Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Little Breather

China settled down during the night, picking up half of what it lost the day before. Other markets weren't quite as lucky, though. As for the U.S. market, we gained back about 1/3 to 1/2%. While Wall Street relaxed a little, a revision of the GDP kept traders wary. Bernanke spoke to Congress and tried to paint a brighter picture, but I guess Mr. Greenspan's words still carry more weight. At least, we're over the hump. Let's hope the rest of the week brings better news. DJIA +52.39 NASDAQ +8.27 S&P 500 +7.78

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Not a Pretty Day!

All the bad news converged on investors today, and the result was not pretty. Fifteen minutes into the trading session, the Dow had dropped over 100 points. Before it was over, the Dow fell as much as 500 points to end down at close 415 points. The percentage drop was about 3.5% for large caps and about 3.9% for NASDAQ. What was happening? Well, add Mr. Greenspan's remarks yesterday about a possible recession to news that the Chinese government may intervene in the roiling Chinese stock market to a poor durable goods order to an attempt on the VP's life to... Well, you get the picture. No one thing stood out, just a collection of "concerns." They've already coined a term for the event... mid-cycle correction. By mid-afternoon, bargain shoppers were coming into the market. We'll have to see how the rest of the week plays out to determine the overall effect. Stay tuned. DJIA -415.86 NASDAQ -96.65 S&P 500 -50.28

Monday, February 26, 2007

Who Asked Him!?!

I thought Alan Greenspan was a has-been, but his words still hold water. In a speech today, he expressed concern about the deficit and dared to utter the "r" word-- recession! Wall Street is still listening and pulled back. I'm thinking he should just keep quiet! The Gap tried to expand its brand with Forth and Towne, a retail division appealing to older women. As an "older woman," I'm afraid they missed. I've never even heard of the store. They are giving up on the older set and going back to the tried and true teen group. It seems The Gap has lost its appeal and is struggling to keep pace in a changing world. Speaking of changing, school days may be getting longer, as US schools try to keep up with the competition overseas. Where were these long days when my angel was in grade school? NASDAQ was the big loser today, giving up about 1/2%. DJIA -15.06 NASDAQ -10.58 S&P 500 -1.82

Friday, February 23, 2007

Hope You're Full

Oil prices closed higher today, with crude oil climbing 19 cents. I'm glad I filled my car earlier this week. Microsoft was no help to the market's close. After a patent hearing for the software giant, its shares fell 1.5%. Starbucks Chairman said the company may be more vulnerable to other coffee and fast-food brands due to commoditizing. In ten years, Starbucks went from less than 1,000 stores to more than 13,000. Now Mr. Shultz is worried that the experience might be watered-down for some. Not me. My Friday Starbucks is usually the highlight of my week! Have a good weekend! DJIA: -32.77 Nasdaq: -6.73 S&P 500: -4.33

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Big Three Thursday

The big three may now be the big two among U.S. automakers. The dealmakers are swirling around, as Chrysler appears to be on the block. Chrysler's CEO sent an e-mail to employees, indicating a possible sale. Who's interested? GM for one. Foreign carmakers may want the U.S. firm to gain a bigger presence in this market. All that work for nothing, Lee Iacocca! The Dow and S&P responded negatively to this news, but NASDAQ added another 1/4% on the day. DJIA -52.39 NASDAQ +6.52 S&P 500 -1.25

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Mid Week Blahs

HP's news helped NASDAQ keep its head above water, with about a 1/4% gain. Large-caps dipped slightly, as comments from the Fed left investors with questions about the direction of interest rates. Oil bumped over $60 per barrel, causing concerns about possible inflation. This seems to be a plateau week, as stocks stick within narrow trading ranges. The only big business news involves YouTube. Google's recent purchase may leave them with buyer's remorse. While the site is still wildly popular, it's profitability prospects become more and more questionable. DJIA -48.23 NASDAQ +5.38 S&P 500 -2.05

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Smoking Guns

Altria/Philip Morris got good news today from the courts. Punitive damages in a tobacco case were overturned. Big corporations breathed a sigh of relief, but smokers probably found the news unsettling. HP reported good news after the bell. This should help NASDAQ's run continue. Techs showed gains in the 3/4% range today, while the large cap indexes looked puny. DJIA +19.07 NASDAQ +16.73 S&P 500 +4.14

Monday, February 19, 2007

Hail to the Chief!

Wall Street is dark today. It's Presidents' Day.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Fine Flat Friday

Investors took a break today, after a week-long scurry and several new records for the Dow. The Dow still ended slightly higher than before, but tech stocks were hurt by Microsoft, putting the Nasdaq down a sliver of a point. Gasoline prices ended a bit higher, as we are "batting down the hatches" in preparation for more violence in Nigeria. And Micheal Dell is doing some preparation of his own; he's just hired Motorola's Ron Garriques to build his management team. Bundle up this weekend and make it a safe one! DJIA: +2.56 Nasdaq: -0.79 S&P 500: -1.27

Thursday, February 15, 2007

More Chocolate, Please

The Dow closed up again, setting a record high for the second day in a row. I'd say Mr. Bernanke's testimony is hitting its mark. Hershey is planning to cut 1,500 jobs in the next three years, partially due to last month's low earnings report. I'm shocked, especially since my personal contribution to Hershey's chocolate has increased lately. Oil prices dropped one cent today, and Caterpillar announced a new stock-buyback plan. DJIA: +23.15 Nasdaq: +8.72 S&P 500: +1.51

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Two for Two!

