Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Giving and Taking Away

It was a day to take away. The Fed raised rates again, and the market, in its usual fashion, responded negatively. Dow -99.58 NASDAQ -11.93 S&P 500 -8.54 Talk about fireworks!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

End of Day

Markets slid a LITTLE, but not enough to erase the great gains on Tuesday. Dow -31.15 NASDAQ -1.00 S&P 500 -1.72 This slight dip is not unusual after a big run-up. Meanwhile, yours truly was quoted in The Clarion Ledger about the proposed sentence for WorldCom's Bernie Ebbers... 85 years. This comes on the heels of HealthSouth's Scrushy getting acquitted for his misdeeds! He was tried in Birmingham. Maybe Ebbers would have fared better with a little home cooking.

Wednesday's Report

Markets are adding to their great gains from yesterday, with the Dow up around 15 points and NASDAQ gaining about 8. Oracle released good news (can you believe it). Of all the tech companies to show improvements, I didn't expect Oracle to be one of the group. This may bode well for the entire tech sector.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Tuesday's Turnout

Today was a very nice change of pace for Wall Street. After Monday's record high, the price of crude oil fell 2.39 to $58.20 per barrel. That was enough good news to really get the markets moving! The numbers closed as follows: Dow +114.85 to 10,405.63 NASDAQ +24.69 to 2,069.89 S&P +10.88 to 1,201.57

Monday, June 27, 2005

Bubbling Crude

Oil prices continue to hold back stocks. As the price per barrel climbs over $60, stocks have become skittish. Oil is such a driver in our economy that any blip in those prices sends ripples throughout Wall Street. Interestingly enough, if you look at historical prices and adjust for inflation, you'll find that the price we pay at the pump today is less than in the late 70s and early 80s and is comparable to prices in the early 90s. Check out this government site to find all the stats and story on oil. It's fascinating. You'll find that about 27% of every gallon goes to cover taxes! Dow -7.06 NASDAQ -8.07 S&P 500 -0.88

Friday, June 24, 2005

Two Day YUK!

Another rocky day for Wall Street. Again, oil prices appear to be the culprit. The rumor is that now the $60 mark has been crossed, oil is set to hit $65. Dow -123.60 NASDAQ -17.39 S&P 500 -9.18 Forbes has an interesting article comparing cost of living in various Southern cities. Jackson, MS is supposed to be one of the cheaper places to live.

Sliding on Friday

Markets are continuing their downward trend, with indexes posting losses in the 1/2 of a percent range. The news is all good, though. Housing starts are up. Demand for durable goods is up. I guess oil prices are dampening spirits.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


$60 a barrel for oil must be the magic number. As oil crossed this mark, markets tumbled dramatically. The Dow fell more than 1.5%, and NASDAQ dropped a little over 1%. We haven't had one of these days in a long time. Meanwhile, Mr. Greenspan cautioned about using protectionist measure against the Chinese. We have become accustomed to those cheap Asian goods and may be cutting off our noses to spite our faces. Dow -166.49 (YUK!) NASDAQ - 21.37 S&P 500 - 13.15 Calgon take me away!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Lack of the Fizzy

Another flat day. Large caps and small caps are drifting slightly lower, but there's no real direction on either side. Speaking of flat, Coca Cola lost a battle with the European Union on marketing issues. Coke owns 1/2 of the market in Europe, and officials are concerned about their dominance. EU rules will limit the company's hold. EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said, "Thanks to the commission's decision, consumers will be able to choose from a larger range of fizzy drinks at competitive prices."

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A Change in Direction

A little bit of a surprise this afternoon as President Bush appeared to support a Social Security plan which does NOT include private accounts. This may end the stalemate and provide much needed relief to the system. Oil prices continue to inch up, and markets are inching along, as well. Dow -9.44 NASDAQ +2.94 S&P 500 -2.49 Another change in direction comes with Winn Dixie. They are changing their footprint and closing every store in the Jackson area. We have a new Clinton store, but it's gone. What a waste of money!

