Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Yea! Thursday!

I don't know why, but markets took a jump up today. They say you should never look a gift horse in the mouth, but this one is curious. Oil prices did not fall. In fact, everyone is wondering what will happen this winter as we all try to heat our homes with natural gas and oil. Predictions are for sticker shock in a few months when we get those heating bills. I guess it's time to get out my long johns. Despite concern for oil, markets responded nicely today to an upcoming weekend with no storm on the horizon. Tech stocks had the best showing, with the NASDAQ up over 1%. Dow +79.69 NASDAQ +25.82 S&P 500 +10.79

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


The middle of the week brought little movement on the markets. NASDAQ continued to slip a little, while some gains were seen in the large-cap area. An interesting report came out about the competitiveness of various countries. We're number 2! Behind Finland! It seems the Scandinavians are very good at using technology and at managing their finances. Read the report in the WSJ at,,SB112791215561554472,00.html?mod=home_whats_news_us. Dow +16.88 NASDAQ -1.02 S&P 500 +1.23

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Tuesday Reports

Consumer confidence slid dramatically. This is no surprise, considering the natural disasters hitting us in the last few weeks. Consumers may be pulling in the purse strings, and just when the biggest season for retail is kicking off. New home purchases also took a hit, down a large 10%. And, when Mr. Greenspan talks, people listen. This time, he's bragging that the job done by the Fed may have been so good that it's bad for the market!?! It seems he thinks investors are taking on too much risk. Despite the bad reports and naysayers, Wall Street, pretty much, held its own today. Dow +12.58 NASDAQ -5.04 S&P 500 +0.03

Monday, September 26, 2005

New Monday

With Rita behind us, markets are breathing a sigh of relief. Stocks immediately climbed today but gave back after oil continued to rise. President Bush is vowing to release more of the strategic reserves to help relieve the pressure. That was welcome news. On another investment front, home sales increased. Is this a result of evacuees deciding to permanently relocate? In my area, the answer is yes. Mr. Greenspan is still anticipating a decline in the real estate market but says homeowners can stand the price decline. Markets finished on a positive note. Dow +24.04 NASDAQ +4.62 S&P 500 +0.34

Friday, September 23, 2005

At Last... Friday

Rita is fast approaching and, thankfully, weakening some as it moves toward land. The Sun Herald has some of the best radar images, showing how the feeder bands are giving more grief to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. We'll still have to wait and see how this affects oil production and refineries, but any relief from Rita's wrath is welcome. The market spent most of the day holding its breath. As we finished on Friday, NASDAQ actually picked up about 1/4%. The Dow was down slightly, and the broader S&P was up slightly. Entergy New Orleans filed for bankruptcy, but it appears this move will only allow its holding company, Entergy, Inc. (ENT), to step in with the checkbook. Dow -2.46 NASDAQ +6.06 S&P 500 +0.67

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Rita is weakening slightly, not that there's much difference between 150 mph and 170 mph. It's still going to be a major storm when it hits land. The track is easing eastward, which is making the folks in New Orleans nervous. The storm may come ashore, then hover, dropping copious amounts of rain. Not a good thing for the Big Easy. Check out Dr. Jeff Masters' blog for a more technical explanation of what is happening. The news of a weaker storm helped Wall Street today, but the gains were slight. Meanwhile, there's an interesting article in Money about the possible boom to certain industries because of these storms. I guess you could say this is the silver lining, though that's hard to see right now. Dow +44.02 NASDAQ +4.14 S&P 500 +4.42

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A Nervous Wednesday

Hurricane Rita is now a category 5 storm and is still tracking for Texas. Around Jackson, the lines at the pump began forming again, as everyone anticipates the effects on oil production. Wall Street is also nervous, with markets dropping 1% or more. While the economy has been resilient through Katrina, there is concern that things may not hold up as well with hit number 2. The rest of the week will probably follow suit. The storm is expected to come ashore on Friday, so don't expect to see any calming of the nerves until next week. Dow -103.49 NASDAQ -24.69 S&P 500 -11.14

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Storms Brewing on Tuesday

Another Fed meeting, another rate increase. The Fed raised rates by 1/4 point, in response to the threat of inflation. Much of this comes from Hurricane Katrina. Another hurricane is churning through the Gulf. Rita looks like it's headed for Texas. Oil prices may feel this storm, again. Markets were disappointed by the Fed's move, falling another 3/4% in response. Dow -76.11 NASDAQ -13.93 S&P 500 -9.68

Monday, September 19, 2005

Oil Blues

The week started with oil jumping over $4 per barrel. One hurricane, yeah, but two? Rita appears headed for oil rich Texas, maybe even another hit for Louisiana. Wall Street didn't take the news well, with markets falling about 3/4%. I'm ready for hurricane season to be over! Dow -84.31 NASDAQ -15.09 S&P 500 -6.89

Friday, September 16, 2005

Good Friday

Markets bounced up today, as oil prices fell and Wall Street responded positively to the President's speech. All indexes gained about 3/4%. Not bad for a day's work! My husband nodded off during the Presidential address last night, but I listened intently and liked many of the ideas he put forth. If you missed it, you can read the text at,,SB112683280424242504,00.html. Of course, the trick will be paying for everything. That's got all the number crunchers crunching and scratching their heads. Read about this at,,SB112688356998842968,00.html?mod=home_whats_news_us. Dow +83.19 NASDAQ +14.20 S&P 500 +10.18

