The Week In Review


December 16, 2011

U.S. stocks open higher after a report showed the cost of living held flat in November, bolstering the Federal Reserve's take that inflation is not an issue now for the U.S. economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 92 points to 11,961. The S&P 500 added 10 points to 1,226. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 23 points to 2,564. The news out of Europe is quiet for now which means the financials are higher even as Fitch downgraded a number of them last night. Discover and US Bancorp are up 2% on upgrades. The techs are mixed. Adobe looks good up 8% after beating estimates. The chip space looks good. Qualcomm is up 2% on an upgrade. Research in Motion on the other hand is down 11% to a new 52 week low and an eight year low on another disappointing quarter and guidance. Research in Motion is a classic value trap stock. The commodity and energy space looks good. AK Steel is higher on an upgrade and in-line guidance last night. Rare Earth stocks, Molycorp and Thompson Creek are higher on positive comments. Through the first hour the averages remained strong near the highs of the day on light volume. The defensive sectors like utilities and healthcare are underperforming. Besides Research in Motion, Cablevision is down 13% to a new low as the COO stepped down today following the departure of the President last month. The stock is down 65% since June only out done by Research in Motion which is down 80% since February. A year not to remember. Through the morning the Dow drifted off the highs falling into the red during the lunch hour with IBM down 2%. The utilities and healthcare sectors are in the red. AT&T is unchanged even though they raised their dividend by a penny. A new Internet social networking firm came public today only to almost immediately fall below the IPO price. In the old days companies came public to make people money. Now they're better at losing money for investors. Through the afternoon the averages moved sideways limping into the close. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 2 points at 11,866, leaving it down 2.6% from last Friday's close. The S&P 500 added 3 points to 1,219. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 14 points to 2,555. Not a good week.

December 15, 2011

U.S. stocks started higher Thursday, rebounding from the prior session's decline and helped by better U.S. jobs data and some improvement in European bond markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 118 points, or 1%, to 11,941. The S&P 500 gained 12 points to 1,224. The Nasdaq Composite rose 22 points, to 2,561. Lifting sentiment ahead of the open, the Labor Department said first-time jobless claims fell 19,000 to 366,000, the lowest level since May 2008. A Philly Fed number also indicated better than expected manufacturing data so the US is on the mend, but the rest of the world is slowing down. For the second straight day the financials are outperforming the broader market. Morgan Stanley is higher after announcing job cuts. Discover is one of the few financials lower even though they beat estimates. MasterCard is higher on positive analyst comments. The techs are modestly higher this morning. Novellus is jumping 22% after agreeing to be bought by Lam Research. Lam is down 3%. Google, Marvell, Broadcom, Cisco, Apple, and Cree are higher on upgrades. Adobe is higher ahead of earnings tonight. Rite Aid and Scholastic are higher following earnings. Winnebago is lower after missing estimates. Deckers Outdoors is down 8% on a downgrade. Through the first hour the averages succumbed to profit-taking. The Dow, however, remains in the green. Transportation stock FedEx is higher by 5% on better than expected earnings. I wouldn't want to be a FedEx driver the next several weeks. Through the morning the Dow remained in the green. The defensive sectors like utilities, consumer staples, and healthcare remain the top performers. In the afternoon the Dow remained in the green even as the financials gave up most of their gains. The Nasdaq remained stuck at the unchanged level. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 45 points at 11,868, trimming its loss for the week so far to 2.6%. The S&P 500 rose 3 points to 1,215, leaving it down 3.1% from last Friday's close. The Nasdaq Composite gained nearly 2 points to 2,541, with the index off 4% for the not-yet-ended week.

December 14, 2011

U.S. stocks opened lower on Wednesday, extending losses into a third day, as Italy's borrowing costs rose to a record after Italy's auction of five-year debt and the euro broke 11-month lows against the dollar. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 38 points to 11,916. The S&P 500 Index declined 3 points to 1,222. The Nasdaq Composite shed 14 points to 2,565. A disturbing trend of late is more negative preannouncements for the fourth quarter. The fourth quarter is typically the best quarter of the year. This morning, mining giant Joy Global is down 9% after lowering guidance. First Solar is down 20% after lowering guidance. After the open Caterpillar dropped 3% as they also lowered guidance. Intel, Best Buy, and DuPont also lowered guidance this week. DuPont was downgraded this morning. The industrial and material sectors are taking it on the chin. The energy sector is also lower. In the commodity space, gold is down 3% while oil is down 4%. Agrium upped their dividend dramatically, but the stock is still lower. The tech sector is also succumbing to profit-taking. Google bumped up against resistance a couple days ago only to sell back off. The tech giant Apple is also lower. A few techs are higher like Broadcom. That stock is up 4% on positive guidance. Luckily for them, they have Apple as a big customer. Through the first hour the averages pushed lower with the Dow dropping over 100 points while the Nasdaq declined 40 points. The financials opened lower, but have lifted off the lows. At some point the banks will have no where to go, but up. The place to be remains the defensive sectors like healthcare, utilities, and consumer staples. Through the morning the averages remained weak. During the lunch hour the averages bounced off the lows thanks to an improvement within the financials. The insurance stocks also look good thanks in part to Progressive up 4% following better than expected earnings. Through the afternoon the averages sold off once again. The Dow dropped over 100 points partly due to Chevron's 4% decline on liability concerns for a Brazilian oil spill. The Dow fell as much as 160 points only to recover into the close. Another wild day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 131 points, or 1.1%, at 11,823, led by a 4.4% decline in Caterpillar. The S&P 500 lost 13 points, or 1.1%, to 1,211. Energy stocks led a decline in all 10 S&P 500 industry sectors as oil futures dropped below $95 a barrel, down 5.2%. The Nasdaq Composite fell 39 points, or 1.6%, to 2,539.

