Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Trick or Treat?!

The Dow may have ended down today, but October as a whole was the strongest month in almost a year. The blue-chip average rose 3.4% for the month, and for the year its up a whopping 13%. So was today a trick or a treat? Both. The 'tricky' economic reports scared investors at the beginning of the day, but trading increased, and we were left with the 'treat' of the Dow continuing to close in the 12000's - and that leaves my sweet tooth happy! Happy Halloween! DJIA: -5.77 Nasdaq: +2.94 S&P 500: +0.01

Monday, October 30, 2006

Hallowed Eve Eve

We have very few children in our neighborhood. Add to that our hectic schedule, and I find myself wondering if we should "do" Halloween. The vote was 2-1 for (I was the one against), so I bought Halloween candy for the trick or treaters. The problem is that we end up eating most of it! Large-caps had the trick today, as Wal Mart's numbers looked tepid. This didn't slow down technology, though. The NASDAQ gained over 1/2%. For a look at some of the scary things being brewed in the tech world, try this link The newspaper business is looking scary these days. Their numbers continue to drop, as more readers turn to the internet. Maybe, bloggers are the ghouls in this story! Dow -3.76 S&P 500 +0.59 NASDAQ +13.15

Friday, October 27, 2006

Friday Sun

It finally stopped raining this morning, and the sun started shining. As I wound my way down a shady street, I noted the effects of Fall. The leaves are changing. There is a touch of coolness in the air. Pumpkins are dotting the landscape, and November is around the corner. Markets cooled off today, as the GDP report showed a slowdown. While this slowdown is notable, company earnings are still looking great. Markets gave back across the board. I had almost forgotten what it's like to be "in the red." Let's hope for a good start on Monday. Dow -73.40 S&P 500 -11.74 NASDAQ -28.48

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Thursday and Still Going Strong

Technology was the winner on the day, with Microsoft reporting great earnings. NASDAQ added nearly 1% today, and the word is "This Tech Boom Has Legs." While the old-line large-caps have been leading so far this year, maybe it's technology's turn to steal the show. The Dow and the S&P 500 added to their previous gains. The good news for the whole market is that this increase is being fueled by real, strong earnings, not speculation. Dow +28.98 S&P 500 +6.86 NASDAQ +22.51 (+0.96%)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Low Expectations Bring High Results

The Dow gained another ten points today - yet another unheard-of precedent. Why a gain when tomorrow is the weekly Fed meeting? Investors have low expections for the Fed - they are not expected to raise rates for the fourth time in a row. GM, on the other hand, rose another 2.8% due to high expections of their quarterly earnings report. And Amazon surged a whopping 24% from high revenue. The S&P rose a small 0.35 today, but the Nasdaq ended down, no thanks to low earnings from Texas Instruments. DJIA: +10.97 Nasdaq: -10.72 S&P 500: +0.36

Monday, October 23, 2006

Up, Up, and Awaaaay!

Wal-Mart was up 3.9%, GM was up 5.5%, and the blue chip average flew waaaay beyond investors' expectations, ending over 114 points higher. The cause for all the positive numbers lately? Some say its new money coming into the market from mutual funds; others claim momentum-seeking hedge funds switching out of commodities into stocks and skeptical investors forced to cover short bets. And Enron's Skilling was sentenced today to 24 1/4 years in prison for his part in the 2001 collapse of the company. Compare that to other Enron executives. DJIA: +114.54 Nasdaq: +13.26 S&P 500: +8.42

Friday, October 20, 2006

Caterpillar at Snail's Pace

Caterpillar posted a very disappointing earnings report today, making its shares plunge 14.5%. The heavy-machinery company is a key player in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, so the fall took its effect, with the Dow ending down a little over 9 points. No need to worry - it still closed above 12000...again. Google jumped 7.9%, helping the tech-heavy Nasdaq end higher today. Concerns over Caterpillar were also helped by another fall in oil prices. Those low oil prices make my weekend travel plans so much better. Be safe! DJIA: -9.36 Nasdaq: +1.36 S&P 500: +1.64

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Changing World

The Dow crossed over the 12,000 mark and stuck today. All indexes experienced slight gains. The big news? Google reported an increase in revenue of 70%!!!! This came as NBC was announcing layoffs. The world of advertising is changing drastically and is affecting all media. With Google reaching icon status, old line TV networks and print media will find themselves on shaky ground. At my house, any question we have, we just say, "Oh, google it." Dow +19.05 NASDAQ +3.79 S&P 500 +1.00

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Are We There Yet?

