Market Databank

      

 

Daily Reports @ WJR

For an explanation of "fair value" please click here

WJR January 2003 reports

December 31, 2002

It sure was a lot more fun reflecting on the stock market's performance in 1996, or 1997, 1998, or 1999. The best news about the stock market year 2002 is that it will be over this afternoon.

The Dow Jones Industrials is having its worst year in 25 years. The Nasdaq has never been down 3 years in a row - until now. And it looks like the S&P 500 will lose about 23% for the year. Everyone asks, What will next year bring? First of all - understand that NOBODY knows. Anyone who is quoted as saying how much the market will rise or fall next year is GUESSING. There are too many fundamental geopolitical unknowns at this point, a number of which could turn the worldwide economy either around - or on its ear.

Keep in mind, though, that many factors will be in place to rally stocks next year. Record low interest rates. Tax cuts and other fiscal stimulus are on the way. All companies have cut costs to the bone at this point. Inventories are lean. Possibly the biggest factor to watch is the price of oil. If we suddenly go from 30 dollar oil to 15 or even 20 dollar oil - which some people contend is the whole point of engaging Iraq - the world wide economy (outside of the OPEC countries) will get a giant shot in the arm.

Right now it looks like a quiet final day of trading. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up less than a point, Dow futures are down 6 and the Nasdaq futures are a little more than a point below fair value.

December 30, 2002

The stock market must have been very, very bad during the past year. While Santa shows up on Christmas Eve for most little girls and boys, he usually shows up on Wall Street for the last five trading days of the year and the first couple days of the New Year. We're halfway through, and so far, we've gotten nothing but big lumps of coal.

New home sales were higher than expected in November, and we'll find out about existing home sales at ten o'clock this morning. At that same time, the November Chicago Purchasing Managers Index will be released. It's expected to drop to a level of 53, that's below October's reading of 54.3. A reading substantially lower than 53 could erase any rally we may see in the first half-hour of trading.

We've heard a just a tiny ho-ho-ho out of the futures during the past hour or so. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 2 points, Dow futures are up 21 and the Nasdaq futures are a little more than 5 points above fair value.

December 27, 2002

This oil situation is getting a bit out of hand. Crude oil prices are above 32 dollars a barrel this morning, and that is not good news for the stock market. European markets are open, after a two day break, but they are down in light trading.

The only scheduled economic report of the day will be the report on November New Home Sales. It's expected that about a million new homes were sold, which would be just a tad below October sales, but still very strong as the housing market continues to benefit from record low mortgage rates.

Stock index futures are not benefiting from the latest news from North Korea this morning. They were fairly positive earlier, but right now, it's like looking at the EKG of your pet rock. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are flat, Dow futures are down 4 and the Nasdaq futures are less than a point below fair value.

December 26, 2002

It's going to be a really slow day today. A lot of stock markets around the world are closed for Boxing Day, including the Canadian market. Not only that, with Christmas right in the middle of the week and a big snowstorm in New York yesterday, a lot of stock traders will be staying home for the day, if not the week.

Retailers are reporting that sales aren't going to measure up to 2001, although it isn't over till it's over. About ten percent of holiday sales actually happen in the last week of December, and shoppers should have plenty of bargains awaiting them as they hit the stores today.

Don't look now, but the big mortgage boom may be coming to an end. Last week, the average interest rate of 30-year mortgages fell to 5.74 percent. That ties the record low of November 8. Yet mortgage applications dropped almost 8 percent. New home sales and mortgage refinancings have been important to the US economy during the past year. That wave may finally be hitting the beach.

Not much direction out of the futures this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P and Nasdaq futures are up by a couple of points each.

December 24, 2002

There's been a lot of hope in the retailing industry for a blockbuster Christmas season. But, at this point, it looks like their only remaining hope will come at about 12:30 this afternoon when I start my Christmas shopping. And I'm afraid that's not much hope. Target is out with a soft sales report this morning. That comes on the heels of Walmart's report yesterday that December sales are up, but at the low end of expectations. Overall, it looks like December retail sales will be off about 5% from last year.

Santa should come a little early if you hold Sun Microsystems stock. A district court judge ruled yesterday that Microsoft must carry Sun's programming language on its Windows operating system. Microsoft is appealing the ruling, but Sun stock is indicated about 10% higher this morning.

Stock trading stops at 1 o'clock today. The bond market closes at 2.

Not much direction out of the futures this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 2 ½ points, Dow futures are up about 14, but the Nasdaq futures are dead even with fair value.

December 23, 2002

It will be a strange week, with Christmas plunked down smack in the middle. Santa is expected to stop by Wall Street tomorrow on his way to chimneys everywhere. The last five trading days of the year are usually good ones, albeit on pretty light trading volume.

The New York Attorney General settled with a group of Wall Street stock pushers last Friday, and this morning it only seems fitting that Citigroup is announcing a "special charge" relating to the settlement, Enron related litigation, credit losses in South America, and every little "special" thing they could throw in. In all adds up to about 1½ billion dollars that magically disappears, without most of it being reflected in normal operations. So, maybe the stock-pushing game is on the road to clean up, but the accounting games play on.

CMS Energy is trimming down for the Holidays with the sale of CMS Panhandle for 1.8 billion dollars. About one-third of that will be in cash, two-thirds will be assumed debt.

Tech stocks look to be the sole bright spot at the open this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about 3 points, Dow futures are down about 34, but the Nasdaq futures are about 3 points above fair value.

December 20, 2002

The third Friday of the month can be interesting because of the expiration of various financial derivative products, like stock index options and futures and options on futures. Last month, a new derivative product, single stock futures came into being. The result is that today we have what will become known as "quadruple witching Friday" as four of these types of contacts expire. What does it all mean? Stock prices might bounce around even more than usual as the day plays out.

The New York Attorney General is reportedly close to striking a deal to let a bunch of big Wall Street firms pay a bunch of money, probably without admitting much of any wrongdoing with respect to their investment research. The interesting question is, how much of the money will be available to individual investors who relied on all that sophisticated advice, and what legal alternatives will be available.

The final revision to Third Quarter Domestic Product will be released in 15 minutes. Absent any big surprise, we may get off on the right foot at 9:30.

Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 8, Dow futures are up about 68 and the Nasdaq futures are about 5 points above fair value.

December 19, 2002

No report today, due to the John Engler retrospective. We'll back back Friday!

December 18, 2002

We're fighting a bunch of bad news this morning. We can start with the third largest bankruptcy in U.S. history. The big insurance and consumer finance company Conseco never got over its acquisition of Green Tree Financial. The Chapter 11 filing does not involve Conseco's insurance operations, but it's a big one nevertheless.

On the earnings front, a big surprise last night from computer chip maker Micron Technology. Micron lost 52 cents per share last quarter, versus an expected loss of 23 cents. Revenue was over 15% short of estimates. All this in an environment that most thought was improving for DRAM chip makers. Micron is trading in the pre-market off over 15% most its price yesterday morning.

A bunch of earnings will be coming today, including Bed Bath and Beyond, Oracle, General Mills and Palm. Federal Express beat estimates this morning by 2 cents. Blockbuster out with an earnings warning just minutes ago.

Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down almost 4, Dow futures down 31 and the Nasdaq futures are about 11 points below fair value.

December 17, 2002

Here's one to chew on. If you like Dentyne, Chicklets or Trident gum, or maybe Certs, Clorets or Halls, you've been buying them for years from a subsidiary of drug maker Pfizer. Well, no more. Pfizer is selling its Adams confectionary business to the British company Cadbury Schweppes for 4.2 billion bucks.

Later today the big electronics retailers will tell us how many CDs and video games Santa picked up last quarter. Best Buy, Circuit City will report earnings today along with Micron Technology. Pier One met estimates this morning.

General Electric will hold an analyst meeting today, but we already know what they'll say. GE will reaffirm its earnings targets for 2002 and 2003.

Four big economic numbers will be released before the market opens. The November Consumer Price Index, Housing Starts, Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization numbers will all come out by 9:15 this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 1 ½ , Dow futures down 25 and the Nasdaq futures are about 6 points below fair value.

December 16, 2002

We'll get a fair bunch of earnings and economic news this week, but there's nothing much on the schedule for today, so things should be relatively quiet.

Japanese stock market closed down this morning for the ninth day in a row. It hasn't done that in eleven years. So far, so good in Europe. There's news of a big bank merger in France, as Credit Lyonnais is being acquired. Most European markets are positive at this hour.

Dieter Zetsche was quoted yesterday as saying that 2003 will be a tough year competitively in the U.S. car market, but he expects DaimlerChrysler to gain market share. Daimler stock is up about 1 ½ percent in German trading this morning.

Oil prices continue their climb. Light Sweet Crude is almost 29 bucks per barrel this morning, as the political situation in Venezuela continues to worsen.

