Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Friday, September 29, 2006

Last Friday in the Quarter

It's the end of the third quarter, and Wall Street fared well. While markets retreated a bit today, September saw stocks reach for previous highs. Today, reports of lower real income and higher inflation caused the 4 day up trend to end. Despite this, it's been a good quarter to own stocks, especially technology. If you're looking for a long-term approach to retirement, try It seems that the biggest impediment to a nice nest egg is our spending. The weather is gorgeous in Mississippi. I spent my lunchtime outdoors. Enjoy the weekend. Dow -39.38 NASDAQ -11.59 S&P 500 -3.30

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Record-High....Almost

"The Dow is teasing everybody right now," said Kenneth Tower, chief market strategist at CyberTrader. I agree. The Dow hit as high as 11728.46, only to fall back just a few points shy of a new record. Investors are playing with us, thanks to continued low oil prices and a soft GDP report. I've never liked flirting. We're keeping our eyes on the headlines, as both HP and Research In Motion take their companies through internal probes. And Lenovo announced a recall of several hundred thousand laptops, making it the latest computer company with trouble. Good thing we have those market highs to keep us smiling! DJIA: +29.21 Nasdaq: +6.63 S&P 500: +2.56

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Close, But No Cigar

The Dow closed today at 11689.24, just two points shy of its all-time high. A report showing solid sales of newly-built houses eased concerns about a cooling housing market, and upbeat investors jumped on the opportunity. I'm with Larry Peruzzi at Boston Company Asset Management, "I think this gets us in a position where in the next two days we could actually make a new high." General Motors and Nissan-Renault decided to continue talks about a possible alliance that would be worldwide. Their decision was announced this morning at the Paris car show, where another announcement was made by the CEO of Ford. He said he's more interested in fixing his business. Give that guy a cookie. DJIA: +19.85 Nasdaq: +2.05 S&P 500: +0.25

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Blue-Chippers Rule

Blue-chip investors are floating home on air today. With oil prices lowering and high economic reports, the Dow soared today, coming within just a few points of its high, set in May earlier this year. And the S&P hit its highest since 2001. The numbers looked good on wall street, and in other venues today, as well. Former Enron Corp CFO Andrew Fastow was sentenced today. There was a reduction to 6 years jail time, down from the 10-year jail term in his plea bargain. Judge Hoyt cited Fastow's cooperation with investigators as his reason. DJIA: +93.58 Nasdaq: +12.27 S&P 500: +9.97

Monday, September 25, 2006

Black and Blue Monday

It's the day before WorldCom's former CEO, Bernie Ebbers, heads to prison. It's a sad day in Mississippi, as we write the final chapter in the fairy tale. One ray of hope for Ebbers is the announcement that a former Dynegy exec has had his sentence drastically reduced. This may not be the last word for the flamboyant Mr. Ebbers! Markets took off today, with the NASDAQ gaining an impressive 1.36%. The Dow was held back by the specter of further tobacco litigation. Altria took a hit and limited the Dow's gain for the day. Dow +67.71 NASDAQ +30.14 S&P 500 +8.46

Friday, September 22, 2006

Up to His Old Tricks

The market slumped today, partly as a response to comments by the Fed Reserve Chairman. Wait...not THAT one - Greenspan! Rumor has it the former leader suggested the Fed would have to ease up on their monetary policy as a result of the weakening housing market. (Why do I suddenly feel like I'm at the "gossip fence?") Rumor or not, this helped the 10-year Treasury bond yield drop to 4.61% and raised concerns about a rate cut. Oil fell below $61 a barrell, and the CEO of HP will resign, effective immediately. We're all keeping an eye on the now-public investigation of the computer giant. DJIA: -25.13 Nasdaq: -18.82 S&P 500: -3.25

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Lord Giveth...

Yesterday was a good day on Wall Street, but it was "give back" time today. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank reported a decline in business activity. The rate of the decline was enough to send stocks for cover. All indexes dropped. The exuberance of the early part of the week disappeared with this report. While earlier gains were lessened, they were not wiped out, though. Dow -79.96 NASDAQ -15.14 S&P 500 -7.15

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Mid Week Push

The Federal Reserve kept rates at 5.25%. With falling oil prices and a crunch in housing, Mr. Bernanke decided there was no need to put on the brakes. While the real estate market has cooled, the stock market has heated up. Today, Wall Street cheered the Fed's decision by sending indexes to higher levels. NASDAQ saw the biggest percentage gain, tacking on 1.37% for one day. If you're looking for up and comers in the tech area, check out 11 Disruptors. There are great ideas among the group which could turn out to be the next Ebay or Google. In fact, there are those among the group which might make Google a has been. Dow +72.28 NASDAQ +30.52 S&P 500 +6.87

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Inflation? What inflation?

Investors seem to no longer be concerned about inflation. The cause of such a huge scare three months ago has diminshed to a mere memory, and now the opposite seems to hold everyone's attention. After Yahoo announced a slowing market for online advertisers, investors took it as a sign the economy may be slowing, and trading on the Dow dropped a little over 14 points. The hop down didn't stop some companies, however. Oracle announced a steep rise in its profit and revenue, and its stock soared. DJIA: -14.09 Nasdaq: -13.38 S&P 500: -2.87

Monday, September 18, 2006

Monday Blahs

It's Monday in Mississippi, and the rain has put a damper on the day. Wall Street seemed to be suffering from the same ailment, as all markets turned in flat numbers. Of course, I'll take flat any day to a downward spiral. GM and Ford actually cozied up to each other for a while. They thought they might join forces, but it was not in the cards. I guess they couldn't decide who would be last! On the tech side, things are getting faster and faster. Intel has announced a new technology which should speed things up. At my age, though, I'm not sure I want to go any faster. Dow -5.77 NASDAQ +0.16 S&P 500 +1.31

Friday, September 15, 2006

Getting warmer and warmer...

