Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Monday, October 31, 2005


Happy Halloween! Wall Street gave out treats today. The week started with a bang, with NASDAQ and the tech stocks leading the way. They gained about 1.25% on the day. The Dow and the S&P 500 also showed positive numbers, but not as much as their little brother. Don't expect NASDAQ to repeat. Dell warned after the bell, and this will hold things down tomorrow. Do you know the history of Halloween? Click on for an interesting story of how we came to celebrate this spooky day. Don't eat too many treats! Dow +37.30 NASDAQ +30.42 S&P 500 +8.60

Friday, October 28, 2005

What a Friday!!

It was big day on Wall Street, with all indexes adding in a big way. The GDP report came through and showed a healthy increase of 3.8%. This Gross Domestic Product number is closely watched by Wall Street, because it is an indication of economic activity. As soon as this number hit, all watchers stood up and shouted "hurray," and markets took off. We added back what we lost yesterday, and then some. Read about it at Don't you just LOVE Friday? Well, everybody, except Scooter, that is. I love an all-green day! Dow +172.82 (1.69%) NASDAQ +26.07 (1.26%) S&P 500 +19.51 (1.65%)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Judging Thursday

Stocks swooned today, despite positive earnings from some big-name companies. Maybe, it was the decision by Harriet Miers to withdraw her name from consideration for the Supreme Court. While this does not have a direct impact on stock prices, it's all about confidence, and confidence in 1600 Pennsylvania is waning. Oil stocks continue to be the big winners, with Exxon reporting an increase in earnings of 75%! Wow, can you say "windfall?" The Dow and the S&P 500 fell over 1% on the day, while NASDAQ dropped about 1.7%. Microsoft posted good news for the beleagured tech sector, with an increase of 24%. COME ON FRIDAY! Dow -115.03 NASDAQ -36.24 S&P 500 -12.48

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A Mid-Week Slump

The market hit a general slump today after a bearish two days. Treasury bonds have continued to slide since President Bush nominated Ben Bernanke as the next Fed Reserve Chairman. As the note on the 10-year bond falls, the yield goes up. The increase in this yeild is directly related to mortgage rates, which are now the highest since March. As for the drop in oil (which was minimal today), its a slight changed, especially considering the boost many oil companies experienced earlier after announcing their prosperous third quarter earnings. Many oil companies report that they will use these gains to rebuild and update oil refineries. I suppose we can bid farewell to low gas prices once and for all. Dow: -32.89 NASDAQ: -9.40 S&P 500: -5.16

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Cold Weather the Cause?

This is my favorite time of the year, when cool winds blow and hot chocolate flows freely. Unfortunately, my great mood can be swayed by other effects of the season. Natural gas futures, for example, rose over 10% today due to a cold weather scare in the Northeast, helping the Dow fall 7.13 points. Amazon's profits fell due to a legal struggle, and the car industry is seeing an increase in operating earnings as they compete for the most advanced in the hybrid series. It was certainly not the worst day, but I'm still looking forward to higher numbers tomorrow! Dow: -7.13 NASDAQ: -6.38 S&P 500: -2.84

Monday, October 24, 2005

Bush Picks Bernanke

President Bush picked Ben Bernanke as Greenspan's successor for Fed Chief. It was announced today that Bernanke, Harvard grad and top White House economic advisor, could step into Greenspan's shoes in February of 2006. Bernanke has stated that his first priority will be "to maintain continuity with the policies and policy strategies established during the Greenspan years." It was a conservative move for Bush, with Bernanke and Greenspan in agreement over most issues exception inflation targets. (Bernanke thinks the Fed should set targets; Greenspan does not.) As a result of this announcement, the markets soared, with high-rollers found in American Express and Merck. All in all, it was an eventful day ending well. Let's hope it stays up for the week! Dow: +169.78 NASDAQ: +33.62 S&P 500: +19.79

Friday, October 21, 2005

A Strange Friday

The week ended on a strange note, with the Dow dropping about 1/2%, while the broader S&P 500 gained slightly. The culprit? Caterpillar. Wall Street doesn't like negative surprises, so when Caterpillar announced earnings that missed, it was punished. This cyclical company is usually one to watch to see if we are expanding or contracting, so this news gave me pause. As I dug further into the problem, I could see that much of this was blamed on capacity problems (more of a management problem) and materials costs (inflation, of course). This gave me reassurance that we weren't heading into a contraction. Also, NASDAQ gained about 2/3% today, buoyed by Google,, on the tech side. All in all, a strange day. Dow -65.88 NASDAQ +14.10 S&P 500 + 1.79

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Cover Your Eyes!

It was an ugly day on Wall Street. I don't get it. Oil prices fell below $60 a barrel, but stocks swooned. Major indexes dropped more than 1% today, erasing yesterday's gains. Ford's news was not good, but we expected this from the beleagured U.S. automaker. Google's earnings increased seven times, that's 7!!! Unbelievable. Hopefully, this after hours news will make for a Good Friday! Dow -133.03 NASDAQ -23.13 S&P 500 -17.96

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Wonderful Wednesday

What a great way to end my day! After a trepid sales forecast, Intel rebounded the market into a much-needed boost. And surprisingly, a drop in oil prices helped the market today, too. "This is the start of the fourth-quarter rally," said Marc Pado, U.S. market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald. Meanwhile, Florida continues to prepare for Wilma, which is now a devastating category 5. As insurance companies struggle to keep up and those in Florida evacuate, I'm keeping my garage full of bottled water and batteries. Let's hope Wilma decides to calm down before hitting the coast (and the market)! Dow: 128.87 NASDAQ: 35.24 S&P 500: 17.62

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Hurricane Effects Continue

Believe it or not, we are still in hurricane season, and the effects are widespread. Wholesale prices surged 1.9% last month, reflecting the rise in energy prices. As gas prices continue to make a hole in my wallet, Mr. Greenspan tries to explain the extent of this ripple effect. Watch for further news on Wilma, as she was officially declared a hurricane today. On the other hand, many banks are seeing an increase in profits due to more loans and deposits. Merrill Lynch rose 4.9%, along with gains for four other major U.S. banks. It looks like there may still be life after hurricanes after all. S&P 500: -11.96 NASDAQ: -14.30 Dow: -62.84

Monday, October 17, 2005

What Monday Blues?

