Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A Weak Wednesday

The market fizzled again today. The Dow was down slightly, but Nasdaq was up. GM had a bad day, declining significantly and oil prices jumped. Add this to comments by the President on the war in Iraq (promising to stay until the job is done) and the Supreme Court having to handle their first abortion case in five years, and you have an all-around bad day for Wall Street. Dow: -82.29 Nasdaq: +0.11 S&P 500: -8.00

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Confidence Check

The market wasn't very active today. the Dow was down slightly, but the S&P was slightly up. There were few earth-shattering announcements, and I was able to decorate our tree in the office. However, here's something that will make you think: with major corporations such as GM and Merck announcing large-scale layoffs, consumer confidence continues to be positive. So positive, in fact, that new home sales have surged 13% despite higher mortgage rates, and the sale of durable goods increased 3.4% in October. There is, of course, still talk of the Feds raising rates again, but it seems as if nothing can damper our confidence! DOW: -2.56 Nasdaq: -6.66 S&P 500: +0.02

Monday, November 28, 2005

A Case of the Mondays

The Monday after a holiday is always a slow one, and today was no exception. Merck announced today that they would be cutting 7,000 jobs. This news caused their shares to fall 4%, aiding the market in somewhat of a landslide today. And although holiday sales are projected to be huge, retailers are seeing a slow start start, despite the huge sales on Friday. I've finally eaten all the turkey I can stand, now its on to Christmas and some shopping of my own! DJIA: -40.90 Nasdaq: -23.64 S&P 500: -10.79

Friday, November 25, 2005

Fat and Happy

It's the day after Thanksgiving, and I joined the entire country in overindulging. This was an especially good weekend for us. My daughter became engaged! I'm thrilled about the impending marriage, but I'm terrified about the prospect of planning a wedding. We spent the day cooking and eating and visiting with family, all the while planning the big event. We are definitely fat and happy. The markets are sprinting into the final month of the year, also looking fat and happy. The Christmas retail season kicked off today with a bang. It was a short day for trading stocks, but the markets did not disappoint. Stocks traded slightly up for this condensed session. It's mid-afternoon and time for ANOTHER turkey sandwich. If you need some ideas on those holiday bird leftovers, try this site... Enjoy the weekend! Dow +15.53 NASDAQ +3.03 S&P 500 +2.64

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

My thanks are flowing this holiday! Oil prices were down and hopes are high that the Fed is through raising rates. We ended today on close to a four-and-a-half year high, allowing everyone to relax this Thanksgiving. What a wonderful holiday it promises to be, too, with the market ending high, the promise of beautiful weather, and my turkey ready to be cooked! Be safe as you're traveling and here's wishing you rest easy! DJIA: +44.66 Nasdaq: +6.42 S&P 500: +4.38

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A Good Start

After yesterday's news from GM of their laying of 30,000 employees and closing several U.S. factories (listen to a heated debate on the cause here), the market was back up today. Investors think the Fed will boost rates just twice more this year, keeping the risk of inflation low. And the price of gold continues to rise, marking a 20-year high. Finally, retailers are very optimistic about the already-here holiday season, pointing to the decrease in gasoline prices and high October sales as positive omens. DOW: +51.15 Nasdaq: +11.89 S&P 500: +6.38

Friday, November 18, 2005

Happy Week's End

As we continue to bundle up for the weekend, we can rest easy. The market ended in all green today. GM rose another 6.3% in the last hour, and GE sold most of their insurance to Swiss Re, raising their dividends 14%. Walt Disney continues to decline, thanks to a string of less-than-great movies, including "Brothers Grimm" and "Dark Water," but not enough to drag the market down. Enjoy the positive report this weekend, and whatever you do, keep yourself warm! DJIA: +46.11 Nasdaq: +6.61 S&P 500: +5.47

Thursday, November 17, 2005

A Cold Front

Brrrrr!! Its too cold outside for Mississippi! I've been bundled up today, trying to keep warm. I don't want to freeze, but I refuse to pay a fortune in heating costs, and the forecast only calls for more frigid weather. For some great tips on cutting that heating bill in half, go to TIPS. News from Wall Street today should go a long way in warming you, too. All markets were up significantly, as GM added more than 6%, thanks to some strong comments from their auto-maker CEO. I'm glad for some good news...and I'm hoping it will last! DOW: +45.46 Nasdaq: +32.53 S&P 500: +11.59

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A Wild Wednesday

The Dow was down slightly today, thanks to a jump in crude oil prices. Gold had its biggest prices since just after the September 11 attacks. GM made an 18-year low. Copper hit a record high. Silver surged. And despite all this action, the market closed with stocks relatively flat. The good news is that Senate is attempting to help out employees facing retirement. A bill was passed today that touches on almost every federally regulated retirement plan except social security. Now, if we could only fix THAT.... DOW: -11.62 Nasdaq: +1.19 S&P 500: +2.20

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Bernanke Speaks Out

Greenspan's most likely successor, Ben Bernanke, began his confirmation hearing today. He promised to continue Greenspan's hawk-like fight against inflation, putting some critics of his dove-like behavior to rest. He still has some convincing to do when it comes to his idea of an inflation target, but he's off to a good start. Senate has passed a bill that will allow them to keep this war in check. Senate will now receive quarterly updates from the President's administration on the war in Iraq. And read about the timetable that was proposed but defeated to bring our boys home. The market was down today, but just slightly. This was mostly due to weakness in financial stocks and a loss for GM. DJIA: -10.73 Nasdaq: -14.21 S&P 500: -4.75

