The Week In Review


September 2, 2011
U.S. stocks opened sharply lower on Friday, pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average into negative territory for the week, after the Labor Department reported payrolls remained unchanged in August. "The story it's telling is August was pretty weak. The debt debate in Washington hurt business confidence, and they cut back on their hiring," said Brad Sorensen, director of market and sector analysis, at Charles Schwab .The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell a quick 234 points to 11,259. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index declined 26 points to 1,177. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 55 points to 2,490. The news was quiet ahead of the economic data. H&R Block is down 10% following earnings. Cascade is also lower following earnings, but Finisar, an optic networking firm, is jumping 9% following earnings. However, the stock is down 50% since the March highs. At 8:30, the August payroll number produced zero job growth, a huge hit to any economic recovery in the second half of the year. The financials which were already weak took another hit. Bank of America is down 7% on news they are looking to sell their Countrywide lending unit. Good luck there. The newspapers are claiming the Fed is asking Bank of America for a contingency plan in case things get worse. That's not good. All the big banks are lower on rumors the government is looking to sue more than dozen banks. And you wonder why we can't create jobs. Through the first hour the averages improved a little bit on news from Goldman Sachs saying the Fed will try new policies at the next meeting to further support the markets. However, it's the President and Congress that really need to get their act together. Through the morning the averages remained weak, but off the lows. All the Dow components are trading lower. Volume should dry up through the rest of the day as many people leave ahead of the three day weekend. In the afternoon the averages actually pushed to new lows for the day with the Dow falling nearly 300 points before rebounding in the last hour. The Nasdaq fell 75 points only to rebound in the last hour. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the session down 253 points, or 2.2%, at 11,240. The S&P 500 Index fell 30 points, or 2.5%, to 1,173 while the Nasdaq Composite Index lost 65 points, or 2.6%, to 2,480. The weekly results for the indexes were mixed, with the Dow industrials off 0.4% and the S&P 500 Index down 0.2%, marking a second straight week of declines for both. The Nasdaq Composite, meanwhile, clung to a minor weekly gain of 0.02%.

September 1, 2011
U.S. stocks wobbled at Thursday's start, with the major indexes struggling for limited gains after the government said jobless claims fell last week, ahead of Friday's monthly payrolls report. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 13 points to 11,627. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added half a point to 1,219. The Nasdaq Composite rose 5 points to 2,585. The averages teetered back and forth only to sell off into the lunch hour. The financials are taking a hit as Goldman Sachs is making news. First they lowered their estimates for August payroll numbers out tomorrow. Then an analyst downgraded the stock and then the Federal government indicated they will further their investigation into the firm. As expected, the stock dropped over 3% as did most of the big cap banks. Toronto Dominion is one of the few financials higher thanks to better than expected earnings. Here we go again. Most sectors succumbed to profit-taking. The techs are getting hit including Apple. Ciena is jumping 20% following better than expected earnings, helping lift the whole sector including Cisco Systems. The auto sector is trading sharply lower even though on the surface, August sales looked good. Even the defensive stocks are lower. Verizon upped their dividend however, the stock is lower. Through the afternoon the averages drifted lower with the Dow falling nearly 100 points. That's not a good sign. In the last hour the averages pushed lower on fears the employment data out tomorrow won't be good. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 119 points, or 1%, at 11,493, after a four-session winning streak. The S&P 500 shed 14 points, or 1.2%, to end at 1,204. The Nasdaq Composite lost 33 points, or 1.3%, to 2,546.

August 31, 2011
U.S. stocks started higher on Wednesday, lifting the Dow Jones Industrial Average back into positive territory for the year. The Dow industrials climbed 65 points to 11,625. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 7 points to 1,220. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 15 points to 2,591. Better than expected employment data out this morning is lending support to the markets. On the earnings front, the retail sector continues to perform well. Genesco, Fresh Market, and Jos. A Bank are all up 9% or better thanks to strong earnings. What slow down? Dicks is up 2% on an upgrade. The commodities also look good. Mining company, Joy Global is up 6% after beating estimates. The fertilizers, copper, and iron ore stocks all look good which coincidently is exactly what Joy Global extracts. Crude oil refiner, Tesoro is jumping 5% on an upgrade. Within the first half an hour the averages received another jolt in the arm thanks to better than expected manufacturing data. The Dow jumped 90 points while the Nasdaq rallied 23 points. A select number of stocks are not participating in the rally including IBM and Apple. The rare earth stocks are also trading lower. Through the morning the averages remained strong, but off the highs. AT&T pulled back on news the Department of Justice will block the pending merger with T-Mobil. The CEO was on CNBC this morning promoting the merger. So much for that. Heading into the lunch hour the averages gave up more of their gains. A number of commodities have fallen into the red along with several techs. Entering the last hour, the averages had given up all their gains led by weakness in the commodity and tech space. In the last hour the averages were able to put in a rally to finish out the month. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 53 points at 11,613, but lost 4.4% for the month. The S&P 500 gained 5 points to 1,218, but lost 5.7% for the month. The Nasdaq Composite added 3 points to 2,579, off 6.4% for the month.