Good news for a Monday! Thanks to an agreement reached by General Motors and their healthcare provider, GM showed a 7.5% jump in their stock. This rise was particularly influential on the Dow, helping it rise almost half a percentage point. In fact, all three markets are up today, keeping the good times rolling! For more on the agreement between GM and UAW, clink on the following link: GM Dow: +60.76 NASDAQ: +5.47 S&P 500: +3.53

Friday, October 14, 2005

Happy Days Are Here Again!

Markets turned up today, as CPI numbers came in. Yes, consumer prices rose, but not as much as expected. The increase was only 1.2%, even with gasoline weighing it down. This news gave Wall Street a much-needed boost and indicated that inflation may not be running as high as thought. GE also weighed in with good news, increasing their profits by about 15%, despite hurricane damage to some of their businesses. Check it out at The combination of these good reports sent stocks up about 3/4% across the board. What a great ending to the week! Dow +70.75 NASDAQ +17.61 S&P 500 +9.73

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Not My Imports!

Nasdaq finally took a breather, gaining back about 1/2% today. The Dow and S&P were, basically, flat. News came that the price of imports is climbing. Say it ain't so!! This could cut into my trips to the dollar stores. There's nothing I love better than cheap imports. This is another sign that inflation is creeping into the picture. Dow -0.32 NASDAQ +9.75 S&P 500 -0.84

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Mid-Week YUK

Markets are still slipping. What's the deal with tech? Apple announces great results, and the Street says, "Not good enough." All things seem to be on hold, waiting for how the year will end. Oil (and gas at the pumps) is going in the right direction, though. One of my favorite shows, Desperate Housewives, may soon be available to IPOD users. Check it out at Dow -36.26 NASDAQ -23.62 (more than 1% down) S&P 500 -7.19

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Tuesday Report

Strange goings on... Breaking news is that AMD (Intel's rival) reported a 73% increase in earnings. Wow! It seems the microprocessor business is booming. Alcoa (a big industrial) and Genentech (a biotech) both posted good news. Still, the market didn't respond well. The Dow ended the day up slightly, but NASDAQ took a beating, down almost 1%. The after market news from AMD should help their case tomorrow. Check out the headlines at Dow +14.41 NASDAQ -17.83 S&P 500 -2.46

Friday, October 07, 2005

A Positive Sign

Well, it wasn't a stellar day, but markets were up. The Dow's positive performance was a bit anemic, but NASDAQ and the S&P had a fair showing for the day. (Speaking of the fair, the MS State Fair started this week and brought with it cooler weather!) After a week of falling, these numbers were a welcome sight. Oil prices fell, helping the feeling on Wall Street. Fed officials are still warning about inflation, though, and this could be the bugaboo, but I think it's too soon to tell the effects. As expected, jobless claims rose, but most came from Katrina. Previous months jobs reports were revised upward, another positive sign for the economy. It was nice to end the week on a good note! Dow +5.21 NASDAQ +6.27 S&P 500 +4.41

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Thursday Wall

The Dow fell as much as 100 points today before reversing some of its losses. It still finished down for the day, but maybe is starting to stabilize. NASDAQ lost almost 1% for the day, so it could not duplicate the Dow's bounce. Let's hope that comes tomorrow. Retailers are getting skittish as the Christmas season nears. Wal Mart posted good numbers, but they were helped by all us buying supplies for the hurricanes. This discounter had been feeling the pinch as everyone rotated to higher end goods. Does this signal a pull-in? December's numbers will be important. Dow -30.26 NASDAQ -18.94 S&P 500 -4.90

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


A second day of retreat as Wall Street weighs the effects of expected inflation. As prices rise, stocks fall. The Dow fell about 1.2%, while NASDAQ took the hardest hit, losing about 1.7%. Is this just the market taking a breather or will the effects be long-lived? Stay tuned. It's just way TOO much red for me right now. Of course, that could mean it's time for some bargain hunting. Dow -123.75 NASDAQ -36.34 S&P 500 -18.08

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Inflationary Tuesday

A Fed official said the dreaded words out loud, "high inflation", and stocks ran for cover. Oil prices continue to climb as I watch the price at the pump cross the $3 mark. This, along with the expectations for home heating oil this winter, has some economists spooked. BP announced a shortfall in profits due to the hurricanes. The question mark in all this is the consumer. Will we slow down our spending in reaction to the rising prices? It was all red today. Dow -94.37 NASDAQ -16.07 S&P 500 -12.23

Monday, October 03, 2005

October Monday

It's the first week of October, and the air conditioning is still running in Mississippi. I'm hoping for a Fall day with a crisp breeze and falling leaves. I may have to wait until November. There were some signs that inflation was rearing its ugly head. Big caps pulled back a little bit, while tech stocks gained some ground. Auto sales are sluggish, but what can you expect with the price of oil? Those SUVs are looking like dinosaurs. Dow -33.22 NASDAQ +3.74 S&P 500 -2.11