Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

What Goes Up.....Keeps Going Up?

The Fed raised rates again today. In Greenspan's final speech, he brought the market to a temporary standstill as he raised interest rates to 4.5%. Stocks froze, then went up, then came back down again just before closing for the day. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, though, as expectations are that rates might be raised once more in March, and then stop. And I say thank goodness for that! DJIA: -35.06 Nasdaq: -0.96 S&P 500: -5.12

Monday, January 30, 2006

Heading Into February

Today was all about gasoline prices and car manufacturers. Hmmm... I think there's a connection. Exxon posted its best profits yet. Imagine that! I'm paying record prices at the pump, and Exxon is making a killing on the bottom line. GM may get some help with their money woes from Citigroup. The buzz is driving the stock higher, causing investors to breathe a sigh of relief. The end result of all this activity is, basically, a flat market. Oil prices for the day? Over $70 per barrel. Go Exxon! Dow -7.29 NASDAQ +2.55 S&P 500 +1.48

Friday, January 27, 2006

Recovering on Friday

Markets kicked off Friday on a good note, bouncing nicely after the big slide earlier in the week. All indexes posted gains in the 3/4% range. Despite news of a slow economy, stocks held. Earnings reports were good, and buyers were on the prowl. Score one for investors. At my house, we're counting down to the Superbowl. Despite the lack of Manning presence, we'll be looking for a good game. The race is on to produce the best commercials for the game. Anheuser Busch will be leading the pack again. If you want to see some from past years (and even some that didn't air), click on Dow +97.74 NASDAQ +21.23 S&P 500 +9.89

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Good Reports Make for a Good Day

Several large corporations published their 2005 earnings reports today. Most were better than expected, causing the market to shoot up. And market analysts claim we are still looking at a strong growth quarter, making my day the best this week! On the other hand, after such a strong day yesterday, GM slid back down today. Its report was one that was below average, reporting a weak 4th quarter - not a surprise to investors. Thank goodness it couldn't pull the rest of the market down! DJIA: +99.73 Nasdaq: +22.35 S&P 500: +9.15

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

GM Crawls Its Way Out

GM has finally seen its stock doing something positive. And despite having to close down more U.S.-based factories, GM may be fighting its way back in the green. Add to this the $263 million that investor Kirk Kerkorian invested in GM stock today, and this week is looking better and better for the car manufacturer. On the other side of Wall Street, the housing market is a source of discouragement for investors. New home sales fell 5.7%, greatly affecting the market. Oil prices dropped, and these two were strong enough to pull the market down slightly. The good news is that, with the decrease in new home sales, the Fed will hopefully stop raising rates! Gotta love that silver lining! DJIA: -2.48 Nasdaq: -4.60 S&P 500: -2.18

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A Green Day

Disney bought Pixar today in a transaction valued at over $7.4 billion. Steve Jobs, Pixar's highest official, will sit on Disney's board as the company's largest individual shareholder. Pixar puts out great movies, mostly animated films; it will be interesting to see what the two company together will produce. Speaking of TV news, CBS and Time Warner have decided to merge their two struggling networks - UPN and WB, to become CW, which will launch in the fall of this year. Investors stayed on their feet again today and kept the market in the green. Crude oil prices dropped slightly, and larger corporations, such as Citibank and Intel, are doing better than expected. DJIA: +23.45 Nasdaq: +16.78 S&P 500: +3.04

Monday, January 23, 2006

A New Day

This dreary Monday is a welcome respite from the wild ride of Friday. Markets were a bit spooked by rising oil prices and a few sputters of lowered expectations last week, but they Markets were a bit calmer today. Blackberry users may be in for a jolt. The courts are threatening the legality of the patents on the technology. Some of my friends will be in shock... Oh, no, not my Blackberry!! The automakers are still pulling out all stops to halt the blood-letting. Ford is in the spotlight, as it announces layoffs. I'm pulling for them to pull it out. Meanwhile, it's nice to back in the green. Dow +21.38 NASDAQ +0.77 S&P 500 +2.33

Thursday, January 19, 2006

A Rebound Day

The markets recovered beautifully from yesterday's slump. The Nikkei 225 had a surprising jump of 2.3% that was threatened to be cut short again today due to another influx of orders. Motorola's profits jumped 86% due to their huge success with the incredibly sheek Razr phones. These new cell phones have all the bells and whistles and are ultra-thin (easy to lose, right?). Nokia also reported sky-high profits for last quarter, bringing it in a close second to Motorola. It was a good day on the market, a welcome relief to yesterday's scare from Tokyo. I'm glad to finally see some green this week! DOW: +25.85 Nasdaq: +22.17 S&P 500: +7.11

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A First for Tokyo

Tokyo had to shut down trading half an hour early today. It was the first time ever that trading was suspended across the board. Closed in an effort to keep computers from being overwhelmed by a flood of sell orders, the exchange stated it would resume normal trading tomorrow, although there were no guarantees that it be remain open all day. This early close caused a slight slump today; the Nasdaq was down 1% from disappointments in Intel and Yahoo results. eBay played a small part in that slump, for although its sales were high during the holiday season, investors were slightly disappointed and shares fell late today. I'm ready for the market to be back up! DOW: -41.46 Nasdaq: -23.05 S&P 500: -5.00

