Monday, October 30, 2006

Cartoon Tuesday

By Bob Englehart, The Hartford Courant

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The week in review

  • DJIA gained another 87.89 this week, 0.73% to 12,090.26. Nice little rally we've got goin'.
  • S & P 500 gained 8.74, 0.64% to close the week at 1,377.34.
  • Crude oil was up $1.42 this week, 2.39% and was up above $60 Friday at $60.75.
The U.S. economy grew at a 1.6% annual rate last quarter, its weakest since 2003. Core inflation rose at only a 2.3% rate, down from 2.7% in the previous period. Our economy is cooling too quickly, inflation is not an issue. With housing prices falling, the wealth effect created as they were soaring will quickly disappear and erode consumer confidence. By spring of 2007 the Fed will be contemplating lowering interest rates once again.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Republicans in Berkeley?

Friday's Wall Street Journal (paid subscription) included a front-page story about the rise in conservatism on one of the nation's most liberal college campuses.
The growth of the Berkeley College Republicans at one of the nation's most liberal campuses echoes some broader political trends. At Berkeley, while leftist students still dominate and outnumber conservatives, the liberal groups have splintered and are now spread across factions from the Cal Democrats to the International Socialist Organization to groups formed to oppose the war in Iraq. At the same time, several faculty members say, there are more conservative-leaning students than in the past, propelled by swells of patriotic feeling after events like Sept. 11 and an increase in the number of religious student groups.
While this is all very encouraging, should it really be front-page news that astute, rational thinking is taking place on a college campus?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Week in review

  • DJIA rose a respectable 41.86 points, 0.35% and closed Friday at above 12,000 at 12,00237.
  • Nasdaq Composite lost 14.99 or 0.64% to finish the week at 2342.30, down 0.64%.
  • S & P 500 gained a mere 2.98 points, 0.22% and closed yesterday at 1368.60
  • Crude oil dropped $1.75 to $56.82/barrel. I paid $2.44/gallon for regular yesterday, the lowest in quite a while and pretty darn good for California.
For the first time in its history the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 12,000 this week. So, is there something magical about 12,000. Probably not. But what makes it significant is that it took so darn long to do it.

When I started my career as a stock broker with Morgan Stanley in January of 1995, the DJIA stood around 4,000. Over the course of the next few years the "thousands" fell pretty quickly. Five thousand came just before my first anniversary, 6,000, 7,000, 8000 and the rest all came pretty regularly. When the Dow reached 11,000 in the fall of 1999, there was no reason to think that 12,000 wouldn't be right around the corner. No one suspected that it would take seven years.

What's next? Well, that's anybody's guess and I doubt we'll ever experience anything like the late 90's again. But as we celebrate 12,000, I'm reminded of those days. They sure were fun.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The week in review

  • DJIA rose a respectable 110.30 points, 0.93% and closed Friday at 11,960.51. Flirtin' with 12,000.
  • Nasdaq Composite 57.30 points, a really healthy 2.49% and finished off the week at 2357.29..
  • S & P 500 was up 16.04 for the week, a 1.19% gain, and closed at 1365.62 Friday.
  • 10-year Treasury yield increased 0.106 percentage points to 4.806%. It was a pretty lousy week for treasuries but if you're looking to refinance that ARM, 10-year Treasury yields will be under 4.50% by spring.
  • Crude oil fell another $1.19 in spite of a rally Friday. Down 1.99% to $58.57.
European stocks hit 5-year highs on Friday and Japanese stocks rallied as well. Markets in India and Singapore also rose to records. Gee, a bit of a global bull, isn't it?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Cartoon Tuesday

Cameron Cardow, The Ottawa Citizen

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The week in review

  • DJIA rose a health 171.14 points, 1.47% and closed Friday at 11,850.21. New records.
  • Nasdaq Composite gained 41.56 points, 1.84% and finished off the week at 2299.99.
  • S & P 500 was up 13.73 for the week, a 1.03% gain, and closed at 1349.58 Friday.
  • Crude oil fell $3.15, 5.01% to $59.76.
The rise in oil prices a week ago was no more pause as oil prices continue to fall. Where are the guys now who were calling for $100/bbl just a couple of months ago? OPEC's economies are weak making the threat of reduced output unlikely and prices should continue to decline. Two bucks for gas again?

The September jobs report was weak on the surface as new job creation was half the forecast. But the report also contained healthy upward revisions for the previous two months. The bond market paid more attention to the revisions and prices fell on Friday. It took the steam out of a nice rally in stocks as well.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

No graffiti?

I've lived in the Bay Area for over six years now and I ride on BART regularly but I never noticed this sign in BART stations until today. It just strikes me as a bit odd. Are there places where graffiti is okay?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Cartoon Tuesday

By Dana Summers, The Orlando Sentinel