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Taking Stock

The Fed Points The Way The Federal Reserve under new Chair Janet Yellen continues to shape the financial markets. Its policies persist in those set by her predecessor, Ben Bernanke, who led the recovery from the financial disasters of 2007-2008. New programs of unprecedented...

Taking Stock

Pyrotechnics on the Street and in Mid Air Stocks celebrated the Glorious Fourth with fireworks, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average finally went through 17,000. Investment returns are shining under “the rockets red glare.” Like rockets, stocks shoot up and then come down, but...

Oil for Troubled Waters  American consumers have been unusually restrained over the past five years. The financial crisis shook complacency in reliable real estate investment. It destroyed many jobs, some gone forever. Computers are taking over many functions, boosting busine...

Taking Stock

The Fed Keeps The Course The Federal Reserve continues to keep a gentle but steady grip on the tiller. It lowered its growth forecast for the rest of 2014 although it noted that recovery was continuing, allowing it to take another step backwards from its stimulus strategy. As...

Taking Stock

New Weeks, New Highs The market uptrend continues with stocks quietly making new highs on both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500. Trading volume is up, signaling institutional buying support. The European Central Bank finally made a substantial cut in interest...

Taking Stock

Finally, The Uptrend Is Back At last, the market averages pushed through their recent ceilings on increased volume, confirming a resumed uptrend. For several weeks, stocks have advanced on lower volume without conviction, in the manner of someone trying to pad quietly up a flight...

Taking Stock

Sell In May Or Wish You’d Stayed? Wall Street has many sayings that remain popular since they promise success without thinking. Typically, they also encourage generating commissions by prompting buying or selling stock as in “Sell in May and go away.” There are some historical...

Taking Stock

Competence Is Scarce Spring is here. After sliding into a correction, stocks rebounded in mid-April with three straight up days that prodded the S&P 500 back to a positive number for 2014. Volume was only moderate but trading during Passover and Holy Week always slows....

Taking Stock

Singing The Blues Wall Street almost ignored publication of a new book charging widespread irregularities in high-speed trading. After a brief flurry, the market moved up to new all-time highs on both the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Regulators were not so...

Taking Stock

Living With Corrections Stocks are closing the quarter down around 2% for March and breakeven for the year so far. After strong performance in 2013 following a good year in 2012, some loss of momentum is normal. The market’s uptrend has been under increasing pressure for weeks...

Taking Stock

The Catalyst King Stocks sometimes get a catalytic boost from news of a spin-off or of an activist investor buying shares. Like stock splits, there are no immediate changes in the company’s financial status but the prospect of change encourages investors. General Electric...

Taking Stock

Three For The Road Aftershocks continue from the Financial Crisis and the worldwide Great Recession, which bottomed out five years ago. Their impact was the most severe since the Great Depression. Scars to the global economy were deep and widespread with a lasting impact on...

Taking Stock

Happy Birthday, Bull Market! The bull market in stocks is five years old this week. That certainly does not signal running to the hills, panicked selling never being a successful investment strategy, particularly since stocks have averaged a 26% gain over the year following a...

Taking Stock

Higher Altitudes The stock market is flirting with new highs on the S&P 500-stock index. As I wrote two weeks, ago momentum seemed destined to take the market to new highs. The Dow Jones Industrials need about a 300-point rise. That might seem like a lot but it is really less...

Taking Stock

Bounces And Bumps Next month, an array of laser devices mounted on top of high-rise apartment buildings in New Jersey begins operations. Their function is to zip market data 35 miles between the data centers of the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Market data center...