The Dow recovered from yesterday's fall, ending more than 40 points higher today, and less than ten points shy of 12000. Its so close, investors can taste it! Apple's net soared, thanks to a 35% increase in iPod shipments and sales of the new Mac computers. Ebay's profit rose 10% as a result of a lower tax rate that has helped in several areas. The Nasdaq was weighed down by Yahoo after the company posted disappointing earnings. DJIA: +42.66 Nasdaq: -7.80 S&P 500: +1.91


Straight out of the gate today, the Dow flew over the 12,000 mark, gaining more than 100 points at one time. The gains dwindled, though, and we ended just shy of 12,000, so we'll have to wait for tomorrow. Large-caps managed to stay in positive territory, but the NASDAQ gave up about 1/4%. Social Security recipients will receive 3.3% more next year, as inflation figures stay in line with long run averages. This, after a 4.1% increase in 2006. In connection with this, consumer prices fell about 1/2% last month, so inflation is looking rather tame... good news for stocks. Dow +37.38 NASDAQ -8.90 S&P 500 +1.24

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Road Less Traveled

The market ended down today - for the first time in several days. The Dow shrunk 30 points away from 12,000, instead of inching closer. The cause? That too familiar word: "Inflation." A report showed strong wholesale prices, causing the inflation jitters among investors. But high earnings boosted the market up from its original fall of 100 points. IBM posted revenue for the first time in quite a few quarters, and Intel stock was up, despite a dip in revenue. DJIA: -30.58 Nasdaq: -18.89 S&P 500: -5.00

Monday, October 16, 2006

Rain and Gain

The Deep South is getting soaked right now. Dark skies abound, and the rain is falling in buckets. Just in time for my drought-struck yard. Despite the rain, it's sunny skies on Wall Street, as the Dow nears a monumental mark of 12,000. NASDAQ is trying to keep pace but is still nowhere close to its record. The large-caps are leading the day. One big piece of news... Wal Mart is buying a Chinese retailer. I guess that just goes to show you-- if you can't beat 'em, join 'em! Dow +20.09 NASDAQ +6.55 S&P 500 +3.44

Friday, October 13, 2006

Running of the Bears

The Dow had a record-setting day, ending at 11960.51! Its old news - yet no less exciting. And still unexpected. Just ask any "bears" on Wall Street. Like Mr. Panzner, vice president in sales trading at Collins Stewart and a self-professed bear, admits the rally has confounded his expectations for a sharp downturn. Some even thank the pessimists - claiming that the more skeptics there are, the higher stocks will go, pulling in more skeptics. Oil dropped to almost $59 a barrell today. The sharp drop in oil that we've seen has encouraged consumers to spend more in retail, and has relieved consumers at gas stations. I'm relieved, too - that we finally get a beautiful weekend! Be safe and enjoy! DJIA: +12.81 Nasdaq: +11.11 S&P 500: +2.79

Thursday, October 12, 2006

If You're Happy and You Know It..

Another record at 11947.70! Its an old (but welcomed) habit for the Dow these days. "The market does seem to have on its happy face here," said Dirk van Dijk, director of research at Zacks Investment Research. "We're just enjoying the ride right now," said Scott Wren, senior equity strategist at A.G. Edwards & Sons. Stocks were especially high today, with high earnings from Costco and Yum Brands. And investors think our chances are good of having yet another high day tomorrow, when the retail sales reports for September will be released. All this good news makes the holiday season even more hopeful. DJIA: +95.57 Nasdaq: +37.91 S&P 500: +12.88

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Planes, Earnings, the Fed...Oh My!

