Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Google Climbs No More?

Google announced today that it may not continue to grow at its breakneck speed this coming quarter due to the company's maturity. This Web-search firm has long been the leader in its industry and thus become a household name. We use it everyday around our office. "What's that?" "I don't know, Google it!" And existing home sales are steadily falling. People are proving themselves far more likely to purchase a lot and build on their own. This still hasn't slowed us down on home repairs, either. I'm in a constant stream of "fixin' up," and join the ranks of those with a never-ending to-do list! Nasdaq: -25.79 S&P 500: -13.46 DJIA: -104.14

Thursday, February 23, 2006

A Tap Dance

The market ended slightly down today after a long, busy week. As oil prices and bond yields jumped eratically all week, traders are growing weary and for today, the market was, too. Interest rates look like their on the continued rise. This could mean bad news for the housing market...or not. Although The Philadelphia Housing Sector Index reported a decline, Toll Brothers had a strong earnings report. And even better news, the luxury-home builder gained 3.4%. You can even build your own luxury home via the internet! DJIA: -67.95 Nasdaq: -3.85 S&P 500: -4.88

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Uphill on Wednesday

It was a dreary day in Mississippi... rain and fog. We drank pots and pots of coffee just to keep from dropping off mid-afternoon. Not so for Wall Street. There was a bit of excitement, as oil fell a big $2 per barrel. Some are predicting the price will fall back to the $50 range! It could be a big summer for travel, if that happens. NASDAQ was the big winner on the day, gaining almost 1%, while the broader index bumped up about 3/4%. It was a bad day for weather but a great day for investing. I may need to go further south than the Deep South, if Spring doesn't show up soon. Dow +68.11 NASDAQ +20.21 S&P 500 +9.63

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Nigerian Pirates Bad All Around

Some are calling them "pirates." The Nigerian rebels who kidnapped several Americans off an oil rig have caused the price of oil to jump more than $1 per barrell in just a day. As they continue to refuse negotiations, the price of oil continues to climb. The Fed produced a copy of its latest meeting's minutes, which imply a much more likely raise in rates. This increase that, in December, was thought to be just "likely" seems now to be improbable. On a lighter note, both Wal-Mart's quarterly profit and Home Depot's net surged today, thanks to high sales for both giants. DJIA: -46.26 Nasdaq: -19.40 S&P 500: -4.20

Monday, February 20, 2006

President's Day

No trading today on Wall Street, as most financial institutions took the day off to celebrate President's Day. Banks were closed, and the mail didn't run. Of course, we worked. This was a day to catch up on loose ends and on reading. Merger activity is heating up, as companies look for partners. Technology seems ripe for this. In particular, the "social internet" is taking centerstage, as cyberspace becomes the place to meet, greet, and connect. Even AOL is jumping in big time on this trend. One retail techie having trouble is Radioshack. Its CEO resigned because of trouble with his resume. Tsk! Tsk! Will these guys never learn? No numbers to report today. The week kicks off on Tuesday.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Friday Freeze

Yesterday, it was 75 degrees, but today the temps fell and the sun disappeared. That darned groundhog! Just when I was ready for the warmth and green growth of Spring, Old Man Winter came back. The markets were a bit frozen today, too. All indexes looked flat, only slightly down on the day. Things seemed to be frozen before this President's Day weekend. If you're trolling the bargain bins, try these picks from Money Magazine. Some of the blue-chips may be on sale. Dow -6.56 NASDAQ -12.27 S&P 500 -2.21

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Isn't Technology a Wonderful Thing?

Thanks to two major computer companies, we can breathe easy again today. Dell's profits and revenue grew last quarter, due to corporate demands and increased sales from outside the U.S. The No. 1 computer maker by market share beat Wall Street's expectations, which is almost always a good thing. One of its competitors, Hewlett-Packard, also had a strong earnings day, gaining over 7%. Technology IS a wonderful, if I can only learn how to use it!! DJIA: +61.71 Nasdaq: +18.20 S&P 500: +9.38

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The BBBuzz

Ben Bernanke. Ben Bernanke. Ben Bernanke. Try saying that 3 times fast! Mr. Bernanke testified before Congress today (for his first time out), and markets liked what he had to say. Expect further rate increases, but the new Fed chief indicated positive signs for further growth in the economy. That inverted yield curve thing? According to Bernanke, "What inversion?" He DOES see some slowdown in the housing market, but take a look at the hot markets in 2005. Phoenix, Arizona, is the place to be! Technology was the winner today, as HP announed an increase in earnings of 30%. Dow +30.58 NASDAQ +14.26 S&P 500 +4.47

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A Beautiful Tuesday

The market ended above 11000 for the first time in a month! Thanks to a drop in oil prices and high retail sales, everyone was in the green today. It was a beautiful day outside, and this was part of the reason retail sales were so high. My friend Warren Buffett was in the news today, too. He made the announcement today that he will leave Coca-Cola's board, but that his company will continue to hold its stake in Coca-Cola's shares. DJIA: +136.07 Nasdaq: +22.36 S&P 500: +12.67

