Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Real Estate Again...

Earlier this week, the report on existing homes was released, and it showed ever-falling prices. Today, the news was about brand new homes, and the news was even more bleak. Prices on real estate continue to fall, as the supply/demand curve searches for equilibrium. Just down the street from my house, two new subdivisions are being built. Trucks are lined on the streets, with workers steadily building more homes. Did these guys NOT get the memo? The message for builders is "stop." Allow the market to catch up. But I don't think these guys know how to do anything else. Despite the news on housing, Wall Street was all green today. DJIA +34.79 NASDAQ +10.56 S&P 500 +5.96

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Stocks approach recent highs

Renewed investor optimism put the major indexes within striking distance of historic highs Wednesday. Thanks largely to a Federal Reserve interest-rate cut, the major market indexes have nearly recovered all of the ground they lost during the last few weeks, which was mainly due to the credit-market woes. Crude-oil prices went up 77 cents today to $80.30 a barrel, halting a three-day losing streak. DJIA +99.50 Nasdaq +15.58 S&P 500 +8.21

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

More About Real Estate...

More grim news in the real estate market. Sales of existing homes have fallen, yet, again. I could have told them THAT. Our house has been on the market for a couple of months, and, boy, is it slow. I've been faithfully watching HGTV's "Sell My House," looking for tips that will bring in a buyer. I don't think any amount of staging or fixing up will do the trick in this market. Things just need to settle down. I've actually been considering burying one of those statues in my yard. New homes are taking more of a hit, though, and the homebuilders are crying the blues. Markets actually tipped up today. DJIA +19.59 NASDAQ +15.50 S&P 500 -0.52

Monday, September 24, 2007

Battle of the Tech Titans

Google bought My Space. Now, Microsoft is nosing around Facebook. They want to buy a small piece, and the price they're offering puts the social networking site's value at around $10 billion. The baby-faced owner of the site thinks he'll hold out for a $15 billion price. I say, hey, what's a few billion here or there? Ah, these kids! Who would have thought a virtual kids' playground would turn so lucrative? GM's woes with the union is weighing on markets. All indexes were down for the day. DJIA -61.13 NASDAQ -3.27 S&P 500 -8.02

Friday, September 21, 2007

Tech companies

Stocks advanced Friday, with upbeat results from Oracle helping investors shrug off inflation fears and look ahead to the end of the quarter. Oracle shares rose 4.4% a day after the business-software maker beat its own forecast by posting a 25% jump in first-quarter earnings and a 26% climb in revenue from a year ago. Texas Instruments shares also rose today, 2.4%. Crude-oil futures fell 16 cents to $81.62 a barrel. Hopefully they will continue to fall but I don't think they will. It was a great Friday in the markets. Have a safe weekend! DJIA +53.49 Nasdaq +16.93 S&P 500 +7.00

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Settling In

The Fed's surprise half-point decrease has settled into the market. After 2 excellent days, all indices ended the day in the red. The loss was minor, though. The market is still digesting this action, and economists are looking at effects on the dollar. A couple of big winners today... Oracle reported a 25% increase in its net, and Goldman Sach's earnings were up an amazing 79%. Rate decreases aside, it's company earnings that really determine the direction of the market. DJIA -48.86 NASDAQ -12.19 S&P 500 -10.28

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Gains continue

The market continued its rally from yesterday right into Wednesday. The Fed move "pushed some cash off the sidelines into the game, and that's good," said Michael Murphy, president of Piney Run Partners. Many investors are not sure that this will get the real estate market moving. Morgan Stanley posted a 17% drop in fiscal third-quarter net income, as a $940 million writedown on leveraged loans hurt its bottom line. Crude oil rose 42 cents, as it pushes higher and higher, I'm not sure it will slow down anytime soon. DJIA +76.17 Nasdaq +14.82 S&P 500 +9.25

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fed cuts 1/2 point.

Stocks marked their biggest gains of the year after a surprisingly large interest-rate cut by the Federal Reserve. Each of the major indexes gained over 2.5%, with the S&P 500 leading at 2.92%. The half point cut exceeded the expectations of most market watchers, who generally expected a quarter-point cut and stocks jumped immediately on the news. Wall Street likes rate cuts because they make borrowing cheaper, but the cuts can also stoke inflation. Oil prices climbed to settle up 94 cents at $81.51, their second consecutive record close. Tuesday definately lived up to the hype. DJIA +335.97 Nasdaq +70.00 S&P 500 +43.13

