Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Cartoon Tuesday

By M.e. Cohen, New Jersey, Freelance

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Great season, Jayhawks!

The week in review

  • DJIA had its best week in years gaining 370.60, 3.06% to finish out the week at 12,481.01.
  • Crude spent much of the week back above $60 rising $2.70 since last Friday, 4.53% to $62.28/bbl.
Stocks had their best showing in years this week after the Fed announced (to no one's surprise) that it was leaving rates untouched. In addition they indicated that their next move would likely be to ease rates, reversing the direction of the last couple of years.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Cartoon Tuesday

By Henry Payne, The Detroit News

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The week in review

  • DJIA had another rocky week, falling 165.91, 1.35% to 12,110.41.
  • S & P 500 lost 15.90 points, 1.13% to 1386.95.
  • Crude oil fell back below $60, losing $2.94/bbl last week, 4.90% to $57.11.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Cartoon Tuesday

By R.J. Matson, The New York Observer and Roll Call

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Capitalist of the week: Ernest Gallo

"I simply judge a wine by pouring a glass and drinking it. If I feel like another glass and have a desire for it, to me it's a good wine.
Ernest Gallo, who founded the Gallo wine empire with his brother Julio, died Tuesday at the age of 97. Julio died in an auto accident in 1993.

Ernest Gallo was born on March 18, 1909, to Giuseppe Gallo, known as Joseph, and Assunta Bianco Gallo, who was called Susie, in Jackson, California. In the 1920s the couple bought a farm near Modesto and began to grow grapes. But with Prohibition and then the Great Depression the couple became saddled with an unproductive farm and heavy debt. On the morning of June 21, 1933, in the kitchen of the farmhouse, Joseph Gallo shot and killed his wife and then himself, leaving three sons, Ernest, Julio, and their younger brother, Joseph, then 12.

With a little money left by their dead parents and a loan from Ernest's mother-in-law they rented a shed in Modesto. They knew nothing about making wine and, as legend tells it, had nothing more than a pamphlet from the Modesto Public Library to explain the trade. The Gallo Winery began with just $5,900 in capital.

Business was good for the brothers but it really took off in 1957 with the introduction of Thunderbird. Gallo has been criticized for exploiting the ethnic "misery market" with this citrus-flavored, fortified wine but it's reported that the brothers sold 32 million gallons of Thunderbird in it's first year.

The Gallos, realizing they could not sustain their winery on cheap products, moved up-market and began to produce better wines. Business flourished.

From the New York Times:

And the company, entirely family controlled, was indeed large. Industry analysts estimate that Gallo produces some 80 million cases of wine a year, which is about 220,000 cases or 2.64 million bottles every day. The company reportedly owns 10,000 acres of vineyards in California and buys grapes from hundreds of independent growers.

According to Forbes magazine, Gallo had sales of about $980 million in 2005 with a net profit of $44 million. In 2006, according to Forbes, Ernest Gallo was No. 283 on its list of the 400 richest Americans, with an estimated net worth of $1.2 billion.

The week in review

  • DJIA regained 162.22 points this week, up 1.34% to 12,276.32.
  • Nasdaq Composite also made up some of the previous week's losses, up 19.55 points, 0.83% to 2387.55.
  • S & P 500 gained 15.68 points, 1.13% to 1402.85.
  • Crude oil slipped back$1.59, 2.58% to $60.05.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Stop saving for retirement!

In a completely irresponsible MarketWatch column yesterday, Paul B. Farrell makes the assertion that Americans are being duped by Wall Street into saving too much for retirement.
Warning, you're being hypnotized: Wall Street insiders, bankers, brokers, advisers and their buddies want you to pile up assets. Why? Not for your own good, but because the more securities you own, the more money they make in fees! Get it?
Farrell seems to think that your pension, Social Security and perhaps a part-time job are all you'll need in retirement.
Focus on income: Pensions, Social Security, IRAs, and a new career, business or some part-time work. And remember, savvy families also quietly build wealth in home equity. Pay off the mortgage, live debt-free. Downsize. Maybe cut costs moving to a cheaper region. Go for a reverse mortgage. Be creative. Add up these pieces of income and you'll see how to reach whatever you need to live comfortably in retirement.
That's all just fine Paul, as long as you neglect the fact that the defined benefit plan has gone the way of the ten-cent cup of coffee and anyone who has read a newspaper in the last decade has serious questions about Social Security's sustainability. Besides, being a greeter at Wal-Mart is not part of my retirement plan.

Who wants to take their chances on Farrell's advice? Anyone?

Note: Mr. Farrell (Dr. Farrell, actually) has a law degree and a PhD in psychology--proof that a good education doesn't necessarily make you smart.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

The week in review

  • DJIA shed 533.38 points, 4.22% and finished Friday at 12,114.10. Just a little painful.
  • S & P 500 dropped 64.12, 4.41% and stands at 1387.17.
  • Crude oil was up half a buck, .82% to $61.64.
Normal markets correct from time to time. A correction is usually defined as a decline of over 10%. This market is down less than ten percent so it has a long way to go for this little downturn to even be considered a correction. Yes, it was the worst week in over four years but ignore the media who want you to believe the sky is falling and stick to your investment plan.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Too little too late, Alan

Two days after sending the U.S. stock market into a spiraling nosedive, today Alan Greenspan softened his remarks about a pending recession.
By the end of the year, there is the possibility, but not the probability of the U.S. moving into recession.
Gee thanks, Al. Why didn't you say that on Monday?