Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Friday, December 22, 2006

Holiday Spirit

Traders and trades were few today as everyone prepared for the holidays. The Dow actually ended slightly down at 12343.22, due to light trading. Leading the news is Toyota, as it waits to overcome GM next year as the world's largest auto-maker. It looks as if more will make it home for Christmas than expected. Travel picked back up in snowed-in places like Denver. That news combined with the drop in temperature outside has me feeling like Santa might actually come down my chimney! From our home to yours, have a wonderful holiday!

DJIA: -78.03 Nasdaq: -14.67 S&P 500: -7.54

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Where's Santa?

I heard on the radio today that Santa is coming...but it looks like we still have to be patient. It seems that way on Wall Street, too. Stocks were down for the second day in a row today, but many investors don't seem to be worried. A last-week-of-the-year boost in trading is expected by most, despite today's reports of a somewhat slowing economy. Gazprom and Shell reached a major deal today concerning the control of a massive oil project in Russia. In the U.S., Raeython announced the selling of their aircraft manufacturing unit. And, oh yeah, Santa announced he's on his way. DJIA: -42.62 Nasdaq: -11.76 S&P 500: -5.23

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


I ordered some books from Amazon today. They'll arrive on Friday... unbelievable. The world keeps spinning faster. My daughter made a trip to UPS this morning to send off her Christmas packages. She's in NYC, and we're all in the Deep South. It may be New Year's before we see these. Everywhere I go these days, I see delivery trucks and their drivers working at breakneck speed. It's not just Christmas, though. The health of the transportation business is a sign of the health of the general economy. FedEx reported nice increases in sales--Great! Earnings were not as good as expected, though. This was due to fuel costs. FedEx thinks business will continue to be good in 2007. Could this be good news for the New Year? Dow -7.45 NASDAQ -1.94 S&P 500 -2.02

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Television Tuesday

The television set(s) occupies a place of reverance in our home. My husband has been eyeing the new flat panel TVs. I know there will be a conversion to HDTV soon, but, until then, I'm ready to hang on to the old sets. Circuit City and Best Buy are getting beaten up by the television craze. Wal Mart decided to play tough this year, and it has eaten into the margins for these two electronics giants. The lower prices just may have me convinced, though. One more price cut, and I'll succumb! Dow +30.05 NASDAQ -6.02 S&P 500 +3.07

Monday, December 18, 2006

One week to shop

It's the last week before Christmas, and I'm trying to stay away from Wal Mart and the malls. Wal Mart and Target reported good sales numbers for this past weekend, as the discounters take the lead in the retail wars. The final week of shopping should be an all out race to the finish, as they try to end the year on a high note. Wall Street put on the brakes today. Maybe all the traders are out shopping! Large-caps' negative numbers were very slight, but NASDAQ pulled back 1%. Oracle reported an increase in earnings of over 20%. Their numbers met expectations, so this didn't create much buzz. Dow -4.25 NASDAQ -21.63 S&P 500 -4.61

Friday, December 15, 2006

9 Days Till Christmas!

I finished my Christmas shopping today! Now, I just have to get everything wrapped. Christmas has come to Wall Street, with the Dow hitting a new high. All markets posted positive gains. Wall Street Christmas bonuses are eye-popping. One is at $41 million! What's wrong with this picture? The Census Bureau came out with a new abstract, describing the changes in the way we live and work. These changes could mean good investment opportunities. Dow +28.76 NASDAQ +3.35 S&P 500 +1.60

Thursday, December 14, 2006

What Slowdown?

Markets leaped forward after a few tepid days. Lehman reported great earnings. Oil prices dipped, and consensus from the Fed was... no recession for 2007. It was like Christmas for Wall Street with these three gifts under the tree. Stocks added close to 1%, as the investment elves danced around in glee. But don't expect '07 to be a repeat of '06. It may not be a slowdown, but it's slow going from here on out. Dow +99.26 NASDAQ +21.44 S&P 500 +12.28

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Ho Hum and Ho Ho Ho

Markets yawned today, ending with tiny upticks. The only major business news had to do with wayward execs. Skilling, of Enron fame, has been denied further bail and will have to report for his sentence. Scrushy, of HealthSouth fame, won't get a new trial. I guess they were naughty, not nice! I'm in the throes of gift buying for tweens and teens. I'm too old for this! I don't know what's cool and what's not. I'm scanning the site,, for help. You put in the age range and the personality and look for their picks. At my age, I'm out of the loop! Dow +1.92 NASDAQ +0.81 S&P 500 +1.65

