Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Monday, March 31, 2008

End of a Tough Quarter

It was the last day of the quarter. It's been a tough one, as investors endured continuing difficulties in the credit market. Treasury Secretary Paulson gave a speech outlining a complete overhaul of the regulations. Of course, it all has to get through Congress and a Presidential election. Don't hold your breath on this one! No doubt that changes need to occur. I just don't expect this to happen soon. Overall decline for the first quarter of 2008? 7.8% DJIA +46.49 NASDAQ +17.92 S&P 500 +7.48

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Still Sliding

Markets dipped again today, with financials leading the way down. Uncertainty still lurks, as Bear Sterns and other big Wall Street firms struggle. Oracle indicated a drop in sales, as business tightens its belt. Clear Channel is trying to keep their deal alive. All indexes fell, with NASDAQ taking the biggest hit. DJIA -120.40 NASDAQ -43.53 S&P 500 -15.37

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

How high will gas go?

Stocks suffered a daylong slump Wednesday amid signs that three key things aren't happening in the U.S. economy: consumers aren't buying new homes, businesses aren't buying equipment, and refiners aren't turning crude oil into fuel. In the long run, the prices of the two commodities will have to fall into something that more closely resembles lockstep, with either crude falling dramatically or gasoline rising sharply. Commodity traders are increasingly betting on the latter, a potentially worrisome sign for the broader economy. Some analysts believe we could see gas at $4 a gallon by this summer. . . ugh. DJIA -109.74 Nasdaq -16.69 S&P 500 -11.86

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Stepping off the rollercoaster

The stock market's relatively calm tone Tuesday was a peaceful break from the recent rollercoaster we have been on. Major stock indexes ended mixed, while the dollar fell and commodity prices jumped. So why the more tranquil mood today? It seems to me that investors are stuck between thinking we have seen the worse and wondering if another fallout is right around the corner. But analysts said financial markets are continuing to wrestle with the implications of several recent moves by the Fed aimed at establishing a framework for more stable credit trading and a rebound in economic growth. DJIA -16.04 Nasdaq +14.30 S&P 500 +3.11

Monday, March 24, 2008

J.P. Morgan increases bid

J.P. Morgan Chase quintupled its original bid for Bear Stearns, agreeing to pay $10 a share instead of $2. A jump in the large financials along with surprisingly strong home-sales data helped fuel Monday's rally. The tech heavy Nasdaq Composite Index was up 3% but is still down 12% on the year. Despite Monday's impressive gains investors are staying cautious "Who knows if there's going to be another Bear Stearns out there?" said Art Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co. DJIA +187.32 Nasdaq +68.64 S&P 500 +20.37

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Financials bounce right back

Talk about up and down. The financial sector has been all over the place this week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 261.66 points higher, up 2.2%, at 12361.32, led by jumps of more than 8% in its components Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Bank Of America. The availability of liquidity, or a critical mass of buyers and sellers needed to guarantee the smooth functioning of markets, has worried traders and analysts for weeks. Hope has spread this week that the situation my be improving, but the fear of a few nasty surprises is still lingering. DJIA +261.66 Nasdaq +48.15 S&P 500 +31.09

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Did Tuesday's rally hold?

Unfortunately not. The Dow dropped 293 points, taking back over half of what yesterday's rally brought. Investor's peace of mind, that came with Tuesday's gain, was quickly pushed aside as nervousness over the credit crisis came right back to the forefront. There is just a lack of conviction that the broader economic picture is improving. Commodity-related stocks fell, led by gold dropping $58.50, ending a six day winning streak. DJIA -293.00 Nasdaq -58.30 S&P 500 -17.80

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Financial give indexes a hefty boost

The financial sector helped provide a very strong (and much needed) rally Tuesday. The day got off to a good start with two investment-banking giants reporting positive earning results and was lifted in the afternoon by the Feds 75 basis point cut of the key lending rate. Investors gained a little peace of mind when Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers released earning results that didnt have any bad surprises. While analysts were once again split on their opinions regarding the Fed's move. Some think it is necessary to help bring stabalization, while others believe it will only spur higher inflation. DJIA +420.41 Nasdaq +91.25 S&P 500 +54.14

Monday, March 17, 2008

Bear Stearns sells for $2 a share

Bear Stearns stole the spotlight Monday, when they were sold to J.P. Morgan for $2 a share. Many investors thought this deal was coming but at a much higher valuation. On a higher note, big name companies made a comeback as investors seem to be looking for shelter in relatively safe household name companies. The Fed cut its discount rate Sunday, 25 basis points, to leave it at 3.25%. Though usually smiled upon, the cut came with mixed feelings as some traders worry that the Fed is trying to do too much. DJIA +21.16 Nasdaq -35.48 S&P 500 -11.54

Friday, March 14, 2008

Lions and Tigers and Bears!