It looks like we might get off to a good start for stocks at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 4, Dow futures up 45 and the Nasdaq futures are about 7 ½ points above fair value.

December 13, 2002

We're rounding the corner today as we head into earnings warning season starting next Monday. There are no major earnings announcements scheduled for today, and from here through the rest of the year, no news may be the best news we could hear.

Evidently, we won't be hearing a lot of news from Coca-Cola in the future. Coke is saying this morning that it is comfortable with current earnings estimates for 2003, but don't ask again. Ever. Coca-Cola will no longer release estimated quarterly or annual earnings reports. We'll find out how they've done, but not necessarily how they're doing, in the future. It will be interesting to see how many other companies clam up as well.

Speaking of wells, the news on oil prices is not good this morning. Unless, of course, you own the oil. Light sweet crude is up over 28 bucks a barrel after yesterday's OPEC meeting, and that's putting a drag on stock process this morning.

Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 9, Dow futures down 84 and the Nasdaq futures are about 10 points below fair value.

December 12, 2002

Procter & Gamble raised their earnings outlook yesterday and they're holding an analysts meeting today. Lower than expected overhead is evidently resulting in higher than expected margins. P&G is trading about higher 2% in Europe this morning. Amgen is also raising guidance for next year's earnings to $1.65 to $1.70. Most analysts expected about a nickel per share less than than.

The big economic report of the morning rolls in about 15 minutes. The November retail sales report is expected to show a slight increase, somewhere between one and four tenths of one percent. A lot of market watchers are concerned about the ability of consumers to continue the spending streak they've been on.

In spite of the positive earnings guidance this morning, the futures aren't in very good shape. Subject to any surprise in the retail sales number, it looks like lower stock prices at the open. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 7, Dow futures down 68 and the Nasdaq future about 7 points below fair value.

December 11, 2002

No surprise out of the Fed yesterday, and the stock market took no news as good news and rallied in the last hour of trading. In their statement about prospects for the economy, the Fed said that the economy was continuing to progress satisfactorily through the current "soft spot." Some spots, of course, are softer than others. If you're out of work, for instance, things are downright squishy. That the way it is at Schlumberger today for 3,300 soon-to-be former workers. That's about 4% of their workforce.

One spot that's been really soft, besides of course, software, has been computer hardware and the microchips that go inside. Last night, the top dog at Intel was less than chipper about a business turnaround. He told analysts last night that there is no evidence yet of a big pick up in chips.

Volume has been low this week, and it looks like some quiet profit-taking is on the way at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 3, Dow futures down 45 and the Nasdaq futures about 4 points below fair value.

December 10, 2002

Nokia gave their mid-quarter update overnight. They say that earnings are on track, but sales of those new color-screen hand held phones have been lower than estimated. Nokia shares are down about 3 to 4 percent in European trading.

Remember the November Federal Reserve Open Market Committee announcement? They cut interest rates by a half percent, and basically said "that's it - we're done for a while." So what's the big deal about today's Fed meeting? Well, there is no big deal about it. The only possible news out of the Fed meeting at 2:15 this afternoon is a change in the Fed's outlook for the future. If they change rates, it will be a shocker to say the least.

Most European markets are positive. Our futures are off their highest levels of the morning, but it looks like we might still get off to a good start at 9:30. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 4 points, Dow futures are up 32 and the Nasdaq futures up about 7 points.

December 9, 2002

It official. The long-expected bankruptcy filing for United Airlines occurred this morning. United has lined up the debtor-in possession financing it needs to keep flying during the reorganization. Even though everyone knew this was coming, it's one more psychological drag on a stock market that doesn't really need to >
Closer to the ground, homebuilders continue to go great guns. Hovnanian this morning reported a better than expected fourth quarter and raised their earnings guidance for next year.

The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meets again tomorrow, but no move on interest rates is expected, and there's just not a lot on the agenda to spur stock prices this morning.

It doesn't look like a horrible open on the way, but the futures have been sliding pretty steadily during the past couple of hours. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about 3 points, Dow futures are down 45 and the Nasdaq futures about 7 points below fair value.

December 6, 2002

Don't look now, but there are signs of life in the technology stocks. Last night, a couple of big computer chip companies said that things are looking up. Intel and Advanced Micro Devices both raised their sales forecast for the quarter. Intel also hinted that their gross margins may creep back north of 50%. Chip demand is especially strong in Asia. Intel's stock is up about 60% since October.

Another stock trading higher is Rational Software. Rational is being bought by IBM for $10.50 in cash. That's almost 30% higher than what the market thought was a "rational" price yesterday.

The November Unemployment Rate is expected to rise to 5.8%. That number will be released at 8:30 this morning, and should influence the direction of the market this morning.

But at this point the futures are indicating lower stock prices at the open. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 4, Dow futures are down 41 and the Nasdaq futures about 2 points below fair value.

December 5, 2002

About 45 minutes ago the big drug maker Merck reaffirmed their earnings estimate for 2002 and 2003. Merck's analyst conference later today has been the focus of a lot of speculation. There's a major brokerage firm that has only three stock ratings; buy, sell or hold. Two days ago they started the day with Merck as a buy, changed it to a sell, and later the same day changed to a hold, as they tried to guess what Merck will say today. So, if you're getting a little dizzy following brokerage firm advice, keep in mnd that it's not just you. Maybe Merck has a pill for that.

Pier One continues its winning streak. November same store sales were up 1.2%. A decline of 4 percent was expected.

In a case of better late than never, the European Central Bank cut interest rates a half percent about a half hour ago.

The jobless claims number is expected to rise by at least 11,000 at 8:30 this morning. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 3, Dow futures are up 33 but the Nasdaq futures are about 7 points above fair value.

December 4, 2002

We needed some good news from Hewlett Packard and a good explanation from AOL/Time Warner yesterday, and we got, as they say, nothin'. Hewlett says that next year's revenue will be up 2 to 4 percent, rather than the 4 to 6 percent that was expected. AOL meanwhile, is forecasting flat revenue but a declining bottom line, and after a four hour analyst meeting, did not instill a great degree of confidence that they have a good answer.

In fifteen minutes, we're expecting to find out that worker productivity rose almost 5% last quarter, and a report on the level of factory orders is expected at 10 o'clock. But absent any earthshattering news, we'll be on our way lower at 9:30. A couple of brokerage firms downgrading computer analog chip makers and their suppliers.

Asian markets were a mess overnight. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 5, Dow futures are down 38 but the Nasdaq futures are about 11 points below fair value.

December 3, 2002

Yesterday a bad number in the ISM Manufacturing Index gave a nice rally a real kick in the tummy. The Dow and the S&P 500 actually finished the day with small losses. The Nasdaq still managed a slight gain, and it looks like the Nasdaq and technology stocks will fare the best in early trading today.

One of the reasons for that is an upbeat forecast this morning from Texas Instuments. Of course "upbeat" can be a relative term. Texas Instruments says that semiconductor sales will be down about 2 percent this quarter, as opposed to the 5 percent decline that was expected. Evidently, Santa has been seen picking up a lot of those new generation call phones.

AOL/Time Warner and Hewlett Packard will meet with analysts today. AOL released some pretty negative guidance for 2003 earlier today, so it looks like they'll have some 'slpainin' to do.

The German market is up slightly, the rest of Europe is off a bit. We're looking mixed, at best for the open of U.S. trading. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are flat, Dow futures are down 13, but the Nasdaq futures are about 2 ½ points above fair value.

December 2, 2002

At this point, all we know is that retailers sold a lot of stuff over the weekend. I mean a lot of stuff. Retail sales on Friday were up over 12 percent over last year, Saturday's sales were up 9 percent. Wal-Mart on Friday alone sold over 1.43 billion dollars worth of stuff. What we won't know until next month, is if they made any money doing it, of if they were just grabbing market share by selling at or below cost.

Now that we know that the consumer isn't rolling over just yet, it's time to get the word on the manufacturers. There's a number coming at 10 o'clock this morning that has the potential to really kick the market into high gear. The November ISM Manufacturing Index is expected to come in at a level of 51. Anything over 50 indicates expansion in manufacturing. Anything well over 51 could give stocks a real boost.

Auto makers will start announcing November sales today.

So far this morning, European markets are up, especially the German market. And it looks like we'll get off to a very strong this morning. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 11 ½ points, Dow futures are up 94 and the Nasdaq futures are about 24 points above fair value.

November 27, 2002

It's a short day for the bond market and it might as well be a short day for the stock market. But the morning, anyway, should be pretty busy.

The economic data that would normally be released tomorrow and Friday will all get pushed forward to this morning. So here we go - personal income and consumption, Durable Goods, the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index, the U of M Confidence Index, the unemployment claims number - all of that will come in by 10 o'clock.

