The Week In Review


April 3, 2009
U.S. stocks open modestly higher, continuing gains into a fourth session straight, even though investors found little to cheer about regarding the March unemployment report, other than it was not as grim as expected. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 18 points to 7,996. The S&P 500 Index rose a point to 836 while the Nasdaq Composite climbed a point to 1,604. Not much news other than the economic data. Research in Motion is jumping 20% after easily beating estimates, then raising guidance. Rimm's good news is helping their suppliers and competitors. Other than that, not much is working. The economy lost 663,000 jobs last month while unemployment jumped to 8.5%, the highest level since 1983. That's not good, but we expected bad news. After the open, the averages slipped into the red. The financials are trading sideways which is actually a good thing. Disney, Nokia, and Whole Foods are lower on downgrades. Monsanto is down 4.5% on a downgrade. After the first hour, the Dow was down 40 points. The Nasdaq dropped 4 points. So far a quiet morning. Entering the lunch hour, the averages tried to recover with the techs leading the way. In the afternoon, many of the techs and the Nasdaq moved in the green. The financials remain unchanged and the Dow is modestly lower. Entering the last hour, all the major averages were in the green and remained in the green. Another good week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 39 points, or 0.5%, to end at 8,017, for a weekly advance of 3.1%. The S&P 500 Index rose 8 points, or 1%, to settle at 842, up 3.3% for the week. The Nasdaq Composite gained 19 points, or 1.2%, to close at 1,621, a weekly advance of 5%. Not bad.

April 2, 2009
U.S. stocks surged at Thursday's start, bolstered by optimism the economy is hopefully bottoming and accounting standards for banks will be eased. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 144 points to 7,906. The S&P 500 climbed 18 points to 829, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 28 points to 1,579. The financials are jumping on the start thanks to expectations FASB will ease rules regarding mark to marketing of illiquid assets. Bank of America is up 7% as CEO Ken Lewis is making comments to ease concerns about the stability of his company. Deutsche Bank is up 11% as comments from the company imply that revenue remains solid. KB Homes and Pulte Homes are modestly higher even though both were downgraded. The tech stocks are performing well. Amazon is up 1.5% even though the stock was downgraded. On the earnings front, Monsanto is higher after beating expectations. Rite Aid and CarMax are also higher following earnings. The commodities are jumping. The price of oil is up $3 above $50 a barrel. After the first hour, the averages remained strong with the Dow jumping 200 points. The Nasdaq was up 47 points. Through the morning the averages kept improving. The financials pulled back from their highs after FASB confirmed they would ease the accounting standards. Morgan Stanley actually fell into the red, then JP Morgan fell into the red. Other sectors like the retailers and techs look great. Commodities are performing well except for gold. In the afternoon, more of the same. The averages remained strong, but most of the financials are giving up their gains. Entering the last hour, the Dow was moving back toward the highs of the day back above 8000. The Nasdaq is up 60 points back in positive territory for the year. In the last hour, we witnessed a little profit-taking. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 216 points, or 2.8%, to finish at 7,978, its highest close since Feb. 9. The S&P 500 gained 23
points, or 2.9%, to 834, while the Nasdaq Composite climbed 51 points, or 3.3%, to 1,602.

April 1, 2009
U.S. stocks started lower on Wednesday, kicking off the second quarter amid worries about General Motors and data showing the labor market weakened further in March. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 97 points to 7,511. GM is down 5%. The S&P 500 Index shed 12 points to 785 while the Nasdaq Composite declined 25 points to 1,503. Unfortunately, today is starting like the beginning of every recent quarter with weakness. The financials are lower except for Goldman and Morgan which Dick Bove expects to perform well under the government's stress test. Mastercard is down 5% after agreeing to cut fees in Europe to settle a lawsuit. Thornburg Mortgage had to file for bankruptcy today. A sad sign. The techs are lower although VMware, Amazon, Akamai, Autodesk, and Nvidia were all upgraded. VMware is up 6%. EMC is lower on a downgrade. At 10 o'clock, better than expected housing sales and other economic data brought the buyers back in. The financials recovered quickly with many moving into the green. A very positive sign. Oil pushed lower on higher inventory numbers. Another positive sign. After the first hour, the Dow rose 50 points led by the financials. The Nasdaq rose just 6 points. A great start to the day. I hope it lasts. Through the morning the averages gave up some of their gains, but remained in positive territory. The retail sector is fixed today. Urban Outfitters is down 6% after lowering estimates. The once high-flying shoe company, Heelys is down 7% after missing estimates by a wide margin. In the afternoon, the averages kept pushing higher in a more broad based participation. All the automakers reported awful March sales. I can't remember the last time auto sales increased. Entering the last hour, the averages were off the highs, but finished strong. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 152 points, or 2%, at 7,761. The S&P 500 Index gained 13 points, or 1.7%, at 811, while the Nasdaq Composite jumped 23 points, or 1.5%, to close at 1,551.

