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Taking Stock

Keeping Stocks On Course The stock market indices continue to crawl toward record highs without attracting much interest and even less enthusiasm. Despite the usual sound and fury, the overall market gains are tepid with both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500...

Taking Stock

The Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days Of Summer The stock market beat goes on. Rumors of Greece defaulting on government debt scare investors and stocks then dip. Rumors that its debt problem will somehow be restructured send the market back up. After a couple of these zigzags, stocks...

Taking Stock

Here Comes June, Here Comes The Economy The economy contracted during the first quarter. The Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank, which accurately predicted this disappointing first quarter, just updated its forecast for the current second quarter to a 1.1% increase in GDP. This doesn’t...

Taking Stock

Readiness is All Slow growth continues. This is a generally favorable environment for stock investors as it discourages the booms and busts that accompany apparent but unsustainable growth surges. Recent examples were the dot.com frenzy of 2000 and the popping of the housing...

Taking Stock

The Tree in the Forest If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? This philosophical thought experiment reminds me of the muted manner in which the financial media is reacting to stock market averages climbing to new highs. During the past...

Taking Stock

Home On The Trading Range Stocks continue trading in a concise range. The Dow Jones Industrial Average began the year at 17,823, sagged to 17,164 on January 30 and made a record closing high of 18,828 on March 23. It’s currently around 18,250, almost midway between the year’s...

Taking Stock

Farewell ‘til September One of the many veteran Wall Street sayings is Sell in May and go away, come again after St. Leger’s Day. St. Leger’s Day, Sept. 14, has been commemorated in England since 1776 [!] by the St. Leger Stakes, the final race in England’s Triple Crown. The...

Taking Stock

New High Ground  The stock market continues to generate more activity in the media than in price movements of stocks. For the recent quarter ending March 31, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 17,775 and the S&P 500 at 2068, just where they were on New Year’s Day....

Taking Stock

Round And Round It Goes Round and round it goes, and where it stops the Chairwoman knows. Wall Street is intensely waiting for the next Federal Reserve move as if watching for white smoke at a papal conclave signaling the election of a new Pope. Interest rate levels bear...

Taking Stock

March Market Madness  Volatility is back. Actually, it’s never gone away; just hiding when stocks put together a string of up days before reversing. J.P. Morgan, who dominated American finance during his time, said, when asked what the stock market will do, “It will fluctuate.”...

Taking Stock

Highs, Dips And Pullbacks The stock market is doing the hokey pokey. First they put a record high in and then they take a record high out. No need, however, for investors to “shake it all about” as market conditions for growth-stock pickers remain quite positive. The S&P 500...

Taking Stock

Riding Higher All three major stock averages are competing for new headline highs. Both the broad-based S&P 500 and the Dow 30 closed at record highs within the past week. The financial media credited prospective Federal Reserve actions or, more accurately, lack of actions,...

Taking Stock

The Bumpy Road to Investment Returns Stocks are taking the bumpy road to investment progress. Their price volatility softened during the last half of 2014 but returned in February to a familiar zigzag pattern. The S&P 500 was up 11% for 2014 so these ups and downs need not...

Taking Stock

Plus Ça Change “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” A French novelist originated this proverb (Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.) later adopted by George Bernard Shaw and Bon Jovi. Stock market moods and moves continually echo its wisdom. A few months...

Taking Stock

Dividends Beat Bonds Many factors influence the prices of stocks, yet from today’s financial news, one could conclude that they are dominated by the price of oil. Oil prices influence all of us and it makes for more dramatic headlines than announcing that yields declined [again]...