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The Independent Investor: Will Our Country's Military Win the Next War?
By Bill Schmick,
10:51AM / Friday, December 07, 2018
There was a time, not long ago, when most Americans would answer that question in the affirmative without much thought. It was one of those "truisms" that we didn't give much thought. But today, many experts are debating that answer.   Back in the day, after World War II, our military prowess, (aided by the development of the atomic bomb) was unquestioned throughout the world. Growing up, it was never a question of spending on defense for me, it was simply how much. Republicans wanted more, Democrats wanted less. Today, not only is the amount of spending crucial but also its predictability and even more importantly, what those billions are spent

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@theMarket: Markets Hope for Trade Breakthrough
By Bill Schmick,
05:13PM / Friday, November 30, 2018
This Saturday evening, Donald Trump and Xi Jinping will sit down to dinner in Buenos Aires at the G-20 conference. Investors are holding their breath, hoping that the two might come to some agreement that could lower tensions and avert a full-out trade war between the U.S. and China.   Given past rhetoric and the president's mercurial temperament, anything could happen. Xi Jinping and his advisors, after years of dealing with Washington, believe if they just hang tough and wait Trump out, the outcome will be "business as usual" on their terms.   Unfortunately, Wall Street and the media have created another binary event out of the dinner. Either

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The Independent Investor: Sustainability Investing and Millennials
By Bill Schmick,
05:10PM / Thursday, November 29, 2018
The demand for sustainability investments is growing. Companies that offer measurable social and environmental impacts that address issues like world hunger, climate risk, poverty and access to health care, seem like a good investment for those socially-minded. Finding companies that also provide a good financial return at the same time is not so easy.   Sustainability investing is different from the decades-old trend called "social investing." Generally, social investments are those that bet on solar power, clean water, or the avoidance of "sin stocks" such as tobacco, guns or liquor companies. Most of these areas were not viable investments without a

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@theMarket: It Is a Black Friday on Wall Street
By Bill Schmick,
11:11AM / Saturday, November 24, 2018
Black Friday sales are in full swing. Normally, today is all about the retail trade. Consumers spend the day waiting in line, picking up heavily discounted "door buster" deals, and generally starting their holiday gift shopping. This year, it appears traders are also holding their own Black Friday sales.   The day after Thanksgiving, the stock and bond markets are open for a half day. Few turn up for work, so trading desks are usually manned by a skeleton crew, volumes are light and the indexes meander about the center line. As such, what happens on Black Friday has little consequence in the grand scheme of things.   The real action is before a

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The Independent Investor: The Origin of Black Friday
By Bill Schmick,
05:58PM / Thursday, November 22, 2018
As you finish your turkey and prepare to get an early start on Black Friday shopping, you might wonder how shopping became such an integral part of your Thanksgiving holiday. The term has followed a circuitous route through our financial history.   Although the term "Black Friday" is a new phenomenon, its origins date back to the late 19th century. The term was first associated with a stock market crash on Sept. 24, 1869.   Two speculators, Jay Gould and James Fisk, tried to corner the gold market. This created a boom-and-bust atmosphere in gold prices. That volatility spilled over into stocks. Before it was all said and done, stocks lost 20 percent of

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