March 31, 2009
U.S. stocks opened higher on Tuesday, the final trading session of the first quarter, ahead of data expected to show an improvement in consumer confidence in March. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 79 points to 7,601. Alcoa is higher on an upgrade. The S&P 500 index gained 8 points to 795, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 22 points, or 1.5%, to 1,524. Ahead of the open, the stock futures showed little reaction to a report that home prices fell a record 19% in the 12-months ended in January, although home builder, Lennar is down 8% after missing estimates by a wide margin. Most of the financials are trading higher. Congressman, Barney Frank is asking for more realistic mark to market accounting standards which is good. The tech sector is performing well. Google is higher on an upgrade. Also, the company inked a distribution deal with Disney for their Youtube division. Amazon and Microsoft are higher following upgrades. The commodity sector is holding firm. Freeport McMoRan is one of the few commodity stocks trading lower on a downgrade. The healthcare sector looks good. Unitedhealth Group is up 3%. Aetna is up 3% after having their credit rating reaffirmed. After the first half an hour, the averages pulled back only to rebound once again. After the first hour, the Dow jumped 100 points as the financials continued to improve. Congressman, Barney Frank is making more favorable announcements regarding mark to market accounting, in particular, allowing banks to recoup some of their losses they took under the more stringent rules. The Nasdaq rose 27 points. Even though the averages look good, some sectors are more mixed. The retail sector is showing some weakness. Callaway is lower after having their earnings numbers cut. The commodities are pulling back. Freeport McMoRan is now down 4%. In the afternoon the Dow inched higher, rising 140 points. The Nasdaq rose 38 points. Everything seems to be working. In the last hour, the sellers stepped back in to create a little more volatility. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 86 points, or 1.2%, to end at 7,608. For the month, the Dow gained 7.7%, its best monthly gain since October 2002. The S&P 500 index gained 10 points, or 1.3%, to close at 797. It rose 8.5% for the month, also its best monthly performance since October 2002. The Nasdaq Composite gained 26 points, or 1.8%, to end at 1,528. It rose 10.9% in March, its best monthly gain since November 2002. For the quarter, the Dow fell 13.3%, the S&P 500 declined 11.7%, and the Nasdaq dropped 3.1%.

April 30, 2009
U.S. stocks opened sharply lower Monday after the White House said bankruptcy was a possibility for General Motors and Chrysler. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 195 points, or 2.6%, to 7,582. Shares of GM is slumping 25%. The S&P 500 index lost 20 points, or 2.6%, to 794, while the Nasdaq Composite fell 35 points, or 2.3%, to 1,509. The government rejected the viability plans the automakers submitted in response to requests for government loans. The White House said a structured bankruptcy plan for the two automakers could give them their "best chance at success". All the automakers are lower. The financials are also under heavy selling pressure. Lincoln National is one of the weakest financials down 33% on a downgrade. Coincidently, the bank is also named after a Ford model car. UBS is down 8% on more job cuts and forecasts for more writedowns. BB&T is down 6% on a downgrade. Metlife was upgraded, but the stock is lower by 8%. Travelers is one of the few financials higher on an upgrade. Nothing looks good today. In the tech sector, IBM is down 2% on more job cuts. Juniper is down 6% after having their numbers cut. Intel was upgraded, but the stock is lower. The commodities are all lower. Two fertilizer stocks, Potash and Mosaic are lower thanks to downgrades. After the first hour, the averages pushed lower. The Dow dropped 270 points. The Nasdaq declined 50 points. Today is nothing like last Monday. Through the morning and into the afternoon, the averages remained weak near the lows of the day. No bounces yet. In the last hour, the best we can say is that we rebounded off the lows. The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 254 points, or 3.3%, to 7,522. The S&P 500 lost 28 points, or 3.5%, to trade at 787 while the Nasdaq Composite fell 43 points, or 2.8%, to 1,501.