a dramatic decline. Instead, the markets had rallied to new recovery highs prior to Tuesday. It was also a news-induced event, which lessens its significance. The catalyst for the decline was reports that the U.S. and its allies are planning some kind of retaliatory strike against the Syrian regime for its alleged role in gassing its own citizens. So Syria, As a result, any rebound we may get over the next few days should not be believed.

I suspect that at the earliest, we will not be out of the woods until after the Federal Open Market Committee meets again on Sept. 18. In the meantime, the debate over whether the Fed will begin to curtail their stimulus program at that time will occupy the headlines and the market’s attentions. Back in July, I also warned readers that "we are entering that time of year when our dysfunctional political parties may once again roil the markets in an attempt to justify their miserable existence."

Over the next two months, be prepared for the politicians to resurrect all the battles of yesteryear: the debt limits, the deficit, the budget, Obama care, etc. This could be the excuse markets need to spend a month or two more consolidating the gains we have experienced since November of 2012. We could see another 4-5 percent downside in the meantime. That would be my worst case scenario. Overall, that's not much of a decline given the market's recent gains.

Bill Schmick is registered as an investment adviser representative with Berkshire Money Management. Bill’s forecasts and opinions are purely his own. None of the information presented here should be construed as an endorsement of BMM or a solicitation to become a client of BMM. Direct inquires to Bill at 1-888-232-6072 (toll free) or email him at Bill@afewdollarsmore.com.



     
Page 7 of 28... 2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12 ... 28  
News Headlines
Merchants Blame Business Dive on Park Street Project
Bianchi To Propose Capital Budget For Roads, Parking
Volunteers Sought for Humanitarian Mapping Projects
North Adams Cab Company Plans to Relocate
Pro Hockey Team to Hold Reception, Waiting on State's Blessing
North Adams School Project on Track, Under Budget
Developer Details Plans for Former Adams Mill
Pittsfield Historical Commission Invites Input on St. Mary's Demolition
Pittsfield Prepping For New School Costs Estimates
Williams Senior Harrier Wins National Honor
Bill Schmick is registered as an investment advisor representative and portfolio manager with Berkshire Money Management (BMM), managing over $200 million for investors in the Berkshires. Bill’s forecasts and opinions are purely his own and do not necessarily represent the views of BMM. None of his commentary is or should be considered investment advice. Anyone seeking individualized investment advice should contact a qualified investment adviser. None of the information presented in this article is intended to be and should not be construed as an endorsement of BMM or a solicitation to become a client of BMM. The reader should not assume that any strategies, or specific investments discussed are employed, bought, sold or held by BMM. Direct your inquiries to Bill at 1-888-232-6072 (toll free) or email him at Bill@afewdollarsmore.com Visit www.afewdollarsmore.com for more of Bill’s insights.

 

 

 



Categories:
@theMarket (144)
Independent Investor (196)
Archives:
September 2014 (3)
September 2013 (3)
August 2014 (7)
July 2014 (2)
June 2014 (6)
May 2014 (9)
April 2014 (8)
March 2014 (6)
February 2014 (6)
January 2014 (7)
December 2013 (8)
November 2013 (7)
October 2013 (6)
Tags:
Jobs Stock Market Rally Retirement Markets Fiscal Cliff Stocks Debt Crisis Japan Congress Deficit Fed Debt Ceiling Europe Commodities Federal Reserve Taxes Bailout Interest Rates Energy Greece Selloff Housing Recession Election Banks Oil Euro Stimulus Metals Pullback Economy Currency Europe
Popular Entries:
The Independent Investor: Understanding the Foreclosure Scandal
The Independent Investor: Don't Fight the Fed
The Independent Investor: Does Cash Mean Currencies?
@theMarket: QE II Supports the Markets
@theMarket: Markets Are Going Higher
The Independent Investor: General Motors — Back to the Future
The Independent Investor: How Will Wall Street II Play on Main Street?
The Independent Investor: Will the Municipal Bond Massacre Continue?
@theMarket: Economy Sputters, Stocks Stutter
The Independent Investor: Why Are Interest Rates Rising?
Recent Entries:
@theMarket: Waiting on the Fed
The Independent Investor: The United States of Scotland?
The Independent Investor: Europe Follows the U.S. lead
@theMarket: What's Up With Bonds?
The Independent Investor: Baby Boomers and Retirement
@theMarket: Labor on Their Mind
The Independent Investor: Financing ISIS
@theMarket: Geopolitical Risk Trumps Economic Growth
The Independent Investor: Beware the Russian Bear
The Independent Investor: Why Some Corporations Are Leaving America


View All
Golf: Monument vs Mount...
Two standout rounds for Mount Greylock and one standup move...
Volleyball: Lee vs Mount...
Lee 3, Mount Greylock 0, The visiting Wildcats won 25-23,...
Soccer: Mount Greylock vs...
Eric Hirsch scored twice and set up two goals to lead the...
Josh Billings RunAground 2014
The team from Pittsfield's Allen Heights Veterinary won the...
Football: Amherst vs Williams
Football: Amherst vs Williams in a scrimmage on Saturday...
Girls Soccer: Drury vs...
Taconic girls soccer team took a 3-2 win over Drury on...
Football: Wahconah vs...
The Wahconah Warriors tamed the Chicopee Colts 44-6 at home...
Football: Taconic vs...
The Taconic Braves ran over the Cathedral Panthers 20-8 at...
Youth Center Chair Reception...
Inspired seating was on display Saturday night in the...
Volleyball: Mount Greylock vs...
Mount Greylock bested Wahconah 3-2 on Wednesday night at...
Northern Berkshire Food Fest...
Hundreds flocked to Main Street on Sunday for the annual...
Williamstown Fun Run 2014
About 100 participants competed in the 5-kilometer and...
Soccer: Pittsfield vs Mt...
Friday night girl's soccer PHS wins over Mount Greylock...
Soccer: St. Joe s vs McCann...
McCann Tech defeated St. Joseph, 5-2, Wednesday afternoon...
Boys and Girls Cross Country
Lenox's girls went 3-0 on the afternoon, beating Hoosac,...
Soccer: Renaissance vs McCann
The McCann Tech girls soccer team lost to Renaissance, 2-1,...
Golf: Monument vs Mount...
Two standout rounds for Mount Greylock and one standup move...
Volleyball: Lee vs Mount...
Lee 3, Mount Greylock 0, The visiting Wildcats won 25-23,...
Soccer: Mount Greylock vs...
Eric Hirsch scored twice and set up two goals to lead the...
Josh Billings RunAground 2014
The team from Pittsfield's Allen Heights Veterinary won the...
Football: Amherst vs Williams
Football: Amherst vs Williams in a scrimmage on Saturday...
| Home | A & E | Business | Community News | Dining | Real Estate | Schools | Sports & Outdoors | Berkshires Weather | Weddings
Advertise | Recommend This Page | Help Contact Us | Privacy Policy| User Agreement
iBerkshires.com is owned and operated by: Boxcar Media 102 Main Street, North Adams, MA 01247 -- T. 413-663-3384 F.413-664-4251
© 2000 Boxcar Media LLC - All rights reserved