The Week In Review


March 4, 2011
U.S. stocks opened mildly lower Friday, a day after equities posted their biggest gain in three months, as the February jobs report sparked worries that earnings growth might not be keeping up with rising energy costs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 4 points to 12,253. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index declined a point to 1,329. The Nasdaq Composite dipped 4 points to 2,794. Now that the economic data is out, Wall Street turns its focus back to the price of oil which is approaching $104 a barrel. The commodity stocks are lower, but not by much. Silver Wheaton is one of the few commodity stocks higher following better than expected earnings. CME exchange stock is lower even though it received an upgrade. The financials are all lower led by weakness in Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. Both are down over 2% on downgrades. Capital One was upgraded, but the stock is lower. The techs are lower as well. Marvell is down 8% following lackluster earnings. IBM and Juniper were upgraded, but both stocks are lower. HP is lower after an analyst lowered their PC growth rate. Intel is one of the few techs higher thanks to an upgrade. Through the first hour the Dow moved lower falling 50 points while the Nasdaq declined 10 points. Through the morning the averages put up a good battle trying to figure out whether they should go lower or rebound. A number of commodity stocks inched into the green while Apple and Corning in the tech space moved into the green. As we drew closer to the lunch hour the averages broke down as oil rallied above $104 a barrel. The Dow fell over 100 points as the Nasdaq declined 20 points. During the lunch hour the Dow fell further falling 150 points and the Nasdaq declined 26 points as rumors of protests in Saudi Arabia spooked the markets. Not many stocks are left in the green. In the last hour the averages moved back toward the lows of the day only to rebound into the close. Volatile market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down just 88 points at 12,169, led by a 1.8% drop in GE. The S&P 500 fell 9 points to 1,321, with financials and industrials falling the most. The Nasdaq Composite ended down 14 points, or 0.5%, at 2,784. Thanks to a last minute rebound all three averages finished up for the week.

March 3, 2011
U.S. stocks extended Thursday gains as Wall Street embraced data showing applications for jobless benefits fell to near three-year low. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rocketed158 points to 1,225. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 16 points to 1,325. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 38 points to 2,786. Everything is looking pretty good this morning which is amazing since oil remains at a two and a half year high. The techs look to be the main benefactor this morning. The chip and chip equipment stocks are performing great as mid-quarter updates seem to be going well. Research in Motion is up 2% on an upgrade. Apple is zooming higher approaching its 52 week high following the debut of their new Ipad and positive metrics for their business. Google, IBM, and Corning look good. The financials are all modestly higher. Keycorp is up 3% on takeover speculation. Toronto Dominion is up 3% following earnings. The retail news is mixed for the most part. Pier 1 is up 3% after preannouncing better than expected fourth quarter numbers. Big Lots, Foot Locker, Wendys/Arbys, and Kroger are all up on earnings. Chiquita Brands, Limited, and Heinz are lower on earnings. The rest of the sector is modestly higher following February sales numbers. The commodity sector is up, but is lagging the broader markets. The oil drillers are actually lower after a nice run up over the last several weeks. Transocean received a downgrade this morning. Valero Energy is one of the few oil stocks higher following a positive mid-quarter update. Through the first hour the averages remain very strong with the Dow up 165 points and the Nasdaq up 38 points. Oil is down only 25 cents, but doesn't seem to be deterring any investors. The bulls must be focusing on the unemployment data out tomorrow morning. Through the morning the averages remained strong right near the highs of the day. The volatility is only on the upside today. In the afternoon the Dow rose over 200 points while the Nasdaq topped 50 points. One way market today. In the last hour a modest pull back. The Dow finished up 191 points at 12,258, with all but two of 30 components ending higher. It was the biggest point gain since December 1st. The S&P 500 gained 22 points, or 1.7%, to 1,330 with industrials and financials leading an advance in all 10 industry sectors. The Nasdaq Composite rallied 50 points, or 1.8%, to 2,798.

March 2, 2011
U.S. stock indexes open modestly lower as oil rises above $100 a barrel outweigh enthusiasm from economic data demonstrating more robust jobs growth in February. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 17 points to 12,040. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index dipped a point to 1,304. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell nearly 2 points to 2,735. A number of stocks are trading lower following earnings including Tivo, MBIA, Costco, Staples, McCormick & Schmick, and Joy Global. BJs and St Joe Company are modestly higher following earnings. The commodity space looks good this morning. The steel sector looks good thanks to positive comments at Goldman Sachs. The oil drillers look good even as oil moves above $100 a barrel. One oil driller Weatherford is down 14% after delaying their 10-K for accounting issues. Wall Street hates accounting issues. After the first half an hour the averages moved into the green. The financials look good including Goldman Sachs which faced a number of bad headlines yesterday. Hudson City is lower on a downgrade. Metlife is down 4% after announcing they will issue more shares. In the tech space Oracle, Xilinx, and Texas Instruments are higher on upgrades. Ironically Apple moved into the red ahead of their presentation of their new Ipad. After the first hour the averages improved as oil dipped back below $100 a barrel. The Dow rose 40 points while the improved by 17 points. Through the morning the Dow gave up its gains as oil moved back above $100 a barrel. The Nasdaq remains in the green. In the afternoon the Dow vacillated around the unchanged level with the Nasdaq still in the green. Apple's stock improved with the appearance of Steve Jobs at their Ipad press release. In the last hour the averages fluctuated quite a bit only to close not far from the unchanged level. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 8 points at 12,066, led by a 1.1% gain in Caterpillar. The S&P 500 added 2 points to 1,308, fronted by energy and tech stocks including chip firm Xilinx. The Nasdaq Composite added 10 points to 2,748.