So what's likely to happen? Well, just remember that that day before and the day after Thanksgiving are usually pretty good for stock prices.

And it looks like we'll get off to a pretty good start. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 4 points, Dow futures are up 40 and the Nasdaq futures are about 11 points above fair value.

November 26, 2002

Volume should start thinning out today as traders start to slip away a little early for the holiday. But, for those not getting an early start on Thanksgiving, there will be a good bit of economic data to chew today. Hopefully the reports won't be, well ---- turkeys.

In fifteen minutes the Third quarter Gross Domestic Product is expected to rise to 3.8%. At ten o'clock we'll find out about October New Home Sales and the Conference Board's Reading on November Consumer Confidence. The October Consumer Confidence number fell to 79.4, which was the lowest level in 9 years. Expect a bounce back into the mid eighties.

Just a handful of companies report earnings today, among them Michael's Stores and H&R Block, and we'll get a mid-quarter update from Sun Microsystems, but that's pretty much it.

That GDP number at 8:30 may influence stocks at the open, but right now it looks like we'll pull back a bit. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about 4 points, Dow futures are down 34 and the Nasdaq futures are about 5 points below fair value.

November 25, 2002

To make smart investment moves, a lot of people do their own research, some people rely on a broker. If you're trying to decide whether Cisco Systems is a good investment this morning, you're going to have to pick one or the other. A major brokerage firm is downgrading Cisco this morning, saying it's too expensive. Meantime, today's cover story in the influential Barron's magazine falls all over itself praising Cisco as a great long-term investment. So far this morning, the pen is mightier than the broker, as Cisco is bid higher in the pre-market.

If you sold your home in October you'll be part of economic report of the day at 10 o'clock. Existing home sales are expected to drop off just a bit from last month, to a level of 5.35 million units.

Asia was up overnight. European markets are mixed this morning. Our futures have been gradually improving the past couple of hours. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 2, Dow futures are up 22 and the Nasdaq futures are about 7 points above fair value. It looks like we'll go slightly higher at 9:30.

November 22, 2002

Another good day yesterday. In fact, since October 9th, the Dow is now up 21 percent. The Nasdaq was up over three percent yesterday alone. You knew this was bound to happen when some big financial firms started falling all over themselves, saying how they could help you get a higher rate of return in money markets and CD's. As usual, sticking to an investment plan is usually a lot smarter than trying to time the investment markets.

If there has been once constant during the past five years or so it's simply this - people love donuts. Krispy Kreme again beat estimates by a penny this morning on a 29 percent increase in revenue. The company's bottom line, and - many waistlines - expanded by 55 percent since last year.

Not much on the schedule for today, but we may get a little profit taking at the open. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about 1 point and a half, Dow futures are down 16 and the Nasdaq futures are about 9 points below fair value.

November 21, 2002

It's been a long, long time since we've heard any good news out of Hewlett-Packard. Just after the market closed yesterday, HP reported profits that were two cents per share better than expected. Revenues were also better than expected, and the company reaffirmed their guidance for the current quarter.

General Electric confirmed a lot of rumors this morning, and the rumors have not been good ones. GE lowered its earnings forecast for next year, and will take a 1.4 billion dollar one-time charge this year. They will raise their dividend by 6%, but on the whole, this isn't great news for shareholders.

At 10 o'clock today we'll get the October Leading Indicators, an indication of what may be on the way for the economy. The number is expected to show a very tiny decline, just a tenth of one percent.

The futures took a turn for the worse about 45 minutes ago on the General Electric guidance, but at this point, they are still indicating a positive start for stocks at 9:30. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 5, Dow futures are up 51 and the Nasdaq futures are about 11 points above fair value.

November 20, 2002

To tell the truth, it was a pretty boring day in the stock market yesterday, and quite frankly, it may take a fourth cup of coffee to make it through the day today.

Hewlett-Packard will report their earnings later on, but outside of that, there's not much else on the calendar. Talbot's beat estimates by a penny and affirmed guidance for the fourth quarter. We'll also hear about Target's earnings later on.

In fifteen minutes, we'll get the level of Housing Starts in October. We're expecting a bit over 1.7 million units, verses 1.84 last month.

Oil prices are on the rise this morning, and that may be enough to push stock prices a bit lower at the open, although right now it looks like a mixed open. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures down 1, Dow futures are down 9 and the Nasdaq futures are about 5 points above fair value.

November 19, 2002

Home Depot made just as much money as everyone expected in the quarter gone by, but they said the next quarter may be a penny per share short. Nonetheless, for the year, Home Depot will open 200 new stores and put 40,000 new people in those snappy orange aprons.

2,500 of those new recruits may come from high-tech firm Agilent. Agilent beat earnings estimates by 3 cents, but like everyone else in tech-land, sees challenging times ahead and will cut another 2,500 jobs by February.

The big economic number of the day is the Consumer Price Index. Once upon a time, a positive number in the CPI would have sent the market lower. Lately, though, the big fear in the market has been Deflation. So, the anticipated CPI of a 3 tenths of a percent increase should be no big deal. A negative number might actually drive stocks down. The CPI comes out at 8:30 this morning.

The futures are telling us that if the market were to open right now, we'd probably float a little lower, but not much. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about 3 points, Dow futures are down 12 and the Nasdaq futures are about 3 points below fair value.

November 18, 2002

Two different perspectives on the job front this morning. On the one hand, United Airlines will layoff 9,000 employees. Additional layoffs have also been announced at Sun Micro, Sprint, Lehman Brothers etc.

On the famous other hand, two surveys out this morning say that the worst is over. Manpower's job survey foresees a stable job market in 2003. Separately, TMP Worldwide, the Monster.com people, say that the technology industry's layoffs are pretty much done.

In case you wake up tomorrow morning and check the price of your AT&T stock, don't get too excited. AT&T will be spinning off its cable business to Comcast and then execute a 1 for 5 reverse stock split. Bottom line is that by tomorrow morning, Telephone shareholders will see a higher price, but fewer shares.

Lowe's beat earnings estimates by 3 cents this morning.

European markets are up about 1 ½ percent this morning, and it looks like the uptrend will continue at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 6 points, Dow futures are up 57 and the Nasdaq futures are about 12 points above fair value.

November 15, 2002

A surprisingly good retail sales report sent stock prices higher yesterday. Retail sales at Dell Computer were pretty darn good as well. Dell reported a 22% increase in revenue and a 30% increase in profits. That was right in line with estimates. Unfortunately, the company was a little cautious about future IT spending, and pre-market trading looks to mark down Dell shares by about 3 to 4 percent.

In fifteen minutes the Government will tell us how much Producer prices went up in October, but the market mover of the morning will probably be the preliminary report of Consumer Sentiment out of the University of Michigan. That will be released just after the market opens.

Two big downgrades this morning. General Electric and Intel have been downgraded by two big brokerage houses. Those downgrades put the hurt on the futures.

The futures are pretty non-committal in front of those economic reports. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about a point, Dow futures are down 7 and the Nasdaq futures are about 7 points below fair value.

November 14, 2002

Just a few years ago, it wasn't unusual to see a couple of big corporate mergers every week. Doesn't that seem like it's been a long time ago? This morning HSBC, a big British bank, is doing a little early Christmas shopping. They are buying Household International, the big lender and credit card issuer. They will pay 14 billion dollars in stock, rather than just charging it. That's 34% more than Household was worth at the close of trading yesterday.

Speaking of buyouts, the Taubman family has rejected a 4.2 billion dollar offer for Taubman Centers, their shopping center group.

CMS Energy reported a profit for the quarter, beating estimates on a pre-forma basis by about a dime per share. Some high profile earnings reports are on the way today. Starbucks, Kohls the Gap, BEA Systems and Dell will all report during or after the trading day.

The October retail sales number comes out in 15 minutes. They should be down a bit overall, but up a little bit excluding car sales. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 6 points, Dow futures are up 61 and the Nasdaq futures are about 3 ½ above fair value.

November 13, 2002

Philip Morris snuffed out the blue chip rally yesterday afternoon. Falling cigarette sales are causing the company to question their earnings estimates for 2003. Philip Morris dropped 14% yesterday afternoon, taking about 40 points of the Dow Jones Industrials along with it.

Walmart beat estimates by a penny per share this morning. Walmart is boosting its guidance for next quarter. They now say that sales will rise between 3 and 5 percent. Tiffany also beat by a penny. Earnings reports are on the way later today from Applied Materials, Intuit and Campbell Soup. But the headliner of the day will be Congressional testimony from Alan Greenspan. He'll be chatting about economic conditions with the joint economic committee.

Japan is at a fresh 19 year low this morning. Europe is off on the order of 1½ to 3 percent. It looks like we'll see slightly lower stock prices at 9:30 Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about 3 points, Dow futures are down 33 and the Nasdaq futures are about 8 points below fair value.

