Break Through

After two months of range-bound trading, investors punched through resistance and bid the markets to new yearly highs this week. The Dow, NASDAQ and the S&P all look like they want to go higher but may need a bit of a pause here to catch its breath. (more…)

Midway through second quarter earnings season, many companies have surprised to the upside and their managements have changed their view of the future. On Wall Street we call it “guidance” and most of it sees a bottom or early signs of recovery in their businesses. (more…)

President Obama is on track to fulfill one of his main campaign promises: guaranteed healthcare for the majority of Americans. How and who will pay for it is still up in the air but this week it appeared that most of the burden will land on the shoulders of America’s rich as well as the nation’s small businesses. (more…)

Pick your poison—oil, unemployment, earnings, –the markets suffered through a week of anxiety as investors fretted that we just might revisit the bad old days of 2008. Although I don’t think that is in the cards, I wouldn’t rule out further downside. (more…)

With the unemployment rate at 9.5% and an economy that continues to give mixed signals about a recovery, both economists and politicians are talking about the need for a second stimulus plan. I suggest it may be a good idea to first examine why the existing stimulus plan may not be working as well as it should. (more…)

Back to Square One

Mixed economic signals once again kept the markets in check during this holiday shortened week. The averages moved up and down in slow motion with most of the gains and losses posted in the first half hour of trading each day on low volume and with even less conviction. Second quarter earnings begin next week and maybe, just maybe the markets might finally break out of their trading range but which way, up or down? That may depend on how investors perceive company results. (more…)

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…)