Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Monday, December 31, 2007

Last day of 2007

Markets wound down at the end of 2007, but stocks closed the year safely in the black despite the months of credit-market strife. In a session characterized by thin volume, stocks weakened as investors who had waited until the last possible minute for a year-end bounce swallowed their losses for tax purposes, according to Fred Dickson, chief market analyst at D.A. Davidson. For the year the Dow rose 6.4%, Nasdaq 9.8%, and S&P 500 3.5%. Investors are hoping that the new year, which won't kick-off until Wednesday on the stock market, will bring solid gains. Have a fun and SAFE new year's holiday. DJIA -101.05 Nasdaq -22.18 S&P 500 -10.13

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Ms. Bhutto

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was killed today in a suicide attack in the military garrison town of Rawalpindi, plungin Pakistan into fresh turmoil. Stocks suffered a loss on Thursday, but not nearly to magnitude that Pakistan did. How will Ms. Bhutto's death affect us? "Regional destabilization will drive oil prices up, which will further weigh on the Federal Reserve's ability to cut rates," said Marc Pado, U.S. market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald. The event already took it's toll on our market today and it may not be done. DJIA -192.08 Nasdaq -47.62 S&P 500 -21.39

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The day after Christmas

All 3 indexes finished slightly in the positive Wednesday, and as expected, trading was quite light. The nasdaq made the largest gain, led by a 2% increase in Amazon. Major retailers declined in trading, including Target, down 2.5%, and Wal-Mart Stores, off 0.7%, and J.C. Penney, down 3.1%. Crude-oil futures rallied, rising $1.83 to $95.96 a barrel. DJIA +2.36 Nasdaq +10.91 S&P 500 +1.21

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Christmas Present

Markets gave us a nice gift today. All indexes were up considerably. Earlier in the week, Morgan Stanley got a big infusion of cash from China to help with their subprime problems. Today, Merrill Lynch announced they will get a bundle from Singapore. The cash was welcome, but it's strange that these bailouts are coming from across the globe. The Christmas green was a welcome sight for all! DJIA +205.01 NASDAQ +51.13 S&P 500 +24.35

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Nasdaq leads the way

The tech heavy Nasdaq Composite Index outpaced other major benchmarks Thursday, by rising 39.85, or 1.5%, to 2640.86. Elsewhere, some major non-tech earnings reports got a mixed reception. Bear Stearns posted the first quarterly loss in its 84-year history on a massive $1.9 billion write-down related to on subprime mortgages. Investor's attention seemed to be elsewhere, with the holidays quickly approaching. DJIA +38.37 Nasdaq +39.85 S&P 500 +7.12

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Different Kind of Fed Action

The Federal Reserve didn't do anything to interest rates today, but they still managed to grab the headlines. Finally, they are stepping in to address some of the mortgage practices that got us into this mess. The rules they are imposing won't do much for current borrowers but should help consumers down the road. One interesting rule change... they've put a cap on mortgage brokers' commissions! Goldman Sachs reported stellar earnings but warned about future quarters. Markets gained about 1/2% on the tepid news. DJIA +65.27 NASDAQ +21.57 S&P 500 +9.08

Monday, December 17, 2007

Late selloff drops indexes

All 3 major indexes spent the morning in the negative, but an afternoon full of selling caused a larger loss. The Nasdaq Composite posted the largest loss, falling 2.32%, putting stocks right back where they were in the last week of November. Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan voiced his warning Sunday, on a televised interview, of possible stagflation(a combination of high inflation and weak economy). His input does not carry the weight it used to with investors but it still makes an impact. DJIA -172.65 Nasdaq -61.28 S&P 500 -22.05

Friday, December 14, 2007

Inflation Concerns

The Fed is always trying to walk the fine line between giving the economy room to grow and keeping inflation in check. CPI numbers confirm the appearance of inflation. Wall Street ran for cover upon this news. Inflation erodes real earnings and can dampen consumer spending. Of course, the biggest price problem in the mix is the price of gasoline. All indexes dropped over 1% for the day. Merry Christmas?? DJIA -178.11 NASDAQ -32.75 S&P 500 -20.46

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Late rally

Stocks spent most of the day in the negative Thursday, but made a late push to end right around even. The moves were due to an unexpectedly strong retail-sales report that coincided with the biggest jump in wholesale prices in more than 34 years. Fannie Mae surged 8.2% in afternoon trading to 34.76, while its cousion, Freddie Mac, gained 7.6% to 32.46. Dow component Honeywell International Inc. was the strongest performer of the blue-chip index, after the company increased its earnings guidance for 2008 and reconfirmed its earlier guidance for 2007. Shares rose 5.3%. DJIA +44.06 Nasdaq -2.65 S&P 500 +1.82

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Lump of Coal

The Fed lowered rates today, as expected, but the reduction was not as much as Wall Street hoped. The response was like the kid who finds a lump of coal in his stocking. The rate was dropped by 1/4 point to 4.25%. The anticipation had been building for 1/2 point. When the announcement came, stocks dropped dramatically. There's nothing like a lump of coal to dampen the holiday spirit. The Fed indicated they might lower rates further, but the disappointment was just too great. DJIA -294.26 NASDAQ -66.60 S&P 500 -38.31

Monday, December 10, 2007

Stocks rallied early Monday morning and held throughout the day. Investors seem to agree that there will be a rate cut tomorrow but the question seems to be how much of a cut it will be. UBS surprised investors Monday by announcing a further $10 billion in write-downs, which will lead to a fourth-quarter loss and could wipe out all its profits for the year. Crude-oil futures dropped 42 cents, down to $87.86 a barrel. With the Fed meeting and a possible rate cut, Tuesday should be quite interesting. DJIA +101.45 Nasdaq +12.79 S&P 500 +11.30

Friday, December 07, 2007

Very quiet Friday

The markets were split Friday, but none of them ventured far from where they started. The Eployment report showed a modest gain in new jobs but investor's quickly turned their attention back to the Federal Reserve meeting next week. Overall it really looked like everyone took the day off. Next week should prove to be quite busy as all eyes hold steady on the potential rate cut. Have a fun and safe weekend! DJIA +5.69 Nasdaq -2.87 S&P 500 -2.68

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

It's All Good

Bush is preparing to reveal a plan to help mortgage holders in danger of losing their homes. Oil prices declined. AIG is getting their hands around their own subprime issues, and Microsoft is on a roll. In addition, there is talk of another Fed rate decrease. It was all good today, and markets gained more than 1 1/2 percent. At this rate, we'll be back to early October in no time! DJIA +196.23 NASDAQ +46.53 S&P 500 +22.22

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Another cut in sight?

All 3 major indexes finished in the red for a second straight day as the credit crunch seemed to be the main topic on Wall Street again. Investment giants took a hit today and it quickly rippled into other financials. Policy makers have lately hinted that rate cuts are a strong possibility but we will have to wait and see. On a better note, crude-oil futures fell 99 cents to settle at $88.32 a barrel. DJIA -65.84 Nasdaq -17.30 S&P 500 -9.63

Monday, December 03, 2007

Small loss

Stocks took a small drop Monday, weighed down by the financial and auto sectors. A financial selloff began around midday, fueled by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson saying the Treasury Department is "aggressively pursuing a comprehensive plan" to stem foreclosures. General Motors Corp. posted an 11% drop in U.S. November sales and also triggered investors to sell. Crude-oil futures gained 60 cents to settle at $89.31 a barrel. Gold futures stopped a four-day losing streak and gained $6.1 to $788.30 an ounce. DJIA -57.15 Nasdaq -23.83 S&P 500 -8.72