It was another day of revelations in the credit market. Bear Stearns couldn't entice investors, and the result was a cash crunch. J.P. Morgan and the Fed stepped in to save the day for Bear, but it pointed out the still shaky conditions in the credit market. The earlier gains of the week were knocked down a bit, as investors ran for the exits. One WSJ columnist is saying this is the bottom and is recommending investors start snapping up large-cap stocks. Is it bargain time or still time to be cautious? DJIA -194.65 NASDAQ -51.12 S&P 500 -27.34

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Holding UP

A grim retail report came out today indicating falling sales for February. Markets dropped dramatically at the open in response. Throughout the day, though, things settled out, and all indexes managed to show green. The drumbeat is growing louder for recession, and I'm trying to figure out if this is just all noise at this point. The sun is shining. The weather is warm. And pocketbooks seem to be getting looser around here. We'll have to see what March's numbers look like! DJIA +35.50 NASDAQ +19.74 S&P 500 +6.71

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Quieter Day

Yesterday, the Fed stepped in to offer additional liquidity. The result was an addition of more than 3% on all indexes. While this makes for a Super Tuesday on Wall Street, it still doesn't erase this year's declines. Uncertainty is still in the picture. Despite this, I am seeing shoppers on the car lots and in the open houses. Is this just the warm weather luring people out, or are we seeing some life in this economy? Today, markets gave back a little of yesterday's gain. DJIA -46.57 NASDAQ -11.89 S&P 500 -11.88

Friday, March 07, 2008

A Cold Blast

It's March in Mississippi, and I sit here on Friday afternoon waiting for the snow to start falling. Yes, SNOW! Just when we thought Spring was in the bag, Old Man Winter reappeared. Wall Street has been a little chilly these days. The jobs report showed additional shrinkage. The dreaded "R" word is being uttered aloud. Investors are certainly feeling the chill. Large-caps dropped the most on the day. DJIA -146.70 NASDAQ -8.01 S&P 500 -10.97

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Credit Markets Again

Problems in the credit markets hit stocks again today, as some of the big bond houses experienced margin calls. Bank stocks dropped significantly on the news, as investors weighed this additional uncertainty. Stocks dropped 2% or more today. Wall Street could use a few quiet days! DJIA -214.60 NASDAQ -52.31 S&P 500 -29.36

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Game On

Well, this political campaign just keeps getting more interesting. Next week, we vote in Mississippi. This year, our votes will actually mean something! For the first time in my life, I'm actually becoming educated about the process. At least it's entertaining. As for Wall Street, it's also been a topsy turvy year. Today, markets responded nicely, despite ever rising oil prices and the continued woes of the bond insurer, Ambac. The game continues! DJIA +41.19 NASDAQ +12.53 S&P 500 +6.95

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Another Interesting Day

Markets stayed down double digits for most of the day but managed to climb (almost) out of the ditch. Cisco issued good earnings news, and this helped NASDAQ to head into the green. The bond insurers are also getting some good news. So, on this big primary day, Wall Street managed to hold its own. Will Hillary do the same? DJIA -45.10 NASDAQ +1.68 S&P 500 -4.59

Monday, March 03, 2008

End of the Day Rally

The market started the day in the ditch but managed to erase most of the decline by the end of the day. The S&P 500 actually ended up slightly. GM's earnings were down 13%. Toyota's earnings were down almost 3%. When the car makers find sales drying up, it's usually not a good sign. After all, if you're concerned about your job, you won't buy a new car. On the other hand, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have taken steps to reassure investors. This may have been the driving force on the day. When the big lenders take substantive steps to correct the mess they have made, surely this is a good sign. DJIA -7.49 NASDAQ -12.88 S&P 500 +0.71