The Week In Review


March 20, 2009
U.S. stocks on Friday started higher, heading towards their first two-week stretch of gains since May 2008. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 27 points to 7,428. The S&P 500 rose a point to 785 while the Nasdaq Composite gained 6 points to 1,489. The financials opened higher, but quickly sold off. Citigroup is modestly higher on a management shake up. GE is lower by 3% under $10 a share again. Two analysts cut estimates on General Electric this morning. Morgan Stanley was upgraded, however, the stock is lower. American Express is lower by 2% due to a downgrade and concerns the dividend will get cut. The tech sector is holding in there. Palm is higher following less than stellar earnings. IBM continues to perform well. Corning is modestly higher following positive comments from an analyst at Collins Stewart. Research in Motion is higher on an upgrade. Xerox is down 11% after cutting their first quarter estimates. The retail sector has had a great run, but is trading lower today. Best Buy was upgrade, but the stock is lower as it seems to have run out of gas. J.Crew is down 8% on a downgrade. Nike is down for a second straight day following earnings on Wednesday. This morning, the shoe company announced cost cuts. Blockbuster is down 3% after reporting another quarterly loss. After the first hour, the averages were unchanged. The financials are succumbing to heavy selling. Through the morning, into the lunch hour, the averages remained quiet. The financials remain in the red. In the afternoon, the selling accelerated with the Dow dropping over 100 points. Very few stocks remain in the green. In the last hour, the averages tried to rebound, but sold back off into the close. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 122 points, or 1.7%, at 7,278, leaving the blue-chip index up 0.7% for the week. The S&P 500 fell 15 points, or 2%, to land at 768, up 1.5% from the week-ago close. The Nasdaq Composite shed 26 points, or 1.8%, to 1,457, leaving the technology-laden index up 1.8% from last Friday's close.

March 19, 2009
U.S. stocks opened higher on Thursday, extending the prior day's strong gains, with investors still basking in the Federal Reserve's latest move to help the troubled economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 43 points to 7,529. Alcoa is jumping 10% on an upgrade. The S&P 500 Index climbed 7 points to 801 while the Nasdaq Composite gained 12 points to 1,503. The financials remain in focus. Citigroup surged 20% on the open. AIG, Freddie, Fannie, and Bank of America are higher as well. GE is up 4% on positive comments that GE Capital will remain profitable for the full year. Outside the financials, plenty of other positive developments. Oracle is jumping 12% after beating estimates by 3 cents. Corning is higher thanks to encouraging comments regarding business. AMD raised estimates however the company continues to lose money. Other good signs are coming from earnings reports from FedEx, Barnes & Noble, and Nike. FedEx is jumping 7% on encouraging signs business could pick up. Barnes & Noble is up 2%. Nike blew past estimates, however the stock is lower. Childrens' Place is lower even though they beat estimates. After the first half an hour, the averages sold off. Many of the financials fell into the red except for Citigroup. After the first hour, the Dow was down 15 points. The Nasdaq was unchanged. The commodities are performing well ever since the Fed's announcement yesterday. Through the morning, the selling accelerated particularly within the financials. Citigroup, among others, dropped over 25% from its' morning highs. Wild times. Commodities remain the strongest sector. In the afternoon the averages remained weak selling back off in the last hour toward the lows of the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 85 points at 7,400. The S&P 500 declined 10 points to 784 while the Nasdaq Composite shed 7 points to close at 1,483.

March 18, 2009
After hitting a near four-week high in the prior session, the averages are succumbing to profit-taking. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 69 points to 7,326. The S&P 500 fell 7 points to 770 while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 7 points to 1,454. The selling today is broad based. Even the defensive names like General Mills aren't immune to the economic weakness. General Mills is down 10% to new lows after missing estimates by 9 cents. Most of the financials are lower except for a select few. Bank of America is higher on comments from the CEO indicating they hope to pay back the TARP money by the end of the year or early next year. A bold statement. Hopefully it pans out. Citigroup is also higher by 10%. Morgan Stanley is down 6% on a downgrade and Fulton Financial is lower by 7% after slashing their dividend. The insurance stocks are modestly higher. Metlife is up 6% following a presentation indicating that their capital cushion is sound. In the tech sector, rumors are circling that IBM will buy SunMicrosystem. Sun is jumping 65% while IBM is down 2.5%. EMC is up 2% on an upgrade. Adobe is up 7% on solid earnings. In the retail sector, Guess jeans is up 7% on in line earnings. Darden Restaurants is jumping 15% on blow out earnings. I guess people are still eating out. After the first hour, the Dow pushed lower by 125 points. The Nasdaq declined by 11 points. Through the morning the averages remained weak, but off the lows. A number of techs are improving while Citigroup and Bank of America are acting great. Bank of America is up 8% while Citigroup is up 25%. Not bad. In the afternoon, the Dow remained in the red even as the financials continued to improve. The Nasdaq is in the green by 7 points. As the afternoon progressed, the Fed left rates unchanged, but surprised Wallstreet by increasing their purchases of mortgage back securities and long term Treasury bonds in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Bond yields plunged on this news, sending the equity markets shooting into the green. Entering the last hour, the Dow rose 150 points. The Nasdaq rallied 40 points. The financials look great. In the last hour, the averages gave up most of their gains only to rebound into the close. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied 90 points, or 1.2%, to finish at 7,486. The S&P 500 Index added 16 points, or 2.1%, to 794, after briefly topping 800 for the first time since Feb. 17. The Nasdaq Composite gained 29 points, or 2%, to close at 1,491.