I was complaining yesterday about how the market wasn't matching the moods of the weather. Today, its two for two! Its beautiful outside (though a bit bone-chilling) and green on the market. Bernanke seems comfortable with interest rates right now, which encouraged the Dow to another new record closing. My favorite news announcement of the day? Sudoku is being tested for iPods! I can't pronounce it, but I love solving it! (Here's one for you!) DJIA: +87.01 Nasdaq: +28.50 S&P 500: +11.04

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Umbrellas in the Forecast

It got dark in a matter of minutes at our office today. The forecast said rain and cold...and it is. I couldn't believe it when I woke up to such a beautiful morning, but now I wish I had brought my umbrella. Speaking of umbrellas... Citigroup is selling its umbrella trademark to St. Paul Travelers in an effort to unify its brands. Thank goodness the market doesn't reflect the weather; today, its quite the opposite. All three of the indexes broke their three-day falling streak with significant gains. There are rumors of a stock buyback for 3M, and GM was upgraded by analysts. Guess we get a little bit of sunshine after all. DJIA: +102.30 Nasdaq: +9.50 S&P 500: +10.89

Monday, February 12, 2007

Monday Blues

Investors had the blues today - but I can't figure out why. Oil prices were down more than $2, and fourth quarter earnings are predicted to be up for the the 14th straight quarter. Maybe its the hawkish interest-rate comments of the Fed, or maybe its caution ahead of retail-sales numbers being released later this week. Home Depot is looking at a possible sale of their wholesale division, and Boeing is stepping up with improved aircraft, in the hopes of gaining an Air Force contract. DJIA: -28.28 Nasdaq: -9.44 S&P 500: -4.69

Friday, February 09, 2007

Friday Dip

Markets pulled back on this final trading day of the week. NASDAQ gave up more than 1%, but they had made significant gains prior to today. Techs and volatility go hand in hand. Oil slipped over $60 a barrel, but the news on the auto industry was good. GM's stock managed to post gains on a down day. As far as the U.S. auto industry is concerned, they seem to be beating the odds right now. Maybe, having Toyota on their heels is a good thing! DJIA -56.80 NASDAQ -28.85 S&P 500 -10.25

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Markets are feeling the way I feel today... puny. After a night of wheezing, I headed to the doctor this morning for a diagnosis and a prescription. I'm not dying. It just feels like it! Like many baby boomers, I'm concerned about the cost of health care. The older I get, the more time I spend at the doctor and the more pills I consume each day. Boomers have many questions... about health issues, money issues, life and death issues. Aging is not for the faint of heart! All indexes posted slight dips today. The big news? Toll Brothers (the big residential building company) saw a sales dip. Ah, back to real estate. DJIA -29.24 NASDAQ -1.83 S&P 500 -1.71

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A Day For Techs

Yesterday, Cisco reported great earnings after the bell. You heard it hear first. I THOUGHT today would be good for technology, and the numbers posted by NASDAQ bear me out. While the large-caps exhibited slight blips, the tech-laden index gained almost 1%. Can the run hold? DJIA +0.56 NASDAQ +19.01 S&P 500 +2.02

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Say it ain't so! All those years ago, my mother was right. She wouldn't let me have an Easy Bake Oven because she claimed I'd burn myself. Now, Hasbro is recalling the ovens because children could get their fingers caught in the door, leading to burning. I've been carrying this scar with me for 35 years! I told my daughter my tale of woe of "no Easy Bake Oven for you." I hope my mother doesn't catch this news. I'll never hear the end of it! Markets were flat today. Cisco reported a 40% increase in earnings after close, so NASDAQ should have a good Wednesday. Toyota is making further gains on GM. It can't be long now! DJIA +4.57 NASDAQ +0.89 S&P 500 +1.01

Monday, February 05, 2007

Super Bowl Slows

The market did not move much today. Despite a good same-store-sales report from Wal-Mart and gains for HP and IBM, traders were a bit lazy for most of the day. Some attribute the lack of activity to Super Bowl "doldrums." Look for a much more active market later this week. And while we're still starry-eyed from last night's Colts victory, sportscasters have some things of their own to say about one of Mississippi's own. I don't know about you, but it makes me proud to call Mississippi home. DJIA: +8.25 Nasdaq: -5.28 S&P 500: -1.40

Thursday, February 01, 2007

CFA Forecast Dinner/Crystal Ball Gazing

Tonight is our annual CFA Forecast Dinner. It's a sold-out event at Jackson Country Club. We bring in a panel of economists/analysts to predict markets for the coming year. This year, the group steps onto the stage as markets are roaring. It will be interesting to hear their predictions for the full year. It was an odd day. The big 3 automakers released sales figures. Chrysler eked out a gain, while Ford and GM saw another dramatic drop. This was accompanied by an announcement of record profits from Exxon! I think the folks in Detroit need to take notice. All indexes saw good gains on the day. DJIA +51.89 NASDAQ +4.45 S&P 500 +7.70