Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Well, it's a beautiful day today and the end of the first quarter of 2010! Unfortunately, stocks ended the quarter with a bit of a thud as oil's rally to a 17-month high weighed on the rest of the market, especially consumer companies. Although the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Nasdaq, and S&P 500 all ended lower for the day, they all gained at least 4% for the quarter with the Nasdaq actually growing 5.7%. In other markets, the euro, pound and yen strengthened today against the dollar. DJIA -50.79 Nasdaq -12.73 S&P 500 -3.84.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Technology stocks led an uptick in the broader market amid hopes that Apple will offer its popular iPhone on the Verizon Communications network. Major indexes seesawed during the session but turned higher in the afternoon to end with slight gains. New economic data were generally supportive of stocks. The Conference Board, a private research group, showed U.S. consumer confidence rebounded in March from a steep drop in February. The euro fell today after the International Monetary Fund said Germany's economic recovery is exposed to "substantial downside risks" caused by weakness in its banking sector. This news sent the dollar higher along with the yen and the pound. DJIA +11.56 Nasdaq +6.33 S&P 500 +.05.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Surging oil prices drove energy stocks higher, leading the broader market to a modest gain tempered by weakness among bank shares. The financial sector's main stumbling block was a 3% slide in Citigroup after the government unveiled a plan to sell 7.7 billion shares in the bank. The latest economic data were mostly promising, though many traders stayed on the sidelines ahead of Friday's jobs report, which analysts expect to show the first monthly gain in employment since the U.S. recession began more than two years ago. In other markets, the dollar suffered against the euro as traders grew more confident in Greece's ability to set its finances straight. Also, the pound gained today, while the yen declined. DJIA +45.50 Nasdaq +9.23 S&P 500 +6.63.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Blue-chip stocks managed a tiny gain as investors grew less concerned about Greece's debt load, though some participants moved to take money off the table following a steady rally that had carried the market to an 18-month high this week. The market was helped by news that Greece's neighbors have agreed to a plan to bail out the debt-laden nation, if necessary, in conjunction with the International Monetary Fund. Driven by the news surrounding Greece, the euro hit a 10-month high against the dollar this morning. DJIA +9.15 Nasdaq -2.28 S&P 500 +.86.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Investors backed away from risky bets today, unloading stocks and commodities in favor of the dollar, which got a boost versus the euro and other rivals after Fitch Ratings downgraded Portugal's credit. Currency markets were even more volatile than stocks after Fitch lowered Portugal's sovereign credit rating and warned of another downgrade unless the government changes its fiscal course. The Dow Jones Industrial Average snapped a two-day winning streak today. Also, the S&P saw declines in every sector except the financial category, which crept up .2%. New U.S. economic data missed expectations. Durable-goods orders rose in February, but not as much as expected, while new-home sales fell 2.2%. DJIA -52.68 Nasdaq -16.48 S&P 500 -6.45.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Stocks closed modestly lower today, snapping an eight-day winning streak for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Although the DJIA fell .4% today, it's still up 1.1% for the week and up 3.01% since the beginning of the year. Materials and energy were the weakest categories in a broad-based selloff as oil prices retreated near $80 a barrel. Uncertainty over possible financial aid for Greece also lingered, hurting the euro. The pound fell once again, while the yen continued to gain. DJIA -37.19 Nasdaq -16.87 S&P 500 -5.93.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Blue-chip stocks clocked their eighth straight day of gains as industrials climbed on a brightening manufacturing outlook. Today's close brought the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a new 17-month high. The gains have been modest but steady, leaving the index up 2.15% over the past eight sessions. Also helping stocks were reports that showed consumer prices last month were flat in February and that initial jobless claims declined last week. Financial stocks were a weak spot today due to concerns over the financial regulatory overhaul proposal winding through Congress. DJIA +45.50 Nasdaq +2.19 S&P 500 -.38.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed to a new 17-month high, logging its seventh straight daily gain, as investors piled into risky assets a day after the Federal Reserve said it would keep interest rates low for some time. Worries about new rules limited the financial sector's performance, especially in the afternoon. Meanwhile, health-care stocks which have been stirred up lately were also under pressure for much of the session before ending just above the flatline. In other markets, the yen gained, while the euro and the pound fell. DJIA +47.69 Nasdaq +11.08 S&P 500 +6.75.