December 13, 2011

U.S. stocks opened higher on Tuesday, with sentiment lifted after a successful government debt auction in Spain and upbeat economic data from Germany. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 108 points to 12,129. Boeing looks good after hiking their dividend yesterday and an upgrade this morning. The S&P 500 Index advanced 10 points to 1,247. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 26 points to 2,639. One day down, the next day higher. That's the theme for the last several weeks. The news out of Europe has eased for a day allowing the financials to inch higher. Morgan Stanley announced a settlement with bond insurer MBIA for $1.8 billion. Both stocks are up 4%. Financial Engines is up 5% on an upgrade. Visa and MasterCard are higher on upgrades. The techs look pretty good except for Intel. Intel is modestly lower after preannouncing yesterday. Microsoft is higher however even though it was downgraded this morning. Google looks good up $10 breaking out of its' recent range. Apple is modestly higher. Through the first hour the averages accelerated on rumors of QE III talk from the Fed this afternoon. Noble Energy, Apache, Chesapeake Energy, Hess, and Marathon Oil are all higher on upgrades. DuPont is higher after reiterating 2012 guidance. After the first hour the rally began to fizzle. A number of financials fell into the red. The consumer discretionary sector is lower thanks in part to Best Buy. Best Buy is down 10% after missing earnings estimates. Panera Bread is lower even though it was upgraded this morning. Urban Outfitters is jumping 10% on better than expected sales data. Netflix is higher on an upgrade. Through the morning into the afternoon the averages crept higher anticipating good news out the Fed. The Fed, however, did nothing deflating the bull's case. Into the last hour the Nasdaq fell into the red and the Dow wilted as well. Most of the financials are in the red along with the materials and consumer discretionary. In the last hour the selling accelerated with the Dow dropping 100 points only to recover a little into the close. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 66 points to 11,954, led by Alcoa and Caterpillar. The S&P 500 fell 10 points to 1,225, led by the consumer discretionary and natural-resource sectors. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 32 points, or 1.3%, to 2,579.

December 12, 2011

U.S. stocks opened sharply lower on Monday after Moody's Investors Service said it would review the ratings of countries in the euro area and Intel trimmed its fourth-quarter revenue outlook. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 113 points to 12,070. The S&P 500 Index shed 14 points to 1,240. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 40 points to 2,606. Not a lot of good news this morning. The financials are getting hit once again as they fluctuated back and forth everyday. Wells Fargo is lower even though FBR made positive comments. Travelers is also lower on an upgrade while Toll Brothers is down 2% on a downgrade. Diamond Foods is also on a roller coaster ride as investors worry the company is cooking their books. The tech sector was one area where growth looked good until this morning when Intel preannounced due to supply shortages. The stock is down 4% dragging the sector with it. is down 4% on a downgrade even though cloud computing remains one of the fastest growing sectors in the tech space. We're running out of places to invest. In the energy space a number of oil drillers received positive comments, but are trading lower. Transocean and ESV are two stocks lower on upgrades. Even the best performing sector this year, utilities is trading lower. Southern Company is modestly lower on a downgrade. Through the first hour the averages remained weak with the Dow down over 100 points and the Nasdaq down 44 points. No where to hide this morning. Through the morning the averages drifted lower. No buyers out there. During the lunch hour the Dow fell over 200 points. The Nasdaq dropped over 50 points. No place to hide. In the afternoon the Dow fell as much as 240 points before slowly improving. McDonalds is the only Dow component higher at an all time high. Boeing hiked their dividend, but the stock is lower. Pfizer also hiked their dividend and increased their share buyback, but that stock is lower as well. Hard to please this market. In the last hour the averages slowly improved, but volume remains light. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 162 points, or 1.3%, at 12,021. The S&P 500 dropped 18 points, or 1.5%, to 1,236, led by pullbacks in financials and natural-resource sectors. The Nasdaq Composite lost 34 points, or 1.3%, to 2,612.