Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Friday, April 28, 2006

Not Microsoft!

Markets took a step back today, as Microsoft's earnings dampened enthusiasm. NASDAQ gave up 1% on the news. We've come to think of this tech giant as invincible, but they are sputtering a bit, as they roll out new products. Their latest, VISTA, has been delayed. While their difficulties hurt Wall Street today, I don't think it's a harbinger for all techs, just a little stumble. Oil prices continue to be the talk of the day. If you're still determined to drive a road hog, check out some of the more efficient. Dow -15.37 NASDAQ -22.38 S&P 500 +0.89

Thursday, April 27, 2006

A Hurricane in Our Future?

The market was up again today, even after Microsoft shares fell late in the day. But the economy is going much like a hurricane; a surge now and gaining momentum as it goes in the next quarter. Investors are worried what this might mean about the future...every hurricane ends somewhere. A slow-down is predicted for our future, but only one slow enough to "keep inflation at bay but fast enough to keep unemployment from rising," according to Bernanke. The Federal Reserve Chairman did have positive comments in his meeting today. Bernanke hinted that policymakers may take a break from rates increases. And a sigh of relief was felt everwhere... DJIA: +28.02 Nasdaq: +11.32 S&P 500: +4.31

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Lots of Coffee, Lots of Green!

We had to make two pots of coffee in the office today. We usually do that on days like today. It gets cloudy and gloomy, and we get sleepy. But the gloom was lifted when we looked at Wall Street! More data reports were released today, and the numbers were much higher than expected. Of course, these signs of our good economy have investors hopping around, seemingly unsure of what consequences a future rate increase (now more definite than ever) could incur. Yesterday investors were worried an increase would damage our economy; today there was a much more positive feeling, sending the market to a new six-year high! DJIA* +71.24 Nasdaq* +3.33 S&P 500* +3.67

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Relief in Sight?

President Bush has ordered the Department of Energy to stop filling the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve, leaving more oil in the market and more gasoline in the pumps. This could mean lower gas prices in our very near future, and I'm all for that! Unfortunately, this wasn't enough to pull the market back up today. The Dow started strong this morning, up nearly 20 points at open. But a stronger-than-expected data report on U.S consumer confidence and the housing market strengthened concerns about a rate increase. Traders were already on edge after the last Fed meeting, and today's strong numbers made the market fall. DJIA: -53.07 Nasdaq: -3.08 S&P 500: -6.37

Monday, April 24, 2006

A Jumpy Monday

The market was up for most of the day, but ended slightly down due to a few major contenders' negative impact. Merck had another Vioxx law suit loss in Texas, with the jury awarding a total of $32 million in damages to a widow and her family. This caused a 1.3% downward slide for the company today. And despite higher sales, the auto sector declined today. Ford led the way with a 5% decrease, and GM was close behind with a 1.6% loss. Xerox also suffered a 2% revenue decline due to pricing pressures and higher costs. However, these losses were softened by falling oil prices. Gas prices are becoming much of the focus on the news, in political arguments, and even in everyday conversation. Make sure you use our link for the lowest prices in your area! DJIA: -11.13 Nasdaq: -9.48 S&P 500: -3.17

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Google and Gas

Google reported an "exceptional" quarter today, shooting it up 5% in after-hours trading. The online giant reported earnings of $1.95 a share last quarter. That number would have been higher, $2.29 a share, if not for a $115 million charge for stock-option expensing and a $30 million charge for a legal settlement. And the price of oil dropped ever so slightly today. Is relief in sight?! Gas prices are hitting hard and hitting everywhere. This latest surge in prices has me looking everywhere for the cheapest prices and ways to cut back! DJIA: +64.12 Nasdaq: -8.33 S&P 500: +1.53

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Day After

The day after a huge run-up on markets, there was no giving back! While large-caps posted only slight gains, NASDAQ added a healthy 1/2%. This, despite continued record prices in oil. Exxon's former CEO seems to be the beneficiary of the prices I'm paying at the pump. I'm glad to know I'm helping the unfortunate! What's holding things up? Economists report that the expansion is widespread... as in global. Did you know the second fastest growing market is Vietnam? Even more surprising... the first is Zimbabwe. Dow +10.00 NASDAQ +14.74 S&P 500 +2.28

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

In the Green Despite Black Gold Prices

Oil prices settled at an all-time high today, topping $70 a barrell. Not the best news for those traveling this summer. But the hard hit to the wallet was cushioned by a powerful rally today. Thanks to new hopes that rates will NOT be raised past the next Fed's meeting, the Dow jumped almost 195 points today - its largest gain in a year. And several earnings reports came out today, also a cause of the jump in the market. Here are listed several of the major reports, led by IBM. DJIA: +194.99 Nasdaq: +44.98 S&P 500: +22.32

Monday, April 17, 2006

High-Priced Monday

Oil hit a high of over $70 per barrel, sending markets heading for cover. Gold added to its hefty price tag, as economists worry about the specter of inflation. The combination was just too much for the Street, as all indexes lost on the day. The damage was about 1/2% on the day... not a good start to the week. Dow -63.87 NASDAQ -14.95 S&P 500 -3.79

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Beautiful weather....and blogs?