Movie News

Two big movie theaters theaters are agreeing to merge. This comes after a WSJ poll that says most people prefer to watch DVDs in their home versus going out to a movie. This consolidation within the industry is their attempt to hang on to what may be a dying business. Note the changes in the movie rental business, as well. Blockbuster is changing their product to adjust, but the end may be near. Looking for new investments means watching these changing trends. If you can envision what life will be like in 10 years, you can find the companies who will be the winners, and you'll make money. NASDAQ is showing some signs of life this morning, but the Big Board is flat.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Bad Day for CEOs

Wow! 80 year old John Rigas was sentenced to 15 years in prison. The judge said he would have made it more, if not for Rigas' poor health. I can't wait to see what Bernie gets on July 13th. Oil ended the day at $59.37... ouch. It's not unexpected, but I always hope for the best. Markets responded with a yawn, dipping only slightly. This seems to indicate some resilience for stocks. Dow -13.96 NASDAQ - 1.98 S&P 500 -0.86

Blue Monday

Markets are down as they react to oil prices getting close to $60 per barrel. Percentage of the toll? About 1/2 of a percent. Watching the price of oil bounce around is enough to give you gray hair! Want to learn how you can live longer? The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article on aging. Of course, SOME would advise to simply stay out of the market. I plan to use the market to keep me in the lifestyle I'm accustomed to until I pass 100.

Friday, June 17, 2005


Oil is climbing again, as we knew it would. It went over $58 per barrel, as families hit the road for vacations. Despite this, the Dow managed to have a good showing on this June Friday, gaining 44.42 points. The S&P 500 went up 6 points, but the NASDAQ was asleep, gaining only 0.96 points. Tyco's execs heard bad news from the jury today. My faith in the justice system has been revived! The famous $29,000 shower curtain got him!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Middle of the Week

Markets are backing up this morning. There doesn't seem to be any big news to account for this backstepping, maybe just a middle of the week breather. Meanwhile, Bear Stearns is reporting stellar earnings, indicating investors are ponying up. So far this morning, though, the markets are giving up about 1/2 of a percent.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


The Dow showed signs of life, adding 25.08 points. NASDAQ, and the tech sector, took a breather, adding only 0.08 points. The S&P 500 was up a slight 3.09 points. GM's picture continues to brighten, as the company takes more measures to address their problems.

Monday, June 13, 2005

A BuzzzzY Monday

The markets ended slightly up today, but who cares? The Michael Jackson verdict is in! It seems all real news has stopped as we wait for this final chapter to enfold. I'm glued to the TV and web, along with everyone else. I admit it. I want him to be convicted, but I'm skeptical about the justice system when large amounts of cash are involved. Rather than jail, I think a proper punishment for Jackson would be to spend the last half of his life in poverty and obscurity. The markets? Oh, yeah... Dow +9.93 NASDAQ +5.96 S&P 500 +2.71 I'll be glad when this whole saga is over, and I can get back to the really important things in life... like stocks and bonds!

Monday Monday

Markets are heading higher this morning, as all indexes post gains of about 1/2 of a percent. Technology still looks positive and is playing into changes in other areas of business. Proctor and Gamble is changing its advertising strategy because of changes in technology. TiVo is making ordinary television advertising obsolete. Don't worry! Those innovative marketers will still find ways of brainwashing us into thinking their detergent will make us happier.

Friday, June 10, 2005

A Mixed Friday

The Dow managed to hold a gain for the day. NASDAQ fell more than 1/2 percent. It was a mixed day on Wall Street. The broader market was also down. Dow +10.71 NASDAQ -13.91 S&P 500 - 2.76

Friday Morning

Despite Intel's good news yesterday afternoon, NASDAQ is down over 1/2 of a percent this morning. General Motors is making progress with the union to lower their expenses. They are being rewarded on the Street for their efforts. The Dow is up about 2 points.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Remains of the Day

Mr. Greenspan ended up giving a thumbs up to the market. Dow +26.16 NASDAQ +16.73 S&P 500 + 6.26 Intel released good news for its business at the end of the day. This upbeat news is good news for the entire technology sector. I believe this group will lead the pack in the last part of 2005.

E.F. Hutton

Mr. Greenspan is speaking before Congress this morning, and he's like E.F. Hutton. In fact, he's the only person Congress bows and scrapes to! I try to listen, but he's not the most exciting speaker, and the topic is pretty bland. Usually, I wait for a synopsis at the end of his testimony. As he drones, oops, I meant speaks, Wall Street registers moves based on his every syllable. What is he saying? The Fed plans to continue with its interest rate increases (bad news), but the economy looks good (good news). Markets are down slightly now and will probably register a negative day.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Day's End

Markets gave up earlier gains to end down slightly. Still, nothing dramatic going on. Kerkorkian is still buying up GM shares. I think there's life in the old blue-chip yet! Dow -6.21 NASDAQ -6.98 S&P 500 -2.59

Middle of the Week

Markets are ticking up slightly this morning. The Dow is up about 1/3 of a percent. The NASDAQ is up only about 2 points, basically flat. One of my favorite mutual fund companies, Third Avenue has announced plans to enter the fray for Instinet's brokerage business. They plan to use mutual fund money to make the purchase. Knowing Third Avenue, this has to be a good deal for them to jump in.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Tuesday Close

The morning rally did not hold. Dow +16.04 NASDAQ - 8.60 S&P 500 -0.25 An interesting aside. The Chinese government has ordered that all Chinese websites and blogs must be registered. The fine for blogging without permission? About $120,000. It seems freedom of speech is not so free.