November 12, 2002

The company that bought U.S. broker PaineWebber for almost 11 billion bucks a couple years ago is UBS.AG. Don't call it "ubsag", and you won't be able to call it PaineWebber much longer either. UBS will be dropping the PaineWebber brand name next year. They'll also drop 600 million dollars off their balance sheet in the fourth quarter to pay for new signs. Not really - it's a goodwill writeoff - but you get the idea.

3 M is buying the Precision Lens business of Corning for 850 million bucks.

Homebuider DR Horton beat estimates by a nickel and raised guidance this morning. JC Penney beat by 3 cents and raised guidance. Weight Watchers also beat estimates by 3 cents as more people are coming in the door, presumably on their way back from Krispy Creme.

In spite of the saber rattling in Iraq today, the futures are looking pretty solid at this hour. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up almost 7 points, Dow futures are up 61 and the Nasdaq futures are about 9 points above fair value.

November 11, 2002

Happy Veteran's Day. No banks today. No bond market today, but the stock market will be open for business, which may or may not be a good thing.

The five week long pre-election run-up hit the wall last week. With bulk of high-profile earnings reports are behind us now, it will be interesting to see if the Iraqi situation sends us on another leg down before the end of the year. It should be a fairly quiet day for news, although we'll have plenty of economic news coming later in the week.

Most, but not all of the scheduled earnings reports this week will come from retailers. One brokerage house rating revision this morning as Oracle draws a downgrade.

Asia was down overnight. European markets are off at this hour a little less than one percent. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down almost 5 points, Dow futures are down 34, and the Nasdaq futures are about 7 points below fair value.

November 8, 2002

A company that's very close to your heart Paul, not to mention your wallet - the Walt Disney Company reported in yesterday. Disney met earnings expectations for the quarter gone by, but more importantly, said the earnings should grow by 20 to 30% in 2003 and 20 to 30% in 2004. That's very nice, but a lot of analysts are taking a wait and see approach. One big broker actually downgrading the stock. Disney shares are under some pressure in Europe this morning.

Speaking of Europe, German computer chip maker Infineon is off almost 10 percent this morning, after saying that it sees no clear indication that demand is picking up.

This has been a jam-packed week for news in the financial markets, but there's not a lot on the schedule today.

Europe's down less than one percent. Not much shakin' on our futures at this point, although they did turn slightly positive about a half hour ago. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 2 points, Dow futures are up 15, and the Nasdaq futures are about even fair value.

November 7, 2002

It wasn't any big secret on Wall Street that Alan Greenspan wanted short-term interest rates a half percent by the end of the year. It was a bit of a surprise, though that it all happened at once. The Federal Reserve set the bar a half percent lower yesterday and in their comments basically said - "that's it, we're done, leave us alone" for the foreseeable future.

Stock prices thought about it for a while, and then gave the move a nearly 100 point thumbs up. Earlier today, The Bank of England and the European Central Bank both held their interest rates steady.

This morning it looks like the market will be paying attention to "the other hand." After the close last night, Cisco Systems beat their estimated earnings number by a penny a share. But, "on the other hand" they called the current quarter weak, and forecast sales as flat to down 4 percent. Costco also slightly lowered their earnings forecast for the current quarter.

Sounds like a good enough reason to take some profits, and that's where we're going at 9:30. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 7 points, Dow futures are down 55, and the Nasdaq futures are about 16 points below fair value.

November 6, 2002

If nothing else was going on, the stock market would be spending the morning obsessing about the Cisco Systems earnings report that will come out after the market closes this afternoon. But, boy of boy, is there a lot else going on, and just about all that other news should boost stock prices at the open this morning.

A Republican-controlled Congress is generally regarded as a positive for stocks, on the theory that taxation of corporate dividends may be eliminated. Yesterday's resignation of SEC chief Harvey Pitt should be worth a hundred point rise on the Dow all by itself.

An almost certain interest rate cut of a quarter percent from the Federal Reserve is pretty much factored into stock prices, and that looks like what we'll get at 2:15 this afternoon. However, there is the outside chance of a half-percent cut, which might spark stocks a bit more.

Watershed days like today are always subject to late day profit taking, but we'll get off to a good start at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up more than 7 points, Dow futures are up 65, and the Nasdaq futures are about 16 points above fair value.

November 5, 2002

It should be the quiet before the storm today. Tomorrow we find out the direction of Congress for the next two years and direction of interest rates for the next five weeks. Just about everybody expects a quarter point cut in interest rates, and there's a good bit of conjecture that the rate cut might be a full half percent.

The only economic guidance on the way today will be the ISM Services index at 10 o'clock. That's an indication of how the service industry is doing. Expect a reading of 52, versus a reading of almost 54 last month. Read that as a slight expansion of the service industry, just not as good as last month.

HealthSouth missed earnings estimates by 8 cents per share this morning. Later today, Priceline.com, Computer Sciences and Calpine all report in.

European markets are trading about one and a half percent lower. Our futures are indicating a slightly lower open for stocks in the U.S., featuring a little pullback in technology stocks. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 3 points, Dow futures are down 16, and the Nasdaq futures are about 14 points below fair value.

November 4, 2002

We've now seen rising stock prices four weeks in a row, a very favorable ruling Friday for Microsoft, widespread anticipation for another interest rate cut this week. Put it all together and it looks like the market's gonna make green arrows when stocks start trading at 9:30 this morning.

Dutch financial services giant ABN Amro reported a 24 percent rise in profits. The good performance was more due to cost-cutting than anything else, but the stock is still trading up about 4 percent in Europe.

There's no shortage of stuff going on this week. The election, of course, is tomorrow, the Federal Reserve meets Wednesday. At 10 o'clock this morning we're expecting a pretty weak report on September's new factory orders. A drop of 3 percent is expected. Factory orders were flat in August.

It's "Culture Day" in Japan, so their markets are closed, but European market are up 2 to 4 percent. Our futures are very strong at this hour. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 11 points, Dow futures are up 97, and the Nasdaq futures are about 24 points above fair value.

November 1, 2002

Stock prices withstood a pretty steady stream of downbeat economic news yesterday, and there's may be more were that came from on tap for today. September income and consumption data will be out in 15 minutes along with the new payroll data and an unemployment rate that is expected to rise to 5.8% from 5.6% last month. A lot of people today hoping that the jobless count increases by one soon, if that one job is the one that belongs to SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt. Mr. Pitt has now launched an SEC investigation of himself. The whole story is too long to get into here, but it will be interesting to watch the market's response if Mr. Pitt is replaced. Thinking is that at this point is that a Pitt-less SEC could spark a pretty good rally.

Microsoft will find out at 4:30 today whether its agreement with the feds will stand. Microsoft is trading lower by more than a dollar in the pre-market.

Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 7 points, Dow futures are down 59, and the Nasdaq futures are about 12 points below fair value, but we'll have a better look at the open after all that data rolls out a 8:30.
October 31, 2002

In about 15 minutes we'll get the advance 3rd quarter figure for Gross Domestic Product. It's expected to be up at an annual rate of about 3 and a half percent and it should set the tone for early trading. We found out a couple days ago that consumers are being spooked by the economy. Now we'll find out if the performance matches the perception.

EDS is trading up from the 4 o'clock close. They beat severely lowered expectations. Aetna Health also beating estimates. They beat by 3 cents per share. Martha Stewart Living matched their earnings estimate for the third quarter. Some bad news in grocery-land -- Albertson's warned about future earnings this morning.

Europe is up on the order of 1 ½ percent, in spite of an unexpected loss by Deutsche Bank. Futures are tentative in front of the GDP number. Adjusted for fair value, futures on the S&P, Dow and Nasdaq are all pretty much dead even with fair value.

October 25, 2002

Economic reports move to center stage today, as the big wave of earnings reports has pretty much washed by us. In fifteen minutes, the September Durable Goods number is expected to show a decline of just under 2 percent. At 9:45, the closely watched University of Michigan Seniment index is expected to tell us that we're feeling a little better than we felt last month, but we're still not feeling all that well.

The disaster du jour in shaping up to be Cigna. The big health insurer lowered their earnings guidance for the quarter from $1.98 to $1.45. Premarket trading is lowering the price of Cigna shares from about 64 to about 49.

The late rally yesterday was a little too little and a little too late, and it looks like a pretty flat open this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 2 points, Dow futures are down 21, and the Nasdaq futures are about 4 points above fair value.

October 24, 2002

The earnings continue to roll in, and most of the notable companies on the schedule have already reported this morning. AOL Time Warner met estimates. However, they are restating earnings for the past couple of years and their advertising revenue is down for the fourth quarter in a row. A few notable misses this morning. Tyco missed their operating number by 2 cents per share and guided slightly lower for the next quarter. SBC missed the concensus by 3 cents per share, as did insurer American International Group.

