As a fairly recent owner of a dog, my wife and I have suddenly taken an interest in how much this pooch is costing us. Sure we love him to death but pets can be expensive and all indications are that those costs are just going to go higher in the future. So if you’re thinking of taking the plunge, learn from our experience. (more…)

As the second quarter winds down, we can expect the usual flurry of activity as trader’s place their bets on what sectors and stocks will do well and which will do poorly in the months ahead. It’s called “window dressing” and can sometimes cause markets to move in sudden and inexplicable ways. After the close on Friday, the Russell 2000 Small Cap stock index will also undergo its annual reconstitution with some stocks removed and others added. That will only increase the perception of increased activity. Yet at the end of the day, the markets have barely budged from last week’s levels. (more…)

As we enter the summer season, green shoots are appearing all over the economic landscape. Yet among these shoots, weeds are growing as well. Will the weeds choke off the new growth? One way to know for sure is to keep your eyes on housing prices, where they go so goes the economy. (more…)

Watching Grass Grow

Trading was so slow this week that you could almost watch those “green shoots” everyone is talking about start to sprout leaves. To me, that’s a good sign. I’ve often said less volatility is what the markets need after months of 2-3% moves every day. Boring, in my opinion, is good. (more…)

A Wall of Worry

There are any number of market watchers who are warning investors not to believe in this market’s move higher. They have been sounding alarms ever since we reached a bottom back in March. They are still cautious. As long as that attitude remains among investors you can bet the averages will move even higher. (more…)

Lest We Forget

In case you missed it, Morgan Stanley took control of rival broker Smith Barney from its former parent Citigroup Inc. this week. The new venture called Morgan Stanly Smith Barney will now move into first place as the world’s largest retail broker with 18,000 financial advisers. With the stupendous arrogance that only Wall Street brokers can possess, they are hoping that we will forgive and forget that it was they who precipitated the financial crisis in the first place. (more…)

General Motors teeters on the edge while Chrysler has already entered bankruptcy court. Vehicle sales worldwide are down 30-40% and the global recession continues unabated. Yet, now is the time you should be shopping for a car or truck. If you can afford it, chances are you will bag a great deal. (more…)

All in all it was a sloppy week on Wall Street. Bulls and bears pushed the averages back and forth fighting for that level called the “200 day moving average” (200 DMA) which happens to coincide with the 945 level on the S&P 500 Index. This battle has raged all month and neither side has won. What is clear is that for the rally to continue and become more than a bear market bounce that level must be breached and breached decisively. (more…)

Memorial Day marks the beginning of the slow season for stock markets worldwide, which usually ends sometime after the Labor Day weekend in September. Traditionally, it has been a period where stocks consolidate or even decline hence the saying “Sell in May and Go Away.” In bear markets, over the last 59 years, stocks have done far worse than in bull markets. Last year was no exception. That, however, does not mean that it will happen again this year. (more…)

As Memorial Day approaches, the memory of the last 18 months still leaves most of us shell shocked. Americans have lost trillions in the stock market. Our retirement accounts are in shambles. Those among us who depend on that money for daily living are counting every dime we spend. Many of us are unemployed while others worry about losing their jobs. Times are tough but rather than hide in your bunker, I believe it’s time to regroup and go on the offensive. Here’s why. (more…)