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

It Ain't Over Till It's Over

It's the second day of the week but the first day of trading. Dr. King and I both celebrated our birthdays yesterday. Don't even ask! My sister-in-law and I have an agreement to always tell each other how young and thin we look. Never mind what anyone else thinks. The fight is back on. Boston Scientific has upped the ante in its bid for Guidant. Johnson & Johnson looked like they had the deal sealed, but, in the corporate world, it ain't over till it's over! Look for another offer from JNJ. It was a down day on Wall Street, with all indexes dropping in the 1/2% range. After market close, the news on the high-flying tech sector was not the best. Intel saw a 25% jump in profit, but it wasn't enough for investors. Yahoo had the same problem. Boy, those Wall Street guys are demanding! I want to go back to the first week of January. Dow -63.65 NASDAQ -14.35 S&P 500 -4.68

Thursday, January 12, 2006

A Little Slip

Thursday saw Wall Street back up significantly for the first time this year. Not to fear, though. GM is making noises about cutting its dividend, a move welcomed by bondholders but shunned by stockholders. This major bit of news seemed to weigh down the indexes. Sirius is still the talk of the town, first with the official arrival of Howard Stern and now with its CEO purchasing a BUNCH of shares. Hmmm... And more money news. We have a new nickel. Let's just hope inflation doesn't turn it into a penny. Dow -81.08 NASDAQ -14.67 S&P 500 -8.12

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

No Mid-Week Blahs Here

It's the middle of another good week on Wall Street. Techs are still rolling, gaining about 3/4% today. The Dow and the S&P also posted gains, although less percentage-wise. The Enron trials are set to begin shortly and will occupy much of the business news. The bookies are already taking bets on the outcomes. As for me, I'm working on my usual New Year's resolution... lose weight and exercise! For the latest trends in the supermarket, check out Dow +31.86 NASDAQ +11.04 S&P 500 +4.49

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Holding Steady

It was a flat day on Wall Street, notable because of the sizable increases so far this year. GM is fighting to keep its head above water, planning to cut prices on all models. Some are calling for the big carmaker to cut its hefty dividend. Bad news for stockholders, but good news for bondholders. On the other side of the coin, Apple keeps coming up with good ideas. The electronics show is in full force, and Apple has announced its intention to sell devices with Intel chips, leaving IBM in the cold. I think the folks at GM need to call the folks at Apple for a few good ideas! On the strange news front, a mummified body was found in front of a television set. I think I'll go home tonight and read a good book! Dow -0.72 NASDAQ +1.63 S&P 500 -0.49

Monday, January 09, 2006

A Milestone Monday

Last week was good, but today was the topper. The Dow crossed over into territory it had not seen since 2001... 11,000!!! But the bigger news is that NASDAQ keeps rolling, adding another 1/2% today as techs rack up. Even beleagured GM fared well today, as analysts gave the stock a nod and news from the auto show was promising. With rising oil prices, hybrids are looking better by the day! Dow +52.59 NASDAQ +13.07 S&P 500 +4.70

Friday, January 06, 2006

What a Week!!

The first week of 2006 started off with a bang. Tech companies came out of the shoot like a bullet, with NASDAQ gaining over 100 points in this first week. That puts this index up 4.5% so far this year. Not bad for a weekly return!! The Dow also showed signs of life, despite the automakers, gaining nearly 3/4%, while the broader S&P 500 put in a nice showing of almost 1%. The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas gave clues to future tech winners. Everyone is still trying to one-up Apple and its Ipod. Intel is set to unveil Viiv, and Microsoft is ready with a new Windows upgrade called Vista. Could "V" stand for victory? Not everyone had good news today. Martha Stewart's conviction was upheld... a good thing she already served her time. Dow +77.16 +0.71% NASDAQ +28.75 +1.26% S&P 500 +11.97 +0.9%

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Three in a Row!

Markets continued in the green, with all three indices posting gains on the day. The Dow, although positive, only gained 2 points. Automakers continue to leave a mark on this index. Technology continues to soar, gaining more than 1/2% for the day. The S&P 500 was also, basically, flat. 2006 seems to be starting on the right foot. Jobless claims are down. Retailers reported mixed news on the holiday season. Wal Mart disappointed, but Nordstrom exceeded expectations. Could consumers be so confident that they are giving up discounters and heading upscale? Dow +2.00 NASDAQ +13.41 S&P 500 +0.02

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Automakers Crying the Blues

GM, Ford, and Chrysler just can't keep pace with the foreign guys. Another day of bad news on the sales front for all three. GM was the worst with a dip in sales of 10%. How much worse can it get for this old-line manufacturer? Concern is growing about a possible bankruptcy. I'm watching the bond market closely on this one. These three held the Dow down today to modest gains. Meanwhile, the techs posted a gain of nearly 1%, on top of the 1.74% gain from yesterday. What a way to start the new year! Dow +32.74 NASDAQ +19.72 S&P 500 +4.66

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


It's the beginning of another stock trading year. While the calendar reads the 3rd of January, for stocks, it's day one. And what a day it was! After a tepid December, stocks took off on the first day of 2006. NASDAQ added 1.74%, while the Dow tacked on 1.21% for the day. What's the excitement about? The Fed indicated it may not raise rates again for some time. Notes from their December meeting show an inclination to leave things alone for now. Investors cheered this news. Dow +129.91 NASDAQ +38.42 S&P 500 +20.51