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Middle of September

It's already the middle of September. I went into the mall today to find a wedding gift and noticed clerks putting out Christmas merchandise! I don't know if I'm ready for holiday celebrating and crass commercialism. Maybe, that's what we all need, though... a little Christmas. Microsoft is talking to media giant, Time Warner, about some type of business combination. I'll be anxious to see how this works out. Big companies gained slightly today, while NASDAQ pulled back. Dow +13.85 NASDAQ -3.18 S&P 500 +0.57

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Grounded on Wednesday

Airlines are taking a hit lately, first with 9/11, now with the high fuel prices from Katrina. Delta, my favorite carrier, filed for bankruptcy today. They were joined by Northwest. Currently, 50% of the airline seats in the U.S. are on bankrupt carriers. The federal government needs to look at the issues and find a way to shore up this industry. After all, airlines are critical to commerce. Markets did NOT take the news well. NASDAQ was hit the hardest, falling 1%... ouch. Dow -52.54 NASDAQ -22.42 S&P 500 -4.04

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Tuesday Slump

Markets headed down again, as more concerns about the effects of Hurricane Katrina surface. Best Buy warned about their sales, but, surely, everyone on the Gulf Coast will be replacing television sets, DVD players, and stereos. In the meantime, large stocks took the biggest hit today. NASDAQ lost, but only less than 1/2%. Tech stocks continue to hold up well. Dow -85.50 NASDAQ -11.08 S&P 500 -9.36

Monday, September 12, 2005

First Day of Week 3

The first day of week 3 after the hurricane started tame. Large stocks stayed fairly flat today, with the Dow ending up slightly and the S&P 500 ending down slightly. Meanwhile, NASDAQ gained about 1/3%, showing the resilience of techs, once again. Oracle is taking over Siebel. I think it's a good sign for the tech sector when Larry Ellison starts buying again. Dow +4.38 NASDAQ +7.32 S&P 500 -0.92

Friday, September 09, 2005

A Long Two Weeks

It's been a long two weeks, braving a hurricane, then dealing with the effects of this monster storm. All is quiet at my house now. Those on the Coast are beginning to take stock, and, thankfully, progress is being made in getting aid to these people. Michael Brown of FEMA was called back to Washington today. It was time for a new face to head this crisis. Markets continue to do well, despite the catastrophe. Texas Instruments gave Wall Street a boost today with its good report. Tech still seems to be the place to be, but, surprisingly, it was the broader S&P 500 that (percentage-wise) stole the show today. Dow +82.63 NASDAQ +9.48 S&P 500 +9.81 I plan to put my feet up this weekend and do as little as possible. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Coming Up for Air

I'm starting to come up for air after the last week and a half of dealing with a hurricane and all the effects of it. I've listened to stories of people who survived, barely, the storm, and I've told a few of my own. My parents left my house yesterday. Their power was on, and they were anxious to get back to their home and start the cleanup. They were some of the lucky ones. They have a house to go home to. As the reality sinks in, I wonder about long-term effects. Business Week has several great articles about Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath. There's even one about Jackson, Mississippi. In business publications across the country, you are starting to read about environmental issues and global warming. I never thought I'd see the day! Markets took a breather today, dropping about 1/4%. Dow -37.57 NASDAQ -6.00 S&P 500 -4.69

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Automobile Concerns

Hurricane Katrina will reduce the gross domestic product from 1/2 to 1 percent according to government estimates today while costing approximately 400 thousand people jobs. Meanwhile, the Department of Energy thinks oil production will be normal in November,which pushed oil below $65 a barrel today. In other news, Ford and Toyota announced recalls today totaling almost 5 million cars. Dow +44.26 NASDAQ +5.17 S&P 500 +2.97

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Picking up the Pieces

After my visit to the Mississippi Gulf Coast over the weekend, I must say that the news does not even begin to describe the destruction and devastation that occurred a week ago. Many Louisiana residents affected by the Hurricane Katrina were allowed to see what was left, if anything, of their homes and neighborhoods after levees in New Orleans were plugged over the weekend. The markets were optimistic today following the drop in crude prices. Dow +141.87 NASDAQ +25.79 S&P +15.37

Friday, September 02, 2005

A Small Breath of Fresh Air

Relief began arriving in New Orleans and on the Coast. I expect my sister was in line in Ocean Springs for water and ice. I've been trying to reach her all day with no luck. When the going gets tough, forget about using your phone! Markets dipped a bit, with the NASDAQ losing the most, about 1/3%. Oil prices dipped, showing how strong things were before the hurricane. Stocks seem to be weathering this storm fairly well. I only hope the victims will do as well. Dow -12.26 NASDAQ -6.83 S&P 500 -3.56

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Plugged In

The office is back up and running. I made it in at my usual time, not sure if the lights would come on. I was surprised to see my fake plant, standing in the corner with its white lights twinkling in the morning light. What a relief! My parents arrived last night from Gulfport, finally giving in to Hurricane Katrina and looking for a cool bed and a hot shower. More and more, families are trying to figure out how to all live under the same roof for extended periods of time. It will be trying, but we are so grateful for survival that this inconvenience seems minor. It's still a bit chaotic around Jackson. Power is sketchy. Gas is scarce. At my house, we're cooking more than ever. The loss of many fast food restaurants has us in a tailspin! We're watching the situation in New Orleans closely, praying hard for those people. Ken and I are noticing the ripple effects of the storm and wonder what those will be over the next months and years. Wall Street Journal outlines some of the industries and companies which will feel the effects of Katrina. Meanwhile, stocks have had a mixed week, with today posting slight dips, except for the broad S&P. Dow Jones -21.97 NASDAQ -4.19 S&P 500 +1.26