Monday, September 17, 2007

Fed Week Monday

It's the day before the Federal Reserve meeting, and Wall Street is holding its breath. Everyone is expecting a decrease of 0.25% but hoping for more. It seems the pundits are now spending all their time predicting the reaction to the announcement. By mid-afternoon, we will know for sure. E-trade got in a little over their heads on the subprime mess. They have issued a warning. Suitors have been circling, and this will be like sharks with blood in the water. Expect an offer for the discount broker. Microsoft's anti-trust verdict was upheld in the European courts. No real surprise there. I wonder if anti-American sentiment played any role in this. Markets were down across the board, with the NASDAQ falling almost 1%. DJIA -39.10 NASDAQ -20.52 S&P 500 -7.60

Friday, September 14, 2007

Calm before the storm

Markets were calm Friday afternoon, but it might be just a short reprieve before a predicted surge of activity next week. There just wasn't much trading going on Friday, with investors keeping their eyes focused on the Tuesday Fed meeting. "Next week will be a defining moment for the markets in the near term," said Michael Murphy, president of Piney Run Partners. Crude-oil futures actually went down today, falling 99 cents to $79.10 a barrel. Overall Friday was a good ending to a pretty good week. Have a safe weekend! DJIA +17.64 Nasdaq +1.12 S&P 500 +0.30

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Could It Be?

The credit markets seem to be settling down... at least today. Countrywide took a nice bounce, and calm seemed to come to this area. As a result, the Dow posted a 1% rise. NASDAQ gained, but not nearly as much, and the broader S&P experienced a nice jump. We're not speaking about this too loudly, though, since uncertainty still lurks. The only notable trend on markets has been volatility, so today's gain may disappear tomorrow. For now, we are basking in the glow! Oil topped $80, so this commodity may now take center stage. DJIA +133.23 NASDAQ +8.99 S&P 500 +12.39

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Stocks stay steady

There was not much change in the major indexes Wednesday. The market will continue "to be driven by rates and headline news coming out of the subprime sector" over the next week, said Jim Herrick, head trader at Robert W. Baird. Crude-oil futures ended trading up $1.68 at a record settlement price of $79.91. Energy stocks, and those affected by oil prices, were big movers on the day. ConocoPhillips gained 1.6%, while Tesoro Petroleum was up 2%. DJIA -16.74 Nasdaq -5.40 S&P 500 +0.07

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Oil record

The three major indexes were all up more than 1% on Tuesday, with the Nasdaq making the best surge. Ericsson rose 5.5% after it reported a growing market share and McDonald's gained 3.2% after the fast-food giant said its same-store sales rose 8.1% in August. Crude-oil futures were up 74 cents to settle at a record $78.23, despite the fact that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries(OPEC) agreed to boost its output by 500,000 barrels a day starting Nov. 1. The anticipation continues to build for the Fed's Sept. 18 meeting and I am quite anxious myself. DJIA +180.54 Nasdaq +38.36 S&P 500 +19.79

Monday, September 10, 2007

Indexes split

The Dow had a slight gain today, while the Nasdaq and S&P 500 had a slight loss. Countrywide Financial shares fell 5.3% after the mortgage lender said Friday that it may cut its work force by up to 12,000 jobs. Apple announced that they sold there one-millionth iPhone which gave there stock a small boost. Monday didnt show much movement in any sector as most investors wait to see what the Fed's decision will be on Sept. 18. DJIA +14.47 Nasdaq -6.59 S&P 500 -1.85

Friday, September 07, 2007

Employment decline

The stock market took a fall Friday mainly due to August data showing the first employment decline in four years. This is only heightening investors' fears that the credit crunch has developed into something more serious. Some are beginning to talk seriously about a recession but many think it is overreaction. "I think we'll look at today as an overreaction," said Art Hogan, of Jefferies & Co., who thinks we will see buying opportunities next week. Everyone is still waiting to see what the Fed will do and I am quite interested myself. I know one thing. . . I'm glad it is Friday. Have a great weekend! DJIA -249.97 Nasdaq -48.62 S&P 500 -25.00

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Back to school profits

Back to school retailers got the markets off on the right foot this morning. Led by Wal-Mart, whose August same-store sales smashed expectations. Shares gained 1%. Target also reported better-than-expected sales growth, and its shares rose 2.1%. At one point today, crude-oil futures were about $77 a barrel, but closed as $76.30. Apple decided to cut the price of their iphone by $200, in hopes of increasing sales. I think I will give it a closer look now. DJIA +57.88 Nasdaq +8.37 S&P 500 +6.26

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Life after Labor Day

The Nasdaq gained 1.30% Tuesday, as the 3 major indexes closed with a gain. The tech sector was led by Apple, which gained 4.1%, while energy companies also rallied as oil futures climbed. Exxon Mobil advanced 1.8%, Conoco Phillips gained 1.9%, and Chevron added 1.1%. All in all I would call it a slow and steady day. . . I'll take it. DJIA +91.12 Nasdaq +33.88 S&P 500 +15.43