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Steady as she goes

The Fed left rates alone today. Sometimes, no news is good news. Markets actually dipped on this announcement. For large-caps, it was barely a blip, while techs took about a 1/2% hit. While Mr. Bernanke keeps talking about inflation, markets keep hoping for an interest rate decline. The yield curve has been inverted for a long time, and it will take changes on the short end (probably) to bring it back in line. Dow -12.90 NASDAQ -11.26 S&P 500 -1.48

Monday, December 11, 2006

Monday uptick

Markets saw a small uptick. Tomorrow is the Federal Reserve meeting, but don't expect any major announcements. It will probably be status quo, and markets seem to be reflecting that mood. The closer we get to the holidays, the lower the volumes should be. Most year-end selling has taken place, although some investors will wait till the bitter end. While realtors are optimistic about 2007 sales, home sales will still be "iffy" until inventories settle down and the direction of interest rates are determined. Dow +20.99 NASDAQ +5.50 S&P 500 +3.20

Friday, December 08, 2006

A Two-Fer

The jobs report came out today, and it was good. The economy is still in fairly high gear, in terms of job creation. That's good news for further growth. Also, the report on wages came out, and it was not good news for workers. Wages have not grown very much, but that is a sign to Wall Street that labor prices may remain in check. Another bit of good news for stocks. The response to the reports was mixed. NASDAQ added almost 1/2%, while large-caps yawned. Dow +29.08 NASDAQ +9.67 S&P 500 +2.55

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Jobs Jobs Jobs

Markets were schizophrenic today, first jumping ahead, then backing up at closing. Tomorrow will bring the jobs report and will give Wall Street more information on the state of the economy. We already know that certain sectors, like auto and housing, have lost jobs. Other sectors appear to be taking up much of the slack. The pain of globalization is being felt on the front lines, as service jobs continue to overtake manufacturing. NASDAQ was the hardest hit today. Dow -30.84 NASDAQ -18.17 S&P 500 -5.61

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Never Satisfied

Markets are never satisfied! Yesterday was a bell ringer day. Today, the employment report was quite rosy, and, suddenly, the good news turned questionable. With tightening labor markets, investors again became concerned about inflation. It's never about what happened today but about what COULD happen tomorrow. We seesaw back and forth between a slowing economy and an overheated one. It's the nature of stock investing. The losses reported today were minimal. Dow -24.75 NASDAQ -6.52 S&P 500 -1.86

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Addicted to Coke

A report showing a higher-than-expected report for the services sector of the economy (almost 70%) gave investors a much needed boost. Trading was up and confidence grew. Leading the pack was Coca-Cola (my personal addiction), gaining 2.5%. Pfizer is still taking a beating after pulling its "good cholesterol" drug, but its competitor, Merck, jumped 1.5%. The Dow ended just shy of a new closing record, and that makes me feel warm on this very cold day. Others leading the pack are...Bono?!? Time Magazine has announced their "Persons of the Year." Among the top are U2's Bono and the Gates (Bill and Melinda - not Robert). DJIA: +47.75 Nasdaq: +3.99 S&P 500: +5.64

Monday, December 04, 2006

Bank Surge

Bank of New York announced a plan to merge with Mellon Financial in a deal that will create a financial giant with a market value near $50 billion. Several other financial stocks did very well today as a result of the announcement. Not only were Bank of New York and Mellon Financial up, but Citigroup, American Express, and J.P. Morgan Chase all gained more than 1%. Now that's a day to bank on! DJIA: +89.72 Nasdaq: +35.18 S&P 500: +12.41

Friday, December 01, 2006

Waiting Till the Last Minute

Traders were cautious today as reports showed the economy might slow, and trading was down. However, there was a very strong rally in the last hour, with the Dow pulling back up 100 points. My toy store, Home Depot, led the way. The home-improvement giant climbed 2.8% after a leaked report claimed a possible buyout. I'm keeping my ears to the ground on this one... Speaking of my ears, they almost froze today. After having beautiful September-like weather all week, today was a cold shock to my body. And I'm not the only one. Flights were canceled and traffic froze all through the midwest during this snowstorm. I'm just glad I have enough hot chocolate to last the weekend! DJIA: -27.80 Nasdaq: -18.56 S&P 500: -3.92