March 1, 2011
The first day of the new month has been very kind to investors the last six months, however with oil pushing higher this morning, the bulls have their work cut out for them. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 25 points to 12,251. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index inched up 2 points to 1,329. The Nasdaq Composite Index opened fractionally lower at 2,782. The commodities and techs opened higher, but the rally didn't last. Chinese video web based firm is down 6% following earnings. Other Chinese stocks like Dangdang., and 51 jobs are lower as well. The financials are trading lower. Fifth Third is down 5% after the SEC subpoenaed the bank. Bank of Montreal is modestly lower after reporting earnings. Private equity firm Fortress is down 7% following earnings. Other stocks trading lower following earnings include Rosetta Stone, Vivus, Dominos Pizza, and Del Monte Foods. Rosetta and Del Monte are both down over 8%. After the first half an hour the averages reversed course selling off. With cautious comments from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke regarding the price of oil, the Dow dropped a quick 60 points while the Nasdaq declined 20 points. One of the few sectors still trading higher is the oils as the price of crude approaches $100 a barrel. The oil drillers look good following news yesterday that Noble Energy received the okay to drill in the Gulf once again. After the first hour the averages started to recover as the bulls wouldn't give up without a fight. Through the morning the averages remained in the red, but off the lows. Goldman Sachs is selling off for a number of reasons. First, they disclosed they could be liable for billions in litigation costs. All the big banks are reporting similar statements. Second, the SEC is charging a former Goldman board of director with insider trading. Greed is still alive on Wall Street. In the afternoon oil closed just under $100 a barrel, the highest close in two and a half years causing the averages to moved lower. The Dow dropped 150 points by mid-afternoon. The Nasdaq declined 40 points. In the last hour no rebound. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down168 points, or 1.4%, at 12,058, the worst point drop for the benchmark index since Feb. 22. The S&P 500 declined 21 points, or 1.6%, to 1,306 while the Nasdaq Composite also declined 1.6%, losing 45 points to close at 2,737.

February 28, 2011
U.S. stocks opened higher on Monday as no further unrest in the Middle East allowed the price of oil to decline this morning. A Federal Reserve official is also lending support offering an optimistic take on the recovery. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 52 points to 12,182. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 6 points to 1,326. The Nasdaq Composite added 15 points to 2,796. Investors fearing more conflicts in the Middle East over the weekend are covering their shorts this morning. Most sectors are trading higher as the bulls come back to the markets. Berkshire Hathaway is up nearly 2% after reporting earnings over the weekend. Edison International is also following earnings. Plenty of upgrades this morning. In the tech sector Jabil Circuit is up 3% on an upgrade. Apple is moving back toward its 52 week high thanks to multiple positive analyst comments. Dell, Research in Motion, and Corning also look good this morning. In the commodity space the fertilizers continue their rebound. Potash is up 2% on an upgrade. Nucor is up 2% on an upgrade. Copper and iron ore plays look good. Oil driller plays for the most part are lower as oil pulls back. Transocean is lower on a downgrade. The financials are modestly higher. HSBC is one of the few banks lower following earnings this morning. After the first half an hour the averages kept pushing higher with the Dow jumping 90 points and the Nasdaq rising 14 points. The bulls are back in charge. Through the morning the averages remained strong. During the lunch hour the Nasdaq gave up its' gains. Only Apple, Corning, and Google are still in the green. The Dow is giving up some of its gains. 3M is the strongest Dow component up 2% thanks to a positive Barrons cover article. Through the afternoon the Dow drifted lower only to rally once again into the last hour. The oil drillers reversed course, rallying once Noble Energy received a drilling contract in the Gulf of Mexico. The Dow Industrials finished up an impressive 95 points or 0.8% at 12,226. The Dow rallied 2.8% for the month. The S&P 500 index rose 7 points to 1,327 today and rallied 3.2% for the month. The Nasdaq Composite index inched up a point to 2782, rallying 3% for the month. The major averages are up five of the last six months for a return of 26% since September 1st. I wish it was that easy all the time.