Monday, November 14, 2005

Monday Blues

Wall Street got off to a slow start today, with stocks closing just slightly above their starting points. Don't expect it to last, though. Many companies post their October earnings tomorrow, and there should be plenty to talk about. The housing bubble has had a positive effect on companies such as Lowe's and Home Depot; they were both up today. And Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito made the news today. Check out what he has to say about his own name making the headlines even before his nomination. DJIA: +11.13 Nasdaq: -1.52 S&P 500: -0.95

Friday, November 11, 2005

Veteran's Day

It's Veteran's Day. Read about a hero in a column which appeared in our local Clinton News. This was written by a good friend of mine. In fact, it's the guy who introduced Ken and me, so he obviously knows what he's talking about. This is a really sweet story Tim tells about his dad, a WWII veteran. On this postal and banking holiday, I was working. Check out the postal holidays! I think I'm in the wrong business. Speaking of business... Dell offered up a mixed bag on its earnings report, and Wall Street cheered. Go figure. Of course, the continuing fall of oil prices helped. Markets added another 1/4% to a very good week. Dow +45.94 NASDAQ +5.79 S&P 500 +3.76

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Happy Thursday!

Markets had a good day, bouncing 1% on news of lower oil prices and improved consumer confidence. It seems we're all getting in the holiday spirit. Everyone, except GM, that is. The stock slid on another round of bad news for the automaker. It's another couple of weeks to the much-watched Thanksgiving shopping weekend. Hopes are high that this retail season will foretell good news for the economy. Today certainly put me in the spirit. I think I'll have another eggnog! Dow +93.89 NASDAQ +20.87 S&P 500 +10.31

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

A Choppy Wednesday

The market was up today, surprisingly enough after choppy trading on oil prices. Oil companies argued with the Senate today when asked to explain their high prices. Senators suspected oil companies of taking adavantage on consumers, and this had an impact on Wall Street. Oil prices zig-zagged all day, with Exxon Mobil taking the lead. And economists are arguing how Bernanke will perform, and if he will fill Greenspan's ever-growing shoes. Blog into the discussion at the Bernanke Blog. As for me, I'm just glad to see another day in the green! DJIA: +6.49 Nasdaq: +3.74 S&P 500: +2.06

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Popping the Housing Bubble

The Toll Brothers had a disappointing outlook on the housing market that raised concerns, causing the market to have a slight fall. Many states are in upheaval over gubernatorial elections today, and here's something interesting: the Supreme Court ruled today that companies must pay plant workers for the time spent dressing in regulation clothing and getting to their workstations. DJIA: -46.51 Nasdaq: -6.17 S&P 500: -4.22

Monday, November 07, 2005

Counting Our Blessings

The market ended on another good note today. After such a positive week last week, I was only too glad to see green again today. Investors seem to think things will only get better. The Dow rose 55.47 points despite a drop in energy prices that sent crude below $60 a barrel. Treasurey bonds rose, and the dollar strengthened against the euro, hitting an 18-month high. We have the rates-increase from the Fed to thank for this, as rates overseas are stagnant. DJIA: +55.47 Nasdaq: +8.81 S&P 500: +2.67

Friday, November 04, 2005

Four out of Five

Four out of the last five days, the market has posted gains. Boy, I like those odds. The big companies barely managed a plus in their column, but techs are still rolling, adding almost 1/2%. It's been a good start to November. If these rates hold, 2005 will fare well. The retail behomoth, Wal Mart, is having a bit of a PR problem. (My heart bleeds for them.) To counter all the bad publicity, they are holding a conference in the nation's capitol. Academic papers will be presented which show they are not quite so bad as the media make them out to be. It hurts to be on top! Dow +8.17 NASDAQ +9.21 S&P 500 +0.20

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Thursday and Still Going Strong

Markets keep adding to their gains, despite oil prices. Oil jumped $2 per barrel today. While it dampened spirits, it didn't kill the rally. The techs won again, adding about 3/4% on the day, while the big guys tacked on another 1/2%. Dow +49.86 NASDAQ +15.91 S&P 500 +5.18 Hold your breath for a good Friday!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

A Bright Wednesday

I'm glad I hoped for a brighter day - I certainly got it! The sky was much brighter, and so was the market. Thanks to even lower crude oil prices and high hopes for the holidays, analysts are beginning to think this year may end on a positive note after all. Time Warner was one of the lead runners today, thanks to high earnings as a result of more cable subscriptions, and DuPont helped out by adding 1.8% to the Dow industrials. Today has definitely been a much-needed mid-week boost! DJIA: 65.96 Nasdaq: 30.26 S&P 500: 12.00

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Dreary Tuesday

The Fed has raised rates AGAIN! This is the 12th time the federal-funds rate has been raised, lifting it by a quarter percentage point to 4%. They're trying to keep inflation from rising, but some say Bernanke is simply performing a tightrope act. As investors took in the news from the Fed, it had a direct impact on the market. Add to this the low October earnings reports from GM and Ford, higher crude oil prices, and lower treasury bonds, and the day was as dismal as our weather! As much as I love the cold temperatures, I sure hope it brightens up - on the market, too! DJIA: -33.30 Nasdaq: -6.25 S&P 500: -4.25