Starwood Hotels, Kodak and Dow Chemical all met their estimated earnings.

We've been seeing an interesting pattern the past four trading days; lower futures, leading to a lower open and a late afternoon rally. Well, here we go again. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are flat, Dow futures are down 16, and the Nasdaq futures are about 4 points below fair value.

October 23, 2002

European markets are weaker this morning, on the order of 2 to 4 percent. One stock that was bucking the trend, but is now lower is DaimlerChrysler. Daimler had operating profits of 1.7 billion euros for the quarter, versus an expected 1.2 billion, but nevertheless is off about a buck in Europe.

It's another day packed with earnings announcements in the U.S. International Paper beat by a penny and Dupont beat estimates by a nickel. Johnson Controls posted record revenue and record profits meeting analysts expectations.

Two drug companies may head in different directions this morning. Eli Lilly met estimates, but warned about next quarter. Pfizer, on the other hand, may get a little pop after filing a couple of lawsuits to fend off competition for their fairly popular drug, Viagra.

The futures, was had been flat much of the morning, took a big turn for the worse about a half hour ago. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 7 points, Dow futures are down 46, and the Nasdaq futures are about 8 points below fair value.

October 22, 2002

Texas Instruments with a miss and a warning this morning. Not only did they miss, but next quarter's gonna be a mess. Texas Instruments was expected to make 11 cents per share next quarter. They say they'll probably break even. Their stock is trading almost 20 percent off in the premarket. Drug maker Wyeth, the old American Home Products, also missed their estimated earnings this morning.

Pulte Homes beat estimates by two cents per share and raised their guidance for the rest of the year. AT&T, Radio Shack, and Pharmacia also beat estimates.

We'll get earnings from companies in a pretty wide variety of industries. AFLAC, Gillette, MacDonald's and UPS all report in.

Yesterday, just like Friday, we started with losses and rallied pretty strongly to finish with gains. If today is to follow suit, we have our work cut out for us. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about 11 points, Dow futures are down 87, and the Nasdaq futures are about 23 points below fair value.

October 21, 2002

One of the big drivers of last week's rally was a terrific earnings report from Microsoft. Overnight in Australia, Bill Gates' right hand man, Steve Ballmer said - hold on. Last quarter was an anomaly; don't expect us to do it again. Now, Microsoft is famous for talking down expectations for the future. Nevertheless, it's not exactly the kind of pep talk the market is looking for right now.

A big brokerage firm is cutting estimates for Texas Instuments this morning. We'll get it straight from the horse's mouth a little later when Texas Instruments reports in for the quarter gone by.

Prudential Financial may have finally found a buyer for its brokerage unit. Wachovia is reportedly in talks with Pru.

Most major stock indexes rose about 4 percent last week, as the early weakness on Friday turned around by the end of the day. We may need a similar turn around today, because the futures are pretty much in the same spot as they were 72 hours ago. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about 6 points, Dow futures are down 75, and the Nasdaq futures are about 9 points below fair value.

October 18, 2002

What's that they say on the Lear commercials - "advance relentlessly"? Well, they sure seem to be doing just that. Lear made 91 cents for the quarter, versus an estimated 88 cents on a seven percent rise in revenues.

The rest of the reports we've gotten overnight are a decidedly mixed picture. On the plus side, Microsoft beat estimates by 7 cents per share on a 26 percent increase in revenues. But on the other side Sun Microsystems will be cutting 4400 jobs and sees no prospect for a profit for at least six months. Gateway also matched its estimated loss, but on a 20 percent decline in revenue. Ericsson had a wider than expected loss, sees handset sales dropping by 20 percent this year, and announced a 1 for 10 reverse stock split, and those are seldom good signs for the future.

Speaking of the future, the futures took a turn for the worse about an hour ago. At this point, in front of the inflation report at 8:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about 6 points, Dow futures are down 77, and the Nasdaq futures are about 10 points below fair value.

October 17, 2002

So the question is, how long will it take the Dow Jones to recover from its 220 point loss yesterday. The answer appears to be, well check back around 9:45 this morning. As strong as the futures were Tuesday, when the Dow rallied almost 400 points, they are stronger this morning on the earnings report from IBM.

IBM earned 99 cents last quarter, versus an expected 96 cents and they said that they are comfortable with 4th quarter estimates of $1.35 per share. IBM is up over 12% in the premarket. How about this little statistic; the German stock market, the DAX index is up 26 percent in the past 6 days.

DaimlerChrysler has raised guidance on revenue for the rest of the year. Other companies that met estimates this morning: ADP, Baxter, Colgate and EMC. Beating estimates: Tribune, United Technologies, Dial, Southwest Air, Mattel, Manpower and United Health. The only major miss of the morning was Sears, which missed estimates by a bunch.

It's rally time again at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 22 points, Dow futures are up 215, and the Nasdaq futures are about 53 points above fair value.

October 16, 2002

Yesterday the market just kept going and going and going. Since last Thursday morning, the Dow Jones has gained about 1,000 points. That's the biggest gain, on a percentage basis, of any four day period since 1933.

Now that we've covered the good news, here comes today. Just after the market closed yesterday, Intel disappointed with their report. Intel made 11 cents for the quarter, versus an expected 13 cents. And they don't see things getting a lot better soon. Intel is off about 15% in the premarket.

Ford Motor came in at a 12 cent profit for the quarter versus and expected 3 cents. Delphi also beat estimates by 2 cents. Motorola, Alcan and Pfizer beat estimates by a penny. However Coca-Cola missed by a penny and guided lower as did Capital One Financial.

We're going to give back a chunk of yesterday's gain at the open. We'll see if any buyers step in later on to keep the rally going. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about 10 points, Dow futures are down 72, and the Nasdaq futures are about 32 points below fair value.

October 15, 2002

Last Wednesday, people were talking about the Dow breaking down through the 7,000 level. Well surprise, surprise, surprise. Sometime this morning, the Dow should pierce 8,000 and if we don't get any giant earnings disappointments, this could turn into one big day for stocks.

Third quarter earnings reports get into full swing today.

News from companies that have reported so far is good. General Motors reported ten minutes ago. They beat estimates and raised guidance slightly for the rest of the year. Citigroup beat estimates by a penny, as did Level 3 Communications and Johnson & Johnson. Bank of America four cents ahead. Fannie Mae and Maytag beat estimates by a nickel per share. The long and short of it is that your probably better off long than short in this market today.

One massive rally hits the gate at 9:30 this morning. European markets are up anywhere from 4 to 6 percent this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 23 points, Dow futures are up 171, and the Nasdaq futures are about 31 points above fair value.

October 14, 2002

The rise of 7½ percent in the S&P 500 last Thursday and Friday was the best two-day gain stocks have seen in almost 15 years, although it looks like that bombing in Bali will knock us lower at the open today.

We'll have lots of earnings to chew on starting tomorrow. Earnings reports from almost half of the Dow Jones 30 Industrial stocks will be released later this week. Not much happening today, though. The bond market is closed for Columbus Day, Canadian markets are closed for Thanksgiving, Japanese stocks did not trade overnight.

A major brokerage house this morning cutting their ratings on Ford, GM, Dana and Delphi. Of course, the price of each one of those stocks has been cut in half since the middle of May. So - another excellent piece of research - just about five months too late.

German markets are down about 2 ½ percent, the rest of Europe down only a small bit. It looks like a lower open for us. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about 6 points, Dow futures are down 43, and the Nasdaq futures are about 11 points below fair value.

October 11, 2002

Stocks have taken a beating for much of the past couple weeks, due in part to what some brokerage firms have been saying about General Electric. GE is a big component of the S&P 500 and a component of the Dow Jones Industrial average. About two hours ago, GE announced that met it estimated earnings number for the quarter, on an 11% increase in revenue. The interesting part comes later today when GE will talk about prospects for 2003 and beyond.

The September Produced Price Index rolls in 15 minutes, along with September Retail Sales. A decline of just over 1% in sales is expected, mainly due to softer auto sales. The October U of M sentiment index will be out just after the market opens.

A new bull market would be nice, but right now, the market is a lot like the Detroit Lions - we'll settle for two good performances in a row. And it looks like we'll start the day in excellent field position. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 8 points, Dow futures are up 63, and the Nasdaq futures are about 5 points above fair value.

October 10, 2002

The mailman will be bringing your 401(k) and investment account statements in the next couple of days. Be sure to have the appropriate medication on hand before opening. After yesterday's slide the major stock indexes are right back to where they were about 5 years ago.

