Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Break?

The Dow took a break, giving up a little over 5 points, while the S&P 500 added (barely). NASDAQ was the winner on the day, tacking on another 1/2%. This came despite Dell's woes. They plan to cut 10% of their workforce. Consolidation in the financial services industry continues, as Wachovia buys A.G. Edwards. Who will be next? DJIA -5.44 NASDAQ +11.93 S&P 500 +0.39

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


U.S. markets took off today, despite the rumble in China. The Chinese are concerned about an overheated stock market, so they tripled the tax on stock transactions. It didn't just slow things down. It put them in reverse. Strangely enough, our markets responded positively. Gains on all indexes were around 0.8%. The S&P 500 hit a record. The record for this broader index is a good sign. Microsoft has a new computer screen. It's a table top! I just can't keep up with these changes. DJIA +111.74 NASDAQ +20.53 S&P 500 +12.12

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

What Day Is It Anyway?

It's the first day of the work week (for most people), but the second day for me. We took our weekend from Friday till Sunday, so I came into the office yesterday, to play catch up. As we were heading back north from the beach on Sunday, we noticed the influx of tourists. Where did all the people come from? As I sat in my office on Monday and listened to the crickets, I knew the answer. Despite soaring gas prices, everyone had gone to the beach for Memorial Day. I had a hard time finding a fast food restaurant open yesterday! It's vacation time, so higher fuel prices are to be expected. It doesn't seem to be slowing anyone down, though. Oil dropped $2 per barrel today, and consumer sentiment is high. For all the price comparisons at the pump, the SUVs filled with umbrellas and boogey boards are still on the highway. One favorite destination, Florida, is looking at enacting new property insurance laws to give some relief to homeowners (or second homeowners). I guess this is just in time for hurricane season. Markets ticked up today, with the NASDAQ adding more than 1/2%. DJIA +14.06 NASDAQ +14.87 S&P 500 +2.38

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hump Day Slump

The morning started off well, but markets fizzled by the afternoon. Mr. Greenspan was flapping his jaws again! Can't he just stay on the farm and keep his mouth shut? All indexes dropped, with NASDAQ losing the most on the day. Victoria's Secret isn't selling enough lingerie these days. It's parent, Limited Brands, is way off on earnings. With all of us getting older, maybe we're losing interest in thongs and push up bras. As for me, I'm more interested in being comfortable! DJIA -14.30 NASDAQ -10.97 S&P 500 -1.84

Monday, May 21, 2007

Split Decision

It was a split day on Wall Street, with the Dow dipping about 13 points, while the NASDAQ picked up almost 1%. The S&P 500 headed into record territory. China announced plans to hand over $3 billion (that's with a B!) to a private equity group. Seems China wants higher returns than those garnered by the long-term Treasury market. Could this be the beginning of the reshaping of the yield curve? GE is selling off a portion of its business to a Saudi group. I think it must be fruitbasket turn over! DJIA -13.65 NASDAQ +20.34 S&P 500 +2.35

Friday, May 18, 2007

Good Friday

Markets took off again today. There wasn't one single event triggering the rise. Instead, there were several bits of interesting business news. First, private equity is stepping up again, offering an even better deal for Clear Channel. This looks like it will go through. High gasoline prices will make the refiners (big oil) even richer as the second quarter winds down. No surprise there! China is actually starting to get aggressive with monetary policy to address the Wild, Wild West syndrome in their economy. And Odyssey Marine has found sunken treasure in the form of gold and silver! To top it off, it's a sunny, COOL day in Mississippi. It's ALL good! DJIA +79.81 NASDAQ +19.07 S&P 500 +10.00

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Bubbling Crude

Oil rose $2 a barrel today, putting a damper on HP's good earnings news. The result? A slight downtick on all fronts. While it has been private equity driving markets lately, Fed Chief Bernanke issued cautions about these guys. It was a flat day overall, despite my hopes for techs on this day after. DJIA -10.81 NASDAQ -8.04 S&P 500 -1.39

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A Day for Techs

HP just reported good earnings numbers. It seems the PC business if finally rolling. While today was good all round for stocks, this report should be reflected in tomorrow's numbers. NASDAQ gained about 1% today. It will be interesting to see how HP's report affects trading. Housing had a good month in April. Go figure! The combination resulted in gains for all indexes. DJIA +103.69 NASDAQ +22.13 S&P 500 +12.95

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Snap Crackle Fizzle

The day started with a bang, as CPI numbers rolled in confirming that inflation was not a problem. The Dow immediately gained over 100 points but fizzled to a slighter gain by the end of the day. NASDAQ actually dropped 1%. Home Depot reported a 30% decline in their numbers. Housing remains the elephant in the room. Wal Mart managed an 8% gain, but only because they cut expenses like crazy. Private equity is still on the prowl, though, and may be just what the doctor ordered! DJIA +37.06 NASDAQ -21.15 S&P 500 -1.96

Monday, May 14, 2007

Back in the Saddle

For the past week, I've been watching the financial markets from my backyard. My daughter and her husband came home for a visit, and I've been enjoying time with them. They brought a cute little puppy named Rocky with them, and we found ourselves head over heels for this furry creature. Today is my first day back in the office, and I'm noting the merger and buyout activity. Chrysler is being bought by a private equity firm. It will be strange to see this giant turn back into a private company. The CPI report comes out tomorrow, and everyone will be on the lookout for inflation. Housing is still the question mark. The news on Chrysler caused the Dow to rise, while other indexes dropped. NASDAQ fell about 3/4%. With all this loose change running around, I'll be anxious to see who'll be bought next! DJIA +20.56 NASDAQ -15.78 S&P 500 -2.70

Thursday, May 03, 2007

GM Who?

GM reported earnings-- YUK! They fell 90%! Wow! Toyota has already taken the lead, and it's hard to imagine that GM will be able to reverse the trend. Despite this grim news, markets responded well today. Productivity numbers were in, and they increased 1.7%. The expectation is that the Fed will leave interest rates alone, for a while. The news on GM seemed to roll off the back of investors. Slight gains were noted on all indexes. There's been a glitch on all the banking buyouts. Stay tuned for further developments. DJIA +29.50 NASDAQ +7.62 S&P 500 +6.47

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

More Activity

Wall Street was abuzz again today with merger and buyout talks. Cablevision may be going private, as the founding family makes an offer. This is an IPO in reverse-- a sign that the private equity groups see value not recognized by the Street. Activity like this is a boost to all stocks. In addition, factory orders increased. In particular, orders of aircraft are up. I recognize that air travel is becoming more mundane, but it's NOT becoming any easier. Every time I have to get on an airplane, I mutter a few choice words. The Dow zoomed into the triple digit gains on the day (at one point) before settling into an increase of more than 1/2%. NASDAQ was the winner, gaining more than 1%. DJIAj +75.74 NASDAQ +26.31 S&P 500 +9.62

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

End of Day Surprise

Markets waffled around most of the day, then staged a nice rally for the close. Rupert Murdoch has put in a hefty bid for WSJ. I can't imagine this bellweather paper with Murdoch at the helm. Proctor and Gamble reported a nice bump up in earnings, while GM saw a decline (no surprises here). The combination created an end of the day rally, with the Dow tacking on about 1/2%, while other indexes added about 1/4%. DJIA +73.23 NASDAQ +6.44 S&P 500 +3.93