The good weather has had an equally good effect on retail sales, bringing the market back up today. Consumers spent more than expected on cars and home improvements in March, bringing the retail sales up for the month's report today. The end of April will bring further reports on the economy, including a first quarter's gross domestic product growth report. Enron's Skilling fired back at the prosecution in court today, claiming it has intentionally misrepresented his actions. Lawyers are chipping their two-cents in on the latest form of open communication - blogs! Check out what this "law blog" has to say about the prosecution and defense of Enron. Dow: +7.68 Nasdaq: +11.43 S&P 500: +1.00

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Hot and Cold Wednesday

Gasoline prices are heating up, and real estate is cooling down. Oil is still climbing, just as we head into the heavy travel months of summer. Predictions are for prices to be closing in on $3.00 per gallon before too much longer. Summer also brings hurricanes, and Florida's real estate market is suddenly drying up, as this season approaches. Buyers and sellers alike are skittish about the potential for another disaster. That's the price you pay for paradise! Despite the nerves, markets managed to end on a positive note. Dow +40.34 NASDAQ +4.33 S&P 500 +1.55

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Another Slick Day

Oil prices have done it again! The Nasdaq fell nearly 1% as reports came out claiming the summer average for a gallon of regular gasoline would sit at $2.62, twenty-five cents higher than last summer's average. Its getting closer and closer to a record-high, and this is one record I do NOT want to be around for! And a ruling was annouced for Merck today. The jury has awarded $9 million in punitive damages to a 77-year old man who suffered a heart attack while taking Vioxx. This sets a troublesome (an understatement, I think) precedent for Merck, and its stock is showing signs of wear and tear. Dow: -51.70 Nasdaq: -22.92 S&P 500: -10.03

Monday, April 10, 2006

Oil Slicks and Mondays

Ouch! I'm feeling the pinch at the gas pump these days. Prices have skyrocketed in the last week, and oil is now close to $70 per barrel. Is the summertime demand already kicking in? This was the main culprit on Wall Street today. Large-caps managed slight gains, but they were heading into orbit before the report on oil. NASDAQ gave up some of the gains from its weeks-long run. I'm still watching the soap opera known as the Enron trial. Now, that's entertainment! Dow +21.29 NASDAQ -5.75 S&P 500 +1.12

Friday, April 07, 2006

Stormy Friday

I've been watching the weather website all day, waiting for the big storms to blow through. It's been a wild spring, weather-wise, and tonight may be our unlucky night. I don't see the clouds to the west of us, but the wind is kicking up. Let's hope Mississippi misses this one. Storms are brewing on Wall Street. Employment numbers came in, and they looked great. Unemployment is down to a very low 4.7%. What storm, you say? Well, now the concern is that inflation will take centerstage and will wreak havoc on this good market run. This is being reinforced by the price of gold... hitting $600 per ounce. Markets fell about 1% across the board. Let's hope for sun on Monday! Dow -96.62 NASDAQ -22.15 S&P 500 -13.55

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The News is News

The big news today has been pointed more towards the media than the market. "Who will fill the dazzling Katie Couric's shoes?" Even the Wall Street Journal has had an eye on her replacement. And her replacement is...(drumroll please)...Meredith Vieira! The popular View host has enormous shoes to fill, but is excited about the challenge. This sudden switch will challenge both NBC's and CBS's news programs. The Dow was slightly down today. Tomorrow marks the day for the March employment report, and trading slowded down to a crawl this afternoon as investors began to prepare for either good or bad news. Merck didn't help much, falling as a result of many lawsuits against Vioxx. How do you think Merck should handle these accusations? Vote here. DJIA: -23.05 Nasdaq: +1.42 S&P 500: -2.52

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A Tech High

NASDAQ hit a 5 year high today at 2359.75. Technology continues to roll, with Apple's release of its software which allows it to run Windows on Macs. My computers are less than 2 years old, and they are already obsolete. It's a fast-paced world, and the snails need not apply. And if you like to go fast, GM has opened a test track in Las Vegas. For the price of a ticket, you can take a ride around the track. I guess they're hoping you'll want to buy more than a ride afterwards. Dow +35.14 NASDAQ +14.39 (A FIVE YEAR HIGH) S&P 500 +5.62

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A Big Win

It was nothing but basketball at my house last least, it was from about 8pm to 11pm. And what a triumph! I usually pull for the underdog (or avoid it altogether), but since this was such a big game with no underdog, I just got into it. It seemed Florida was in the right mindset from the beginning and set on completely shutting down UCLA. It was an exciting night - check out the highlights! Speaking of highlights, today was one for the market. The Nasdaq reached a 5-year high, ending at 2345.36. Investors seemed upbeat about the economy after high first-quarter earnings. DJIA: +58.91 Nasdaq: +8.62 S&P 500: +8.12

Monday, April 03, 2006

April Showers

It was a bumpy night for many folks last night as tornadoes ripped through Arkansas and Tennessee. One hit just 30 miles from my in-laws. Judging by the pictures, it was a scary night. We heard some rumbles during the night, but got little rain out of the deal. It's that time for April showers. Markets gave away the early morning gains. The Dow was up over 1% before things cooled down to a modest rally. GM is selling its majority stake in GMAC, which helped trading today. Wal Mart, according to the Fortune 500, is a has-been. The new king of the hill? Exxon. Dow +35.62 NASDAQ -3.05 S&P 500 +2.98