The Week In Review


December 26, 2008
U.S. stocks opened higher on Friday even though the statistics say it was the worst holiday season in decades. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 46 points to 8,469. General Motors is performing well, rising 11% after the Federal Reserve cleared the way for GMAC to become a bank-holding company. The S&P 500 rose 6 points to 872, while the Nasdaq Composite added 4 points to 1,528. Even though it was a weak shopping season, Amazon is up 3.5% as they performed well gaining more market share. Walmart is modestly higher after announcing they will sell Apple iphones for $200 to $300 per phone. And that's about it for the news. In my opinion, it's a little crazy to be open until 4 o'clock today. I felt dumb driving to work today. The stock market is set to close out the year next weak, marking one of the worst years in history. Things have been so bad that even the state lotteries are seeing big declines as well. The decline, still doesn't improve your chances of winning. As the morning progressed the averages moved closer and closer to the unchanged level. Boring. Entering the lunch hour, more and more stocks slipped into the red. In the afternoon the Dow kept its nose above the unchanged level. The commodities are in the green. Entering the last hour the averages were modestly in the green and actually improved. Happy Holidays. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 47 points at 8,515. The S&P 500 Index rose 7 points to 872, while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 5 points to 1,530. Another down week for the major averages.

December 25, 2008

Closed for the holiday. Merry Christmas.

December 24, 2008
U.S. stocks opened higher once again on light pre-holiday volume. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 38 points to 8,456. The S&P 500 rose a point to 864, while the Nasdaq Composite fell a point to 1,519. Economic news isn't getting any better. Jobless claims hit a 26 year high. Not a good stat during the holidays. The financials look awful once again declining for five straight days. Today, for now, they're up a few pennies. Merrill and Wachovia will soon merge with their respective suitors and disappear. Within the S&P 100, Amazon and Costco will replace the two banks. Both stocks are modestly higher. The retailers are modestly higher on this last day before Christmas. Walmart is higher after settling 63 suits over wages. The techs are modestly higher. One analyst put a hold rating on Google and Yahoo today. Thanks for nothing. Not a good year for analysts. Apple, Research in Motion, and IBM are lower. The one sector trading lower so far are the commodities. Oil inventories continue to build. The corporate bond market, on the other hand, has been performing well of late thanks to zero percent Treasuries. Mortgage applications continue to surge. The 30 year fixed dropped again to 5.14%. After the first hour the Dow remained up 30 points. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 were unchanged. Through the morning the averages remained in the green, but not by much. Moodys put out a negative report on the restaurant stocks. These guys are on the ball. The markets closed early, thankfully. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 48 points at 8,468. The S&P 500 index gained 5 points to 868, with nine of its 10 sectors advancing. The Nasdaq Composite lost 3 points to 1,524. Merry Christmas.

December 23, 2008
U.S. stocks open modestly higher even as government data indicated that gross domestic product data in the third quarter dropped more than expected. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 66 points to 8,586. The S&P 500 rose 6 points to 878 while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 9 points to 1,541. The financials are all lower. Bank of America was downgraded to a sell with a $10 target. Merry Christmas. JP Morgan cut estimates for Goldman and Morgan Stanley. The one plus, mortgage activity is surging. Hopefully, many Americans will be able to take advantage of the lower mortgage rates. CIT Group is up 3% after receiving their bank charter and therefore access to TARP money. The techs look good this morning. Finally, some analysts made positive comments on Google and Microsoft. Both stocks are higher. Apple has been under heavy selling pressure. Today the stock is higher. Red Hat is up 14% after beating estimates last night. The commodities look good. The retailers are mixed. Best Buy, Radio Shack, Guess, and Irobot were initiated with hold ratings. Thanks for nothing. The averages held up until weak housing data out at 10 o'clock dragged the averages back toward the unchanged level. The averages hovered around the unchanged level through the morning. In the afternoon, the Dow dropped into the red by 50 points. The Nasdaq declined just 10 points. The techs are trying to hold in there. In the last hour the Dow dropped as much as 150 points, recovering a little into the close. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 100 points at 8,419. The S&P 500 dropped 8 points to end at 863, while the Nasdaq Composite fell 10 points to 1,521.

December 22, 2008
U.S. stocks opened pretty much unchanged to start a quiet week ahead of Christmas. China cut its key lending rates following like moves by the U.S. Federal Reserve, the Bank of Japan, and other governments around the globe in the last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 12 points to 8,591. The S&P 500 dropped 3 points to 884, while the Nasdaq Composite declined 6 points to 1,557. Not a lot of interest in the markets to start the week. JP Morgan is modestly higher after acquiring two Canadian divisions from UBS. The insurance stocks are back down after a nice rally last week. Prudential is down 5% on a downgrade. Plenty of downgrades today. In the commodity space Potash, Monsanto, and U.S. Steel were downgraded. Nucor is up one percent on an upgrade. Fluor is down 4% after having their numbers cut at Amtech. GM is down 13% as Credit Suisse lowered their price target to one. That's not good. Sysco Foods and Walgreen cut their own forecasts. Both are down 3%. After the first half an hour the averages started to sell off. The Dow dropped 50 points. The Nasdaq declined 23 points. Not much is rallying. In the tech space, Palm is up 10% after receiving a cash infusion from private equity. The stock is down 70% in the last four months. Through the morning the averages improved only to sell back off into the lunch hour. Caterpillar is down 3% after announcing pay cuts and buy out offers to some employees. No Santa Claus rally yet. During the lunch hour the averages recovered a little, but not much. GM and Ford are moving lower. Very few stocks are in the green. Pimco Corp Opportunity Fund is up 5% thanks to a positive article in Barrons and also featured at Leigh As the afternoon progressed the averages moved lower. The Dow dropped as much as 150 points. Alcoa is down 7% and GM is down 20%. Not good. In the last hour the Dow fell over 200 points. Oil has reversed course, dropping 5% back
under $40 a barrel. Oil is so weak, Saudi Arabia will produce a federal deficit for the first time in six year. For some reason, I don't feel that bad for them. The averages were able rebound into the close to help save the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 59 points at 8,519. The S&P 500 declined 16 points to 871, while the Nasdaq Composite surrendered 31 points to finish at 1,532.