General Electric won't report their quarterly earnings until tomorrow, but another big brokerage firm downgraded GE stock to a "neutral" rating this morning. We do have some actual earnings reports to assess, and on the whole, they're pretty good. Last night Yahoo beat estimates and raised their future guidance. This morning Costco reported in at a profit of 52 cents per share, that's 3 cents ahead of estimates. Network Associates also beat estimates by 3 cents and raised future guidance.

So on the whole, we're looking to gain ground at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 5 points, Dow futures are up 73, and the Nasdaq futures are about 6 points above fair value.

October 8, 2002

A couple of big brokers out with less than wonderful things to say about auto stocks this morning. Of course, that's a case of too little, too late if you have owned Daimler, or GM or, as they say, "Fords" during the past couple months. Ford well under 8 bucks a share at this point. It traded over 18 less than 5 months ago.

Abbott Labs met estimates this morning, on a 14% rise in income. SunTrust Banks missed by a penny though. That's the first of the big regional banks to report and there's a lot of concern about how the rest are doing. Later today, Yahoo and Yum Brands report in.

Yesterday's stock market was a lot like weather in Michigan. It you didn't like it at any particular time, all you had to do was wait about 10 minutes. The Dow was up well over a hundred, down over a hundred, and up and down and up and down. Finally, the President's action to stop the dockworker's lockout pushed us up at the close, but it looks like we'll give that back right at the open this morning.

At this point, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 6 points, Dow futures are down 57, and the Nasdaq futures are about 7 points below fair value.

October 8, 2002

Stocks slid sharply right at the end of the day yesterday, but just the suggestion in last night's speech that war might not be inevitable will give us a little boost this morning. Lay on top of that the probability that President Bush will invoke the Taft-Hartley Act by the end of the day to temporarily end the dockworker lockout, and we could have a pretty good day.

Pepsico had a pretty good quarter. They announced this morning that they made 56 cents per share. Estimates called for 55 cents, and that's a nickel more than last year.

Earnings reports will come from the Apollo Group, that the owner of the University of Phoenix and Ruby Tuesday later today. Outside of that there's nothing on the calendar, but if we get some action on the dockworkers strike, stocks should respond.

The futures are off their highs of the morning, but we're still looking up at the open. At this point, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 8 points, Dow futures, which had been up over 135 points this morning are up 88, and the Nasdaq futures are about 8 points above fair value.

October 7, 2002

The earnings are coming! The earnings are coming! Well, they'd better be coming. Third quarter earnings reports start rolling in later this week, and the hope is that the bombshells are all out of the way. But it may be different bombshells that investors worry about this week. Just the announcement that President Bush would make a major speech on Iraq tonight sent stocks into a tailspin last Friday.

So today will be a day of speeches. President Bush tonight, Alan Greenspan and Treasury Secretary O'Neill will both speak in Phoenix later today.

One company doing well, chemical maker FMC says it will make a nickel per share more than expected in the third quarter, but they are "very cautious" about future economic conditions. Get used to hearing that line in the weeks to come.

The futures are pointing to another decline at 9:30. At this point, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 2 points, Dow futures are down 56, and the Nasdaq futures are about 5 points below fair value.

October 4, 2002

Hopefully by the end of the day we'll have most of the high profile earnings warnings out of the way. But we're clearly not done yet. EMC, the computer data storage manufacturer, said business fell off big time late in September, they'll miss their estimate, and some EMC workers may soon be missing a paycheck.

Schering-Plough says that when their allergy drug Claritin comes off patent next year, earnings will be the first thing to be choked off. They're expecting to make only a dollar to a dollar fifteen, versus the $1.42 everyone expected.

The big numbers of the day is undoubtedly the Unemployment Data. That comes out in 15 minutes. Expect payrolls to expand slightly, but the unemployment rate is expected to climb back up to 5.9%.

The futures are just kind of hanging out in front of the Unemployment report at 8:30. At this point, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up a point, Dow futures are down 9, and the Nasdaq futures are about 3 points above fair value.

October 3, 2002

Let's >
Advanced Micro Devices is one stock heading down this morning. They were expected to sell about 600 million dollars worth of computer chips last quarter. They said last night that the number is going to be a lot closer to 500 million.

Weekly jobless claims come out in 15 minutes, and a report on August Factory Orders at 10. But mainly, we'll be on the lookout for any more third quarter warnings as we're in the last two days of warnings season.

At this point, it looks like a flat open for the market at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about 1, Dow futures are up 7 points, and the Nasdaq futures are about 4 points below fair value.

October 2, 2002

Sometimes you have a day you want to run through the copy machine. Sometimes you just want to run it through the shredder. Order up about 30 copies of yesterday, if you would. The Dow Jones had its eighth biggest point gain ever, up almost 350 points, and some good news from Dell Computer last night may give us enough kick to keep it going.

Dell raised their sales outlook for the quarter just after the market closed last night. On the flip side, about a half hour ago, Dow Chemical warned that their earnings will be flat for the third quarter. Comerica is also going to miss their earnings estimate.

Not much on the docket for today except you're talking about the court docket. A couple more bad guys getting arrested, getting indicted or just pleading guilty. Today's targets are at Enron, Merrill Lynch, and of course indirectly, Martha Stewart.

This is one of those mornings you have to be careful looking at the futures. At >

October 1, 2002

The third quarter totals are in, and it's not a pretty picture. The Dow and the Nasdaq each lost about 20% in the quarter. Same decline for The FTSE index in Great Britain. In Germany, the Dax Index was down over 36%. Year to date, the 25 largest mutual funds in the U.S. are down 19%. Had enough yet? I think we all have.

If history is any guide, October could be the key. Five of the last ten bear markets ended in October. While it's a month with a reputation for big market crashes, it's also the time of year when stock analysts finally get their earnings projections in line with reality.

Pepsi Bottling numbers were evidently there already. They matched estimates this morning and reaffirmed targets for the rest of the year. At 10 this morning, the September ISM Index is expected to come in at 51.

The futures started the morning to the downside, but took a sharp U-turn between 6 and 7 o'clock. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up almost 6 points, Dow futures are up 50 points, and the Nasdaq futures are about 7 points above fair value.

September 30, 2002

Today is the last day of the third quarter. And what can you say about the three months gone by? "Good riddance" comes to mind. This has been one of the worst quarters in the history of the S&P 500, and with people worried about a lack of business spending and an abundance of war around the world, we are now retesting the lows we set back in July.

Citigroup is reportedly promising the SEC that they will fully separate their stock research department from their investment banking unit, but only if the SEC can get all the other Wall Street firms to do the same thing. Try that line of reasoning the next time you get pulled over for speeding on I-94.

Personal Income and consumption data will be released at 8:30. At 10 o'clock, the Chicago Purchasing Manager's Index. Another brokerage house is saying bad things about General Electric's prospects this morning. That's not going to help the market at 9:30.

The futures are pretty much a mess. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about 11, Dow futures are down 93 points, and the Nasdaq futures are about 11 points below fair value.

September 27, 2002

We can say goodbye to baseball this weekend. You can also say goodbye to the two day winning streak we've had in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. It's simply a case of one, two, three strikes we're out. Three members of the Dow Jones Industrial Average are going to be hurt this morning.

SBC Communications announced yesterday that they'll cut 11,000 additional jobs. That's on top of the 10,000 they've already announced. Philip Morris has lowered their growth estimate. They now see 3 to 5% rise in sales. The consensus growth estimate was closer to 19 percent. On top of all that, Lehman Brothers is out with a downgrade of General Electric this morning. After taking those three pitches this morning, we'll probably be standing like a house by the side of the road at 9:30.

Later this morning we'll get the third quarter Gross Domestic Product and at 9:45, the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index.

Overseas markets were mixed overnight. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about 7, Dow futures are down 94 points, and the Nasdaq futures are about 10 points below fair value.

September 26, 2002

Just be happy you're not Martha Stewart this morning. The assistant to Martha's former broker has reportedly agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor and testify against Ms. Stewart in the future should insider trading or obstruction of justice charges be brought. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia is trading around $7.80. It was right around 20 bucks a share just four months ago.

Speaking of home furnishings, Bed Bath and Beyond continues to perform beyond expectations. 25 cents for the quarter, that beat estimates by 2 cents, on a 26% increase in sales.

The August durable goods number comes out in about 15 minutes. It's expected to decline about 3 ½ percent, after a big increase last month.

Subject to what we get out of that durable goods number at 8:30, the futures are pointing toward a positive market at the open. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 5, Dow futures are up 44 points, and the Nasdaq futures are about 5 points above fair value.

September 25, 2002

Finally a little flurry of good news for the market this morning. General Electric reaffirmed their estimated earnings for the quarter. This comes after a brokerage firm lowered their rating on GE earlier in the week after questioning how well their businesses are holding up. United Technologies and International Paper also reaffirmed estimates. Word out of Paris that Ford Motor will be increasing fourth quarter production is also welcomed news. On the earnings front, Autozone absolutely blew away estimates this morning, making $1.73 for the quarter versus an estimate of $1.41.

