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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]...

Taking Stock

Oil On Charted Waters The slightest acquaintance with analyzing price behaviors of stocks invariably brings the inquirer into a world of charts, cyclical analyses and other predicting tools. They come in an amazing variety-from simple records of price movements over time periods...

Taking Stock

Opportunity Rising The Old Year fled as the New Year stumbled in without the usual year-end “Santa Claus Rally.” Oil prices continued their collapse with the spillover impacting all commodity prices. On balance, these drops are a net benefit for the global economy but the...

Taking Stock

From Trick Or Treat To Naughty Or Nice Only a few weeks ago, kids were in Halloween costumes and the Dow Jones Industrials Average was nearing 17,500. Stock averages then began to reach all-time highs just before oil prices plunged and stocks joined the slide. Oil prices are now...

Taking Stock

Low Pump Prices Pump Up Shoppers Sliding oil prices greased the skids for the largest stock market decline in two months. Media commentators sounded their usual tocsins of doom, continuing their practices of attracting followers through useless and inaccurate predictions. The...

Taking Stock

Gas, Oil And Dividends Gas pump prices dropped to their lowest levels in four years. This gives U.S. drivers some extra shopping power. The slide followed the wholesale barrel price, down 40% since June, skidding even more when OPEC did not reduce production, as was the rumor....

Taking Stock

Some Favorite Things For Thanksgiving Stocks are finishing the month of November on an upswing that market history indicates will persist through the year-end. In September and early October, the stock market experienced its first “correction” in two years. Since that dip, stocks...

Taking Stock

Drilling For Dollars Crude oil prices have dropped to below $75 a barrel, down 30% this year to a four-year low. The causes stem from changed trends in supply and demand, with consequences to global economies, stock prices and consumer spending. Prices for other commodities,...

Taking Stock

The Band Plays On In October, the stock market achieved a remarkable reversal to the upside. It is now moving toward new highs like a soprano repeating curtain calls to continuing applause. Investors are a less forgiving audience and many now fret whether the next performances...

Taking Stock

‘Tis The Season Like a vanishing Halloween ghost, the Federal Reserve ended the tapering of its bond-buying program, at least for the time being. As the Fed announced last month that it intended to end the program this month, the news should not have been surprising although Wall...

Taking Stock

Volatility Is Back After stock market averages set record highs in mid-August, stocks sagged, interrupting the market’s recently re-established uptrend. The buoyant markets of the last couple of years must have spoiled investors; financial media featured predictions of doom even...

Taking Stock

Bad News And Good News Stocks began the third quarter with a Fourth of July bang and ended it with a whimper. The averages crested at new highs in mid-August, then slipped back, finally ending the quarter up 1% on both the Dow Jones Industrials and the S&P 500. Even that...