March 17, 2009
U.S. stocks turned mildly higher at Tuesday's start, with a better-than-anticipated report about the troubled housing sector offsetting gloomy outlooks from Alcoa, Nucor, and Nokia. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 19 points to 7,236 even as Alcoa drops 12%. The S&P 500 gained 3 points to 756 while the Nasdaq Composite added 10 points to 1,414. The financials are in the spotlight once again. Citigroup is trading higher as it continues its' rally. The rest of the financials are more mixed. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley both received upgrades and downgrades. HSBC is up 2.5% on an upgrade. American Express is down a percent due to a downgrade. Meredith Whitney suggested American Express should merge with Citigroup. I'm not sure that'll ever happen. The techs are lower. Nokia is selling off, but Google is higher. Jefferies made positive comments on the Internet giant. Cisco is higher on an upgrade while Oracle is lower after having their estimates reduced. Most of the commodity stocks are lower. Nucor is down 12% dragging down the steel stocks. U.S. Steel started at $20 a share five years ago, ran up to $196 last year, then collapsed back to $20 dollars in just 9 months. The fertilizer stocks are lower as production and demand remains weak. After the first hour, the Dow was in the red. The Nasdaq nudged up 13 points. The retail sector is performing well. Lowes, Kohls, Hopme Depot, and Best Buy are all up 3% or more on upgrades. Dicks is up 2% on an upgrade. Through the morning the Nasdaq remained in the green while the Dow vacillated around the unchanged level. During the lunch hour, the rally accelerated. The Dow jumped 70 points. The Nasdaq improved by 28 points. The averages remained in the green through the afternoon, accelerating in the last hour. And unlike yesterday, the averages held on to their gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 178 points, or 2.5%, at 7,395, its highest close since Feb. 19. The S&P 500 Index climbed 24 points, or 3.2%, to 778 while the Nasdaq Composite surged 58 points, or 4.1%, to 1,462.

March 16, 2009
U.S. stocks rose firmly at the open Monday, continuing last week's sharp rally, after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said he expects the recession to end this year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 48 points to 7,271. The S&P 500 index gained five points to 761, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 4 points to 1,435. The financials continue their modest rally. Barclays is up 15% on an upbeat assessment of business. Citigroup is up 11%, Bank of America is up 8%, and GE is up 3% above $10 for the first time in over a month. JP Morgan is up 2% on an upgrade and a $45 price target. Lincoln and Hartford Financial are both higher even though they were downgraded. After the open, the techs gave up their gains. Corning is modestly higher on positive comments from Barclays. Intel was upgraded, yet the stock is lower. Oil is lower today, but Exxon is higher thanks to an upgrade. Agrium and CF Industries are higher as merger talks continue to evolve. Union Pacific is jumping 6% due to an upgrade. Abbott Labs is up 2% on an upgrade. So far so good. After the first hour, the Dow remained strong up 70 points thanks to the financials. The Nasdaq, however, is in the red. Through the morning, the Dow kept pushing higher thanks to the financials. I haven't been able to say that in a long time. Entering the lunch hour, the Dow was up over 100 points as Citigroup jumped over 30%. AIG is up 67% as the government moves in to prevent further short selling. In the afternoon the Dow kept surging thanks to the financials. Barrons wrote a positive cover piece on the two largest investment banks, Goldman and Morgan Stanley. Ironically, they're both lower. In the last hour, our great rally completely fizzled. Only a select number of financials and commodities remained in the green. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 7 points at 7,216. The S&P 500 Index ended down 2 points at 753 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 27 points, or 1.9%, to 1,404.