Alan Greenspan won a split decision at the Fed meeting yesterday. With two of the twelve voters dissenting, the Fed decided to hold interest rates steady for now, but definitely left the door open to another cut in rates if economic conditions worsen.

The futures are up big time this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 14, Dow futures are up 120 points, and the Nasdaq futures are about 17 points above fair value.

September 24, 2002

Just about everyone expects that the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee will leave interest rates unchanged when the meet today. But then again, just because a team is the underdog, you still have to see what happens when the game is played. With the economy soft and the stock market is a serious funk, Alan Greenspan may decide that it's a great time for an end around. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:15 this afternoon.

The only other scheduled economic reading for the day is the September Consumer Confidence reading at 10 o'clock. It's expected to be down to 92.4 from a level of 93.5 last month.

Asian markets, European markets, vegetable markets, it doesn't matter. Virtually every market worldwide is off today and we'll follow suit at 9:30. Our futures are even worse off than they were at this point yesterday. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about 12, Dow futures are down 102 points, although the Nasdaq futures are about 12 points below fair value.

September 23, 2002

Stock prices have now declined four weeks in a row, and it looks like we'll again start the week with the wind squarely in our >
JDS Uniphase lowered their sales forecast for the quarter by about 5% early this morning, as warning season heads into the home stretch.

Oil prices are on the move this morning. Light sweet crude is up over thirty bucks a barrel.

Japanese markets were closed overnight for yet another holiday. German stocks are down 3 ½ percent this morning, on the heels of their national elections. Other European markets are also down, and we're likely to follow suit at 9:30.

Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about 11, Dow futures are down 81 points, although the Nasdaq futures are only about 4 points below fair value.

September 20, 2002

Stocks had to suffer through loads of bad news yesterday. The Dow Jones Industrials, which was down all day, stubbornly tried to hold the 8000 level. But in the last 10 minutes of trading, we broke through 8000 and it looks like stocks are heading right back to where we were during the mini-panic of late July.

Today's "triple witching" day. That's means that options and futures contracts expire today, and as a result stock prices could swing around quite a bit. The London market has been very volatile this morning for much the same reason.

A couple bits of good news this morning for tech stocks. Qualcomm, which makes wireless chipsets has raised its sales forecast. Jabil Circuit beat estimated earnings for the quarter.

It looks like we'll springboard off that news and some modest strength in European markets when our markets open this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 3, Dow futures are up 25 points, and the Nasdaq futures are about 16 points above fair value.

September 19, 2002

Another morning, another warning. Yesterday, just after the market closed, EDS announced that they were going to miss estimated earnings for the quarter by about a mile and a half. Twelve to fifteen cents per share is what they expect to earn. It was expected that they make closer to 72 cents. In after hours trading, EDS stock was on a one-third off sale. That news is going to hit the big indexes hard this morning. IBM is a big competitor or EDS. Traders will figure that what's bad for the goose will be bad for the gander. IBM, of course, is a component the Dow Jones Industrial Average and a heavyweight in the S&P 500.

The big economic number of the day will be release of the Philadelphia Fed Survey. That's another measure of industrial output. It's been negative for the past three months. The September number comes out at noon, and is expected to be flat or just slightly positive.

It's going to be ugly at the open this morning. The futures are a lot weaker than they appear at first glance. After you adjust for fair value, S&P futures are down 14, Dow futures are down 152 points, and the Nasdaq futures are about 18 points below fair value.

September 18, 2002

The early rally in stocks crumbled yesterday, as various members of the Bush administration made it clear that we are probably no less likely to go to war with Iraq than we were a couple of days ago. Maybe the timing has changed, but the longer the war clouds hover over the stock market, the worse stocks are likely to behave.

Speaking of stocks behaving badly, check out JP Morgan, McDonalds and Hershey Foods today. JP Morgan and McDonalds warned about serious shortfalls in earnings yesterday. Hershey, which had been put up for sale, has been pulled off the market. The Trust that owns a majority of the shares >
Oracle met estimates last night, and said it thinks its business has stabilized, but revenue was still a little light of estimates.

Add it all up. The war warnings and the earnings warnings are taking a toll this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 7, Dow futures are about 92 points, and the Nasdaq futures are about 6 points below fair value.

September 17, 2002

We're going to get a little relief rally thanks to the Iraqi government today. Whether you believe that weapons inspectors will really get to give Iraq the unfettered once over or not, just the hope that we won't be going to war soon will give stocks a lift.

Pier One's stock has gotten some lift lately, after they said that they would do better than everyone expected. And they did. They met the increased estimates of 23 cents per share. Revenues were up 15% and profits up 60% for the quarter, as people just can't seem to get enough wicker in their lives.

After the market closes today Oracle will report earnings. It's no secret that business has been soft. What analysts will be looking for is any inkling that the year over year sales declines are over, and that the business software business is on the way back.

In Japan the Nikkei average was up over 3 percent. European markets are generally trading about 1 ½ to 2 percent higher. We should get off to a good start at 9:30, although the futures are well off their highs of the morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 16, Dow futures are up 100 points, and the Nasdaq futures are about 26 points above fair value.

September 16, 2002

Trading should be lighter than normal today. A lot of traders are away in observance of Yom Kippur. But the week ahead should be chock full of news. A lot of economic numbers, including the Consumer Price Index will be out. OPEC will be meeting Thursday. Oil futures have been drifting higher, although they're down slightly this morning. On top of everything else, with two weeks to go in the quarter, earnings warnings may accelerate. They're currently running a little ahead of last quarter's pace.

Later today we'll get earnings from Best Buy, Kroger and Pier One. Also a report on the level of Business Inventories back in July will be available in about 15 minutes. Biotech firm Genzyme warned overnight that sales of a key kidney dialysis drug are coming up short.

Japanese markets were closed overnight. European markets are positive. Our futures are indicating a slightly higher open for stocks. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 2, Dow futures are up 10 points, and the Nasdaq futures are about 7 points above fair value.

September 13, 2002

Welcome to Friday the 13th, as if we needed one more thing to worry about. Yesterday, as far as the market was concerned, we got a lousy jobless claims number, nothing new in the Presidents speech to the U.N., and no good punch lines from Alan Greenspan's testimony. And if you can't get a good laugh out of a Greenspan speech, you just don't know how to have fun. So the market marched in reverse pretty much all day long. Unfortunately, the band may still be playing at 9:30 today.

Honeywell and Lucent have both warned that the rest of the year will be no day at the beach. That's Honeywell's second warning in two months, and Lucent expects to miss their fourth quarter number by a country mile.

We'll get Retail Sales numbers at 8:30 as well as the August Producer Price Index, but the big number of the day at, 9:45 this morning, will be the University of Michigan Sentiment index. The expected number is 87.7. The futures are pretty much a mess this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 8 points, Dow futures are down 79 points, although the Nasdaq futures are only about 3 points below fair value.

September 12, 2002

The Federal Reserve's Beige Book was released yesterday, and confirmed that the economy's recovery is crawling along at best. That was enough to torpedo an early rally in yesterday's shortened trading session. On the bright side, we got through yesterday without any further terrorist activity, which was everyone's worst fear for the day.

Today will be a day of speeches. Don't start yawning just yet. At 10 o'clock, Alan Greenspan will testify before the House Budget committee. But at the headliner of the day will probably be President Bush's speech to the General Assembly of the United Nations. That address is scheduled for 10:30.

European markets are off 2 percent or so. Our futures have rallied a little over the past hour, but are still indicating a lower market at the open. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 4 points, Dow futures are down 47 points and the Nasdaq futures are about 10 points below fair value.

September 11, 2002

No scheduled announcements, no economic reports, no earnings reports. And hopefully, no surprises on the way today as the world looks back on the past year.

Since September 10 of last year, the Dow Jones is down about 10%, the S&P down 17% and the Nasdaq is off 22%. Of course, much of that is attributable to corporate scandal, inadequate accounting and other issues not related to September 11th. But as we pass this anniversary, the hope is that we can put all of that behind us, and start growing again. By the way, in case you're superstitious, the S&P 500 index closed last night at 909.85. The futures contract on the S&P stood at 911.

Japanese stocks were up one percent overnight. That's three up days in a row for the Nikkei. European markets are flat. The bond market will close at 2 o'clock this afternoon, the stock market will not open until 11 this morning. At this point, it looks like we may see a patriotic rally at 11 o'clock. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 8 points, Dow futures are up 63 points and the Nasdaq futures are about 17 points above fair value.