The market started low this morning, thanks to disappointing earnings from Alcoa. Then there was a mid-day comeback early this afternoon. Then the Fed meeting, where officials announced a nagging concern about inflation and that rates just might go up again. And finally, the plane crash. A small airplane, owned by Yankee's pitcher Corey Lidle, crashed into a New York highrise, possibly killing the player and one other. All these factors combined gave traders a scare, and the markets ended slightly down today. On the lighter side, Google has apparently struck gold with YouTube. Now MySpace wants to expand their relationship with Google, too. And the anty for Harrah's has been upped once again - it now sits at $83.50 per share. This should be an interesting purchase to watch! DJIA: -15.04 Nasdaq: -7.16 S&P 500: -3.47

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A New High - Again

The Dow ended 9.36 points up today, setting a new record high. The excitement and newness of record highs have slowly eased, as it has become an almost regular occurance lately. Today, oil prices dropped and interest rates rose, making equity trading relatively slow. But stocks managed to jump that little bit into uncharted territory in the last hour of trading. Texas Pacific Group revealed the decision to buy a 60% portion of French TV and cellphone broadcasting. And Sprint Nextel announced the retirement of Chairman Tom Donahue at the end of the year. This makes the second higher-up to leave the company this year. Meanwhile, most eyes are turned to North Korea. What will their Elvis-loving ruler do next? DJIA: +9.36 Nasdaq: +3.66 S&P 500: +2.76

Monday, October 09, 2006

High End Despite Monday Blues

The Dow closed up 7.60 points today, ending at 11857.81. A high close despite North Korea's black news of nuclear testing and slow trading due to the holiday. Instead, investors chose to focus on the blockbuster deals: PNC Financial Services Group agreed to pay $6 billion for Mercantile Bankshares, which jumped 22%. And the Dolan family offered to buy back Cablevision (again) in an offer valuing the cable systems operator at $7.9 billion. There was more news after everyone shut their doors: Google aggreed to buy YouTube for $1.65 billion in stock. This means the popular video site is the largest acquisition for Google yet! DJIA: +7.60 Nasdaq: +11.78 S&P 500: +1.08

Friday, October 06, 2006

Record End

All indexes backed up today. The board of GM is, obviously, a mess. One member has resigned. Kerkorkian has vowed "no more shares." It seems that, while GM needs a partner to keep them out of bankruptcy, they don't want to share. Talks with Nissan are not going well, and this sent GM's stock down 7%. Google is in talks with YouTube. You can bet they'll pay a pretty penny for that one. I just hope they can figure out how to make money off this popular video posting site. I'm not so sure this is such a good deal. NASDAQ gave up the most today, percentage-wise. Dow -16.48 NASDAQ -6.35 S&P 500 -3.64

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Thursday and Still Going Strong

Stocks took another stride forward, with the NASDAQ having the biggest showing on the day, up almost 3/4%. Large caps' gains were slight, but they are still in record territory. Retailers reported a good back to school shopping season. We'll be watching to see if they are able to repeat the performance for the all important Christmas season. Consumer spending is still the fuel in this growth period. Speaking of fuel... prices at the pump keep falling. My husband is delighted! He reports the lowest prices each day to me. Mortgage rates are also dropping and may aid in the ailing housing market. Dow +16.08 NASDAQ +15.39 S&P 500 +3.00

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Going, Going....GONE!!!

After its record-setting high yesterday, the Dow decided to just keep on going. It settled again today at a new all time high, at a whopping 11850.61! Some market watchers are worried that all this partying might end in a few hangovers (the market dipping again), but most analysts don't expect the market to take a tumble. GM and Nissan-Renault officially terminated all talks about a possible merger. Both companies agreed that they were too far apart on major issues. What? Oh, sorry, I was still partying on cloud nine from today's close. DJIA: +123.27 Nasdaq: +47.30 S&P 500: +16.11

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Record Tuesday

It's back to pre-bubble bursting days, as the Dow hit a record high. Large-cap stocks are leading the pack right now. While the NASDAQ has made significant gains in the last quarter, don't expect the index to hit a record any time soon. It's still only halfway to the mark. Oil dropped below $60 a barrel, fueling the stock market. Consumer spending is strong, despite a cooling off in the real estate market, and this seems to be the driving force on Wall Street. Expect good numbers for the Christmas retail season, if this continues. Dow +56.99 NASDAQ +6.05 S&P 500 +2.79

Monday, October 02, 2006

Slow Start

It was a slow start on Wall Street. Manufacturing numbers are down, causing all indexes to slip. Despite this report, new construction is holding well. Harrah's hit the jackpot today, announcing they will go private. A private equity firm made them an offer they couldn't refuse. With the high cost of Sarbanes-Oxley and the specter of jail time for wayward CEOs, this seems to be a good move. Techs took it on the chin today, dropping almost 1%. It's either feast or famine with this index. Dow -8.72 NASDAQ -20.83 S&P 500 -4.52