I feel like the market is playing the "warmer, colder" game. We're trying to get back to those 2nd quarter highs, and investors are directing us. "You're getting! colder! warmer!" Today was a "warm" day. The Dow gained more than 33 points, edging very close to its all-time high. And all this in spite of Ford's announcements about its buy-outs and the shutting down of two more plants. Speaking of heat, the fires in the Northwest have slowed, and that deserves a hearty "Welcome home!" to the residents of Montana, Washington, and Oregon. This is the perfect day to start my sunshine-filled weekend! DJIA: +33.38 Nasdaq: +6.86 S&P 500: +3.59

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Thursday Breather

Wall Street was flat today, but that's to be expected after the gains of the first part of the week. Mortgage rates and oil prices continue to fall. Both should help consumer spending concerns. Tomorrow, we'll get the report on inflation. Tame numbers should send stocks up again. Dow -15.93 NASDAQ +1.06 S&P 500 -1.79

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Wednesday Highs

Markets hit the highest level that they've seen in 4 months. The biggest winner? Technology. All signs point to continued gains for this sector, as business finally begins spending to upgrade. NASDAQ added 1/2% today. Oil has dropped $6 per barrel in the last three weeks. This reprieve at the pump may show up in increased consumer spending. Ahh, just in time for Christmas. Tyco is feeling a little pain, as it faces a $50 million tax bill. Ouch! I guess I shouldn't complain about the estimate I just put in the mail. If you should run afoul of the IRS, try this link Dow +45.23 NASDAQ +11.85 S&P 500 +4.96

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

High Hopes on Tuesday

The Dow Industrials jumped up over 100 points today as oil plummeted below $64 a barrel, and investors are hoping that consumer spending will not slow down, despite the cooling housing market. Goldman Sachs did well also, helping the S&P 500 gain 13.57 points. Not bad, for a rainy Tuesday. In other news, H-P and Bristol-Myers announced high administrative changes today. And we're keeping our eye on Syria and the U.S. Embassy. DJIA: +101.25 Nasdaq: +42.57 S&P 500: +13.57

Monday, September 11, 2006

A Sad Anniversary

As I watched my morning news show, it all came back. The shock, the horror. Five years feels like yesterday. I can't imagine what it feels like for those family members. Financial markets closed on that day and didn't open until a week later. In many ways, the world is a different one today than it was before that September morning. In other ways, things are still the same. We still function the same in business and finance, but we understand the need to be watchful. Oil fell below $65 a barrel today, and I was reminded of our need to cut ties to the Middle East. All indexes posted positive gains today... there's your sign! Dow +4.73 NASDAQ +7.46 S&P 500 +0.62

Friday, September 08, 2006

Friday Bump

All green today, as oil dropped even further. Per barrel, it's in the $66 range. That takes us back to the Spring. While homebuilders and homesellers still cry the blues, the market responded well to other news. Microsoft keeps promising a new operating system-- Vista, but they keep delaying the rollout. The thought of it makes me want to switch to a MAC! Stocks gained about 1/2% across the board. Dow +60.67 NASDAQ +10.50 S&P 500 +4.90

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Location Location Location

It's back to the housing market. Builders are not very optimistic about the real estate market going forward. No wonder. Inventory levels are such that many builders are finding themselves in competition with houses they built 6 months ago. While real estate is taking it on the chin, some economists expect business spending to pick up and fill in the gap. That would be positive for the big tech stocks. Wal Mart has announced plans to change their business model. No longer will every store carry the same items. They will be specialized, based on the local market. Wal Mart plans to build models based on 6 groups. One of those groups is "the affluent." Whoa! Cheap goods for rich people! Lower prices in real estate sent all indexes for cover. Dow -74.76 NASDAQ -12.55 S&P 500 -6.24

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A Really Short Week

OK, so I missed yesterday. I was back at work, but I was making up for that glorious 3 day weekend. Labor day week came with news about labor costs and production. We're not producing as much and we're costing companies more. All this weighed on stocks today, as all indexes dipped. This, despite, ever lower oil prices ($67.50 per barrel). I'm thrilled to see the prices at the pump dropping. The weather is helping, too, with little concern on the tropical side. Could this be our lucky year? Maybe, I should say that VERY quietly. I could be tempting fate! Intel and its job layoffs are still holding back the NASDAQ. Dow -63.08 NASDAQ -37.86 S&P 500 -13.00

Friday, September 01, 2006

First of September

It's September 1st, and the temps have finally cooled off in the Deep South. This is the first week of college football, and it feels like it, for a change. While the air cooled off, Wall Street heated up today. Unemployment numbers fell to a low of 4.7%! Can they go any lower? Of course, now we'll be concerned about wage pressures and possible inflation. GM even posted good news on their sales, but don't expect this to last. All indexes were higher, with the Dow taking the prize, up more than 0.7%. Enjoy your Labor Day weekend. Dow +83.00 NASDAQ +9.41 S&P 500 +7.19