August 30, 2011
U.S. stocks started lower on Tuesday, retreating after a two-session rise and ahead of an August report on consumer confidence and minutes from the Federal Reserve's last meeting. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 29 points to 11,510. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index declined 4 points to 1,205. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 8 points to 2,553. The sell off sold far is subdued. The financials and insurance stocks are pulling back after a big run up yesterday. Allstate received an upgrade this morning, but the stock is lower by 2%. Charles Schwab is lower on a downgrade. BB&T is unchanged even though it was upgraded. Bank of America is down 2% on news the FDIC has concerns about their bond insurer settlement. The sector that seems to be holding up the best is the commodity space. The fertilizers look good as CF Industries received an upgrade. The stock is up 1.5%. The oils are lower. Diamond Offshore and Transocean are both down over 2% on downgrades. In the retail space Dollar General is up 3% on earnings. DSW is higher as well on earnings. Barnes & Noble is jumping 17% even though they missed earnings estimates. Go figure out that stock. At 10 o'clock a weak consumer confidence number set a bad tone for the rest of the day. The averages quickly sold off with the Dow dropping 90 points and the Nasdaq dropping 30 points. Surprisingly, the averages actually didn't sell off more. Through the morning the averages tried to recover. The best performing stocks include a select number of commodities and a few techs. The rare earth stocks are all higher on speculation of takeovers. Who would take them over, I don't know. Probably no one. During the lunch hour all the major averages moved into the green only to give back the gains by the middle of the afternoon. Clorox is up 3% on news if Carl Icahn is elected to the board, he'll move to split up the company to unlock value. At 2 o'clock the Fed minutes did little to initially move the markets, however, the averages did improve into the last hour on hopes of a QE3. The Dow rose almost 100 points only to sell off into the close. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 20 points at 11,559. The S&P 500 added 2 points to 1,212, led by the telecoms and natural-resource sectors. The Nasdaq Composite ended up 14 points at 2,576.

August 29, 2011
U.S. stocks opened higher on Monday after data showed Americans spent more than expected last month. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 163 points to 11,499. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 18 points to 1,195. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 40 points to 2,519. The overseas markets including Europe traded higher this morning help lift our averages. Hurricane Irene while damaging was not as severe as the worse-case scenario helping lift all the insurers like Hartford, Allstate, MetLife, and Travelers. Hartford and Allstate are both up over 5%. The financials are also performing well this morning. Bank of America is up 3% as they close in on selling a 5% stake in a Chinese bank. Investment banking firm, Donaldson is jumping 9% following better than expected earnings. In the tech space IBM, Apple, and Google look good. An analyst made cautious comments on Intel, however, the stock is performing well so far this morning. Novellus is up 2% on positive analyst comments. The retailers continue to perform well. Tiffany is up another one percent following strong earnings last week. Brinker is up a percent on an upgrade. Nike is higher on positive analyst comments. In the drug space Bristol Myers and Pfizer are both up over 2% thanks to better than expected clinical trial results for their stroke-preventing blood thinners drug. Everything is working this morning. Through the first hour the Dow pushed higher with the Dow rising 180 points and the Nasdaq jumped 50 points. The only Dow component lower is Home Depot. I guess not enough people bought supplies before or after Hurricane Irene. Through the morning the averages remained strong actually improving in the afternoon. The Dow rose over 200 points while the Nasdaq improved by as much as 70 points. Everything is working today. The only Dow component still in the red is Home Depot. In the last hour the averages kept improving. A good day in the markets. The Dow average finished up 254 points, or 2.3%, at 11,539, led by an 8.1% surge in Bank of America shares. For the year, the Dow is 0.3% lower. The S&P 500 added 33 points, or 2.8%, to 1,210, its first close above 1,200 since Aug. 15. Financials led gains, rallying 4.2%. The Nasdaq Composite ended up 82 points, or 3.3%, to 2,562.