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@theMarket: Melt-up in Markets Fueled by Momentum
By Bill Schmick,
01:44PM / Friday, February 09, 2024
Stocks are climbing, scaling new heights while euphoria abounds. Momentum is pushing the technology sector, and AI stocks in particular. How long can it last and how high can it go?   It is the question on the minds of many on Wall Street. At this point, the consensus opinion is that we are due for a pullback. Even the bulls are getting worried as valuations become stretched.   However, valuations are in the eye of the beholder. While the price-earnings ratio of the market is about 21 percent, if you remove a handful of mega-cap stocks the average is only 17 times earnings. That handful of stocks has accounted for more than 50 percent of the gains this year in

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@theMarket: Jobs Jump But the Fed Disappoints
By Bill Schmick,
02:40PM / Friday, February 02, 2024
It was one of those weeks. A gauntlet of data had investors working overtime to figure out where stocks and the economy were going. At the same time, the Fed told investors that a March rate cut was off the table. And then the job data was announced.   The non-farm payroll report for January came in at almost double market expectations. Economists were expecting 185,000 gains, but the U.S. economy created 353,999 jobs. That was a blowout number that had traders torn between selling the market (because of the inflation implications) or buying it due to what it might say about future growth.   Strength in the job market and wages would mean the Fed will delay

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@theMarket: Economic Data Buoys Market Gains
By Bill Schmick,
03:05PM / Friday, January 26, 2024
Strong growth in the economy in the last quarter of 2023 helped support equity markets this week. The U.S. economy grew 3.3 percent in the fourth quarter, which was much higher than the estimates of 2.2 percent growth. For last year overall, the economy grew 2.5 percent.   At the same time the core personal consumption expenditure price index, which excludes food and energy, increased by 2.9 down from 3.2 percent from the prior month, and moved below 3 percent for the first time since March 2021. Investors liked those numbers enough to keep the S&P 500 Index making new highs.   Technology continued to lead stocks higher. The Magnificent Seven (Apple, Amazon,

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@theMarket: Is January's Action Preview of the Year Ahead for Stocks?
By Bill Schmick,
10:32AM / Sunday, January 21, 2024
The stock market has been a chop fest over the last two weeks. Yet, that has not stopped the technology sector from making new highs and the S&P 500 Index is not far behind. Are there more gains ahead for the averages before the end of the month?   Yes, as I wrote last week, I think there is at least one more good bounce in the markets before all is said and done. After that, I suspect we will all have to pay the piper for a while.   Has anything changed in investors' thinking to warrant these erratic moves? Much of the volatility over the last two weeks can be explained by the rise in bond yields and the strength in the dollar. Both instruments have

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@theMarket: Market Volatility Rules the Day
By Bill Schmick,
03:26PM / Friday, January 12, 2024
January is turning out to be a roller coaster of ups and downs for investors. Last year's fourth-quarter gains have reversed somewhat, and the future is becoming murkier as the day progresses. Hold on to your seatbelts.   The economic data is certainly not cooperating with the bull's scenario of slowing job growth, a fast decline in inflation, and a continued decline in bond yields. The reverse has happened. The benchmark Ten-Year Treasury bond has risen back above 4 percent. The dollar has strengthened, the week's jobless number declined, and the Consumer Price Index for December came in slightly hotter than economists were expecting. On the other hand, the

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