Monday, February 13, 2006

Blue Monday for Google

Google's shares continue to drop, dragging the NASDAQ with it. The index gave up 1% on the day, while large-caps only fell by about 1/4%. All the years that we've been listening to Alan Greenspan has us, now, in a state of confusion, as we wait for Mr. Bernanke's testimony. Remember, the markets don't like the unknown. We'll know more about the rest of the week after we hear the new Fed chief speak. Until then, I hope you've taken care of your Valentine! Dow -26.73 NASDAQ -22.07 S&P 500 -4.13

Friday, February 10, 2006

A Rainy Friday

We decided against a trip to the beach this weekend. The rain started about noon and has not let up. The weatherman is even predicting snow flurries... here, in Mississippi! It's been a strange winter, and it's not over yet. The warmer temps of January meant a lower gas bill for consumers, a welcome relief. Oil prices even dipped a little today. Markets responded positively, gaining from 1/4 to 1/3% on the day. One of my favorite all-time movie characters, Inspector Clouseau, has been revived. I'm anxious to see the new Pink Panther. This should help Sony's stock. All in all, a good week in the market. Dow +35.70 NASDAQ +6.01 S&P 500 +3.21

Thursday, February 09, 2006

An End in Sight

The DJIA rallied all day today, trying to reach 11000, but was tripped up in the final hours. The Dow still ended up, and that means a day in the green. Economists are calling on Bernanke to prove his inflation-fighting stand, but that means higher rates, and forecasters continue to predict rates not going above 4.75% for this year. It will be interesting to see which way our new leader goes. And GM and Ford are trying to decide on ways to provide financial assistance. I'm just relieved GM is finally pulling out of this one! DJIA: +24.73 Nasdaq: -11.11 S&P 500: -1.87

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Out of a Slump

Mid-week doldrums didn't exist for Wall Street today. Markets tacked on 1%, ending a three week dry spell. Pfizer announced a possible spin-off, helping its stock, and Cisco reported good earnings. Any losers? Well, GM is still struggling, despite their aggressive moves to stop the flow of red ink. An interesting note on the wireless side... Motorola has a phone that will also act as a credit card. Shhh... don't tell my daughter! Dow +108.86 NASDAQ +22.02 S&P 500 +10.87

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

GM's Plan

Thousands gathered today to mourn Mrs. Coretta Scott King. Several Presidents attended the service today in Georgia, which was led by Bishop Eddie Long, leader of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia. Mrs. King died January 30th, at the age of 78. GM is finally on the road to recovery. It announced its plan to halve its dividend, cut executives' pay, and reduce health and pension costs, although CEO Wagoner still couldn't predict when the car giant would return to profitability. Its competitor, Toyota, however is doing remarkably well, announcing strong sales in North America. Despite a $2 drop in oil prices and another surge by Disney, the Dow was down today. But thanks to some blue skies and high hopes for GM, my chin is still up! DJIA: -48.51 Nasdaq: -13.84 S&P 500: -10.24

Monday, February 06, 2006

ABC is Super

ABC's broadcast of the Super Bowl was the most-watched broadcast since the 1996 Super Bowl Game. An estimated 90.7 million people tuned into the game, where the Steelers beat the Sea Hawks 21-10. Yes, I watched it, too. In my house, it was the game, or nothing. Along with post Super-Bowl coverage, Disney had other big news today. They uncovered a $2.7 billion deal to sell the bulk of its radio assets to Citadel Broadcasting. It was this announcement and a high quarterly report that helped the market go slightly up today. DJIA: +4.65 Nasdaq: -3.78 S&P 500: +0.99

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Thursday Clouds are Temporary

Amazon is under pressure after a large promotional effort, yet sales continue to increase 17%. Compared to the 43% drop in profits, however, they were unable to pull out a good day on the market. Year-end reports continue to be announced, and the Dow dropped .93% after one report showed a decline in worker productivity for the 2005 fourth quarter. Cloudy reports are only temporary, however, as retailers reported excellent sales for January, thanks to gift cards and warm weather. Wal-Mart led the way, with a 4.7% increase in sales. Speaking of the retail giant, did you know you can keep a wishlist handy for your relatives? Check out wishes to start your online Wal-Mart wishlist! DJIA: -101.97 Nasdaq: -28.99 S&P 500: -11.62

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Morning After

It's the morning after the State of the Union. As I read over the full text, I didn't see any major changes on the financial front. I waited for news about health savings accounts, and the President was vague. He mentioned something about portability of insurance plans. Most of his speech centered on Iraq and other foreign affairs. There were a few remarks about continuing current tax breaks, but nothing new. I guess that means business as usual. The markets responded well. Of course, it helped that carmakers reported good news on the sales front. The Dow gained about 3/4%, but NASDAQ is just sputtering due to the effects of Google's disappointing news. Dow +89.09 NASDAQ +4.74 S&P 500 +2.38