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WJR December 2001 reports

December 31, 2001

It's the end of a year that just about everyone would like to forget, but never will. That goes for the stock market, as well. Unless something phemonenal happens today, the major stock market indexes will finish with losses for the second year in a row. That's the first time that's happened in 23 years, which is roughly the age of your typical mutual fund manager.

Last Friday a bunch of economic indicators were released, and they were uniformly good. Durable goods orders, minus defense spending were up almost 5%, that's the second month in a row. New home and existing home sales were up again, and the Conference Board's Consumer Confindence Index jumped to 93.7 from 84.9 in November.

There should be a lot of last minute trading by the true procrastinators today. A lot of investors are sitting on a lot of losses that they may want to recognize. Just remember, once you have net capital losses of more than $3,000, they don't get you any tax benefit until the 2002 tax year.

Looks like a slightly weaker opening on the way at 9:30. Adjusted S&P futures are down 3, Dow futures are down 25 and the Nasdaq futures are about 5 points below fair value.

December 28, 2001

All the economic news that, but for Christmas, would have come earlier than the week, is on its way today. The November Durable Goods number, Existing and New Home Sales, lots of numbers to choose from by 10 o'clock this morning.

OPEC made it official this morning. There will be an oil production cut of one and a half million barrels a day, and so far, some non-OPEC countries have agreed to get on board. Russia, Norway and Mexico have agreed to cut their production by not quite a half-million barrels. But, we've seen this movie before. If the non-OPEC countries stick to their promise, oil prices may, indeed rise. But, if Russia again uses an OPEC cutback as an opportunity to increase their own market share, OR the U.S. starts pulling down on our own reserves OR if the world wide economy continues to slip - OPEC can cut all they want - they'll be pushing on a string. OPEC wants the price of oil back up to 25 bucks a barrel. This morning, Brent Sea crude is up 42 cents to 20 dollars and 72 cents.

Only two trading days till next year! Get those year-end adjustments done now.

Adjusted S&P futures are up 2 ½ , Dow futures are up 7 and the Nasdaq futures are about 4 points above fair value.

December 27, 2001

Although is came on light volume, we had a very nice rally going yesterday. The Dow spent most of the day up over 100 points. Then, word spread about the release of the latest bin Laden video. By the reaction, you would have thought they'd re-released Ishtar. Nevertheless, we still finished the day with a decent gain and the futures indicate that the momentum may continue this morning.

At 10 o'clock this morning the Conference Board will release its December Consumer Confidence number, which is expected to rise juts a bit to a level of 83.

The price of oil is bouncing around this morning. Brent crude is up about 5%, over 20 bucks per barrel. The Saudi Oil Minister said overnight that an agreement has been reached to cut oil production by 1 ½ million barrels next Tuesday. Sooner or later, they're going to get one of these cutback agreements to stick.

Overnight, Asia was up, European markets are up this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 3, Dow futures are up 31 and the Nasdaq is looking to start the day up about 5 points.

December 26, 2001

If you started your Christmas shopping like I always do - at about noon on Christmas Eve, you may have noticed something a little different this year -- elbow room at the mall. The late surge of shoppers wasn't such a surge this Holiday season, and that has a lot of strategists guessing that retailers' earnings may be a little on the soft side this year. That may mean even deeper discounts in the after-Holiday season. So, what may be bad news if you own retailing stocks may be great news if you're going shopping in the next few weeks.

It looks like Yahoo! may be the winner in acquiring internet job-listing company HotJobs. TMP Worldwide, the parent of Monster.com had offered to buy HotJobs in June, but unless they sweeten the deal, it looks like HotJobs will accept a higher offer from Yahoo!

If no news is good news, we have good news on the schedule today. Things won't really kick into gear until tomorrow. Japan was down just a bit overnight. European markets are closed today. Our futures are extremely quiet.

Adjusted for fair value, S&P, Dow and Nasdaq futures are all down, but they're all within about five points of fair value.

December 24, 2001

If you started your Christmas shopping like I always do - at about noon on Christmas Eve, you may have noticed something a little different this year -- elbow room at the mall. The late surge of shoppers wasn't such a surge this Holiday season, and that has a lot of strategists guessing that retailers' earnings may be a little on the soft side this year. That may mean even deeper discounts in the after-Holiday season. So, what may be bad news if you own retailing stocks may be great news if you're going shopping in the next few weeks.

It looks like Yahoo! may be the winner in acquiring internet job-listing company HotJobs. TMP Worldwide, the parent of Monster.com had offered to buy HotJobs in June, but unless they sweeten the deal, it looks like HotJobs will accept a higher offer from Yahoo!

If no news is good news, we have good news on the schedule today. Things won't really kick into gear until tomorrow. Japan was down just a bit overnight. European markets are closed today. Our futures are extremely quiet.

Adjusted for fair value, S&P, Dow and Nasdaq futures are all down, but they're all within about five points of fair value.

December 24, 2001

WJR January 2002 reports
WJR November 2001 reports

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