Tuesday Bounce

The markets are bouncing higher this morning, with the Dow being up over 78 points and NASDAQ up over 13. What's happening? Oil prices are lower, and that always helps stocks. Also, long-term interest rates have dipped lower. Check out for the latest averages. Mr. Greenspan says this dip may not signal tougher times ahead but may be due to globalization. Lower interest rates tend to push stocks higher, but they can also mean lower demand for credit, signalling a business slowdown. I don't buy the slowdown argument, based on the activity in my little town. It's all systems go around here.

Monday, June 06, 2005


The blahs of Monday morning bled into a flat afternoon. Dow +6.06 NASDAQ +4.33 S&P 500 +1.49 It's HOT in Mississippi, and the warm, humid air is zapping my strength. Stocks appear to be languishing, as well, waiting for some big news. Meanwhile, all around me, business is booming. For sale signs are being replaced by "sold." Construction is everywhere. Summertime and the economy is heating up!

Monday Blahs

I usually never sleep past 7 am, so I was surpised when I woke up to find it was already 8 o'clock. I was late. The week started off with clouds and rain (the reason for my longer snooze). Markets seem to be in the same mood. Everything is flat this morning, no big moves either way. Domestic car manufacturers are trying to pull themselves out of the doldrums. GM is offering employee discounts to anyone who buys before July 5th, quite a deal. I still get those discounts because of my late husband, so I know what a plus this is. I'd recommend the Saab, if your pocketbook can stand it. It's smooooth! Check out pricing at

Friday, June 03, 2005

First Friday in June

Those sagging jobs numbers weighed on stocks today: Dow -92.52 NASDAQ -26.37 S&P 500 - 8.27 While the day looked dim, overall, the week was pretty flat, with the Dow down about 7 points on the week, and the NASDAQ up about 3 points. I guess you'd call it a wash for the first Friday in June. Down in Birmingham, the jury is deadlocked over HealthSouth's Scrushy. Read all about the trial. Could this foretell events in the Michael Jackson trial? Ahh... justice.

Friday Morning

Summertime, and the jobs have dried up. Just when I need to get my offspring employed! Last month only produced 78,000 new jobs, down significantly from the previous month. Despite this, the unemployment rate fell to 5.1%. I guess some people have decided to take the summer off. The news sent markets lower by 1/3 to 1/2 of a percent. While car manufacturers are suffering, some hospitals are taking a page from Toyota's business model to improve their bottom lines. It's an interesting concept. Follow the link to read the full article.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Almost Friday

Markets are holding nicely for the first week of June. The blue-chips were flat as the Dow only gained 3.62 points and the S&P 500 was up 2.07 points, but they WERE up. As for the NASDAQ, it gained a healthy 1/2 of a percent, picking up 9.94 points on the day. Yesterday, the New York Stock Exchange had a bit of a computer glitch, which shut down trading 4 minutes early. Not to worry, they've fixed the problem. Gotta love those computers!

Thursday's Update

It's a mixed bag this morning, with the Dow down about 24 points but NASDAQ up a point. Sun Microsystems is taking over Storage Technologies, and this will help improve Sun's tenuous position. A new SEC chairman has been appointed by the President. Finally, on the retail front, luxury retailers continue to do well, a sign of more good times ahead.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Closing Bell

It was a good mid-week for the market as all indices posted gains close to 1%. Dow +81.58 NASDAQ +19.64 S&P 500 +10.72 The Wall Street Journal reported on an innovative way for states to generate revenue. Check out botox. It will make you think twice about that nose job!

Half-Way Mark

It's Wednesday in a short week, so we're half-way through trading. Markets have more than made up for yesterday's slip, with the Dow gaining over 85 points and NASDAQ up almost 1%, gaining more than 19 points. A new report issued this morning shows pricing pressures are down, meaning big, bad inflation may be in check. This is good news for stocks, because it means the Federal Reserve will be slow to raise rates. If you're looking for higher bond yields, you may not get your wish as soon as you hoped, but, for stock investors, continued low rates means increased earnings. Sorry, but you can't have it both ways!