Monday, March 15, 2010
An analyst upgrade of Wal-Mart stores and a partial comeback in the financial sector Monday afternoon helped the stock market post a fifth straight gain. Energy stocks were hurt by a dip in oil prices below $80 a barrel. The commodity and other natural resources, which are traded globally in dollar terms, were weighed down by a rally in the U.S. currency. The dollar was helped in part by early bets ahead of a Federal Reserve rate-committee meeting this week that may produce hints as to when the central bank might tighten the supply of dollars sloshing through the global economy. Along with the dollar, the yen gained, while the euro and the pound declined slightly. DJIA +17.46 Nasdaq -5.45 S&P 500 +.52.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Bullish comments from Citigroup's chief executive boosted the financial sector, which led a modest gain in the market today. Major indexes struggled in a narrow range through much of the section, hurt by the latest economic releases from the U.S. and China. But as the last hour of trading began, the market made a run into positive territory. Recovery-sensitive sectors like energy, materials, and industrials were hurt by concerns about a possible tightening of Chinese monetary policy after new data showed a rise in the country's consumer price index for February that was higher than expected. In other markets, the dollar weakened against the euro but improved versus the yen. DJIA +44.51 Nasdaq +9.51 +4.63.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Financial stocks led the market higher today, as AIG and other firms with heavy government backing climbed sharply for a second consecutive day. Also, technology stocks were a market leader, helped by a gain in Google after the search giant said it will soon conclude negotiations with the Chinese government regarding censorship and monitoring of its Chinese sites. In other markets, the dollar was weaker against the euro, but strengthened against the yen. DJIA +2.95 Nasdaq +18.27 S&P 500 +5.16.
Monday, March 08, 2010
Major stock indexes were mixed as investors paused their recent spree of bets on the U.S. economy, though gains for Cisco Systems helped boost the technology sector. Cisco, a component of all three major indexes, climbed 3.4% ahead of a technology announcement it set for Tuesday. Traders expect that Cisco will show how it can help telecommunications companies boost their internet speeds to meet growing user demands. In other markets, the dollar, pound and yen fell, while the euro gained slightly. DJIA -13.68 Nasdaq +5.86 S&P 500 -.20.
Friday, March 05, 2010
Thank goodness it's Friday and finally warming up outside! This week was a much better week for the market. Stocks hit new intraday highs in a rally sparked by employment data that boosted investors' confidence in the broader U.S. economy. In the week's key economic release, the Labor Department said nonfarm payrolls fell by 36,000 in February. Economists were expecting a February drop of about 75,000, partly due to severe weather conditions. The unemployment rate held steady at 9.7%, which is certainly not where we want it to be, but better than the 9.8% rate economists expected. In other markets, the dollar remained flat, while the pound, yen and euro gained. DJIA +122.06 Nasdaq +34.04 S&P 500 +15.73.
Thursday, March 04, 2010
Analyst upgrades of a trio of blue-chip companies helped push the stock market higher as investors looked ahead to the latest reading of U.S. employment. Other assets were more volatile than stocks, especially the dollar, which posted a solid rally versus the euro after Greece successfully completed an offering of 10-year debt. The yen and the pound also declined slightly today. DJIA +46.70 Nasdaq +11.63 S&P 500 +4.10.
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
Stocks faltered today, hurt by weakness in the health-care sector, which was fueled by unpromising test results for a new Alzheimer's drug and a new call by the president to pass federal health-care legislation. The market rose through most of the session, aided by favorable readings of jobs, service-sector activity, and the Federal Reserve's beige book of regional indicators. But, the gains dried up later in the session. In other markets, the euro strengthened versus the dollar following Greece's announcement of an austerity plan meant to address its debt crisis. DJIA -9.22 Nasdaq +.11 S&P 500 +.48.
Monday, March 01, 2010
A stock rally sparked by merger news and improving U.S. economic data pushed markets up today - some market measures were even able to reach positive territory for the year. Personal spending for Americans climbed slightly more than expected, while personal income rose less than planned. Also, the saving rate slowed to the smallest since 2008. In other markets, the dollar, yen, pound, and euro all gained slightly along with the 10 year note. DJIA +78.53 Nasdaq +35.31 S&P 500 +11.22.