September 10, 2002

A nice surprise after the market closed yesterday, as Ford Motor announced that they expect to post a profit in the third quarter, AND a small profit for the year as a whole. Continued strong sales, spurred on by incentive financing should allow Ford to beat analyst estimates by at least 10 cents per share for the quarter. It looks like zero-percent interest rates may be with us for some time to come. Ford traded up almost 10 percent from its low of the day in after hours trading last night.

Nokia give their mid-quarter update this morning. Earnings will reportedly be at the high end of estimates, but revenue targets were lowered slightly. Nokia is trading slightly lower in Europe.

Heinz beat estimates by a penny on a pro-forma basis. There's not much else on the earnings or economic agenda for the day.

After adjusting for fair value, the futures aren't as cheery as they would first appear, but they are still pointing to a slightly higher start at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 2, Dow futures are up 36 points and the Nasdaq futures are about 3 points below fair value.

September 9, 2002

We can talk about economic reports and earnings reports and forecasts 'till we're blue in the >
Oil prices are on the way up again. A little sable rattling by Vice President Cheney yesterday regarding Iraq has Brent crude at about 28 ½ bucks a barrel.

Nextel says its third quarter estimates for subscriber growth and cash flow are just fine, thank you. They will reportedly meet or beat estimates of a 2 million net new customers and 3 billion of cash flow.

European markets are down on the order of one to two percent this morning. Our futures have improved over the past couple hours, but at this point it still looks like we'll be digging out of hole after the market opens. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 4, Dow futures are down 28 points and the Nasdaq futures are about 8 points below fair value.

September 6, 2002

Intel gave their mid quarter update last night. It was a warning that sales are a little weaker than expected, but not horrible. That was kind of like when Mom and Dad expect you to get a 'D' on your report card, and you get a 'C plus'. Not great, but better than widely expected. As a result, Lehman Brothers is upgrading Intel this morning, and at this point, were looking to recoup some of yesterday's losses for the market as a whole.

But a lot could change in about 15 minutes. The August Unemployment report will be released. It's no secret that the U.S. consumer has been holding this economy up for a few years now, and presumably they'll have to have jobs to keep on keeping on. An increase of 30,000 non-farm jobs is expected and the unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 5.9 percent. RJ Reynolds just warned a few minutes ago that their earnings for the quarter won't be up to snuff, so to speak.

Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 4, Dow futures are up 56 points and the Nasdaq futures are about 15 points above fair value.

September 5, 2002

The July Factory Orders report will be released at 10 o'clock this morning, and it better be a good one, as the futures are indicating a pretty significant pullback at the open. There's a lot of nervousness in this market. The potential war with Iraq, the potential for more trouble in Israel, and on top of all that, Intel will give analysts its look into the future after the close of trading today in its mid-quarter update.

But while the bear market has gripped stocks, consumers are still spending like it's 1999. Big Lots reported same store sales up 13%. Pier One same store sales are up 8.6%. Walmart reported August same store sales up 3.8%. That's a bit lower than expected.

Oil is up a bit again this morning, at around 27.40 per barrel.

But outside of some of the discounters and oils, it could be a rough morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 16, Dow futures are down 130 points and the Nasdaq futures are about 18 points below fair value.

September 4, 2002

Japan may be considering a slogan change, going from "Land of the Rising Sun" to "Land of the Sinking Stocks." Down another percent and a half overnight, the Nikkei is closing fast on the 9000 level.

Yesterday's ISM Index didn't do us any favors. It came in at 50.5, which was flat with July's number. However, the new orders component of the index was pretty weak. Although trading was lighter than normal, not many traders were in a buying mood.

We'll be getting August car sales data today. It's expected to reflect an annual new car sales rate of 14.2 million.

Intel's mid quarter update is tomorrow, but a couple of big brokerage firms have speculated that the news won't be good. That's keeping some pressure on Nasdaq futures, but at this point we're looking for some bargain hunting at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 2 ½ , Dow futures are up 26 and the Nasdaq futures are about 4 points above fair value.

September 3, 2002

If you've been married for 18 years, the Japanese stock market hasn't been this low since you were singing solo at the Karaoke bar. The Nikkei lost over 3% last night to hit a 19 year low. That's going to set the stage for an ugly open for U.S. stocks.

At ten o'clock this morning, an important economic number will be released. The Institute of Supply Management Index, which measures the level of manufacturing activity, is expected at a level of 51.8. That would indicate a slight expansion of manufacturing activity. That's well off the solid pace of earlier this year, but up from the 50.5 reading last month.

European markets are down round two to four percent. Our futures are pretty ugly and have been sliding all morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about 17, Dow futures are down 152 and the Nasdaq futures are about 20 points below fair value.

August 30, 2002

It's officially a short day for the bond market and unofficially a short day for a lot of other people in front of the long weekend. But for what should be a quiet day, there's a lot information coming at us.

Not a huge surprise, but last night we heard a trio of lowered forecasts. Sun Microsystems, Novellus and BellSouth all said that business is slumping this quarter as trouble in both the telecommunications and wireless businesses continues.

In fifteen minutes, we'll get July Personal Income and Consumption numbers, at 10 o'clock the August Chicago Purchasing Managers Index, which is expected to come in at 52. More important for the market, however, may be the University of Michigan Sentiment Index at 9:45. Tuesday's Consumer survey by the Conference Board was a big disappointment. The U of M study is a phone survey, rather that a written questionnaire, which makes it a bit more of a current barometer of the consumer mood. So we could get a pleasant surprise there.

At this point we're looking at a pretty weak open. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about 5, Dow futures are down 50 and the Nasdaq futures are about 10 points below fair value.

August 29, 2002

For years, the largest actively managed mutual fund has been Fidelity Magellan. No more. A bond fund, the Pimco Total Return fund, is now the top dog. Bond funds are all the rage nowadays, as investors follow their age-old habit of pouring the most money into the types of funds whose best returns may well be in the past. In fact, the five top selling mutual funds last month were all bond funds, with the most of the July money going to the Vanguard GMNA fund.

The markets go up the markets go down. But one thing, it seems, never changes. Americans love donuts. Krispy Kreme once again beat earnings estimates this morning, on a nearly 50% increase in earnings and a 28% increase in sales.

At 8:30, we'll get the latest revision to second quarter Gross Domestic Product. Expect a slight revision up to 1.2 per cent. You can also expect that we'll continue our pre-holiday slump at the open this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about 4, Dow futures are down 36 and the Nasdaq futures are about 7 points below fair value.

August 28, 2002

Summer's almost over, but in case you can't make it to Cedar Point, the stock market roller coaster is still running at full tilt. An extremely strong durable goods report yesterday got us off on the right foot yesterday, but a lower than expected Consumer Confidence number sent stocks lower for the day.

Hewlett Packard hit their earnings number yesterday, but warned that overseas demand is still slipping. Nortel also warned that next quarter's sales will slip by 10 percent, and said another 16% of their workers will be looking for work elsewhere fairly soon.

There's no significant earnings or economic news on the docket for today. It looks like we'll continue to drift lower at 9:30.

European markets are down about 2 to 3 percent after our selloff yesterday. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about 4, Dow futures are down 17 and the Nasdaq futures are about 7 points below fair value.

August 27, 2002

Once again yesterday, a last minute rally pushed the market to a positive finish. That's a pattern we've seen a lot in the past few weeks.

A lot of information comes out today. The consensus for the July Durable Goods report is an increase of 1.5%, but the range of estimates is wide. Some are calling for a rise of 7% or more. One major broker is actually forecasting a decline of over 1 percent. The report comes in about 15 minutes.

August Consumer Confidence number will be released at 10 o'clock, and it's expected to be just about even with last month's reading of 97.1. Earnings are due from Hewlett-Packard later today as well.

We have two bits of bad news this morning. Cautious comments last night from Intel and a broker downgrade of the retailing sector. So while European markets are again in pretty good shape this morning, it looks like we'll have lower prices in the U.S. at 9:30 this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about 6, Dow futures are down 62, and the Nasdaq futures about 16 points below fair value.

August 26, 2002

The Dow Jones is now up five weeks in a row, as we head into the last week of vacation season. There will be a lot of traders away this week, although we will get a good bit of economic data rolling in. Whatever direction that data takes us may be tough to reverse until everybody gets back from the beach.

The July reports on new home sales and existing home sales will be released at 10 o'clock. Although new home sales are expected to drop a tiny bit, sales of existing homes are expected to rise to about 5 and one-third million.

In Japan the Nikkei was up 2 percent over night. London markets are closed and the rest of Europe is up slightly. It looks like we'll start the week with a little rally. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 6, Dow futures are up 39, and the Nasdaq futures about 9 points above fair value.

August 23, 2002

It should be a pretty quiet day. No economic reports on the way and only a few earnings reports. People are still reading books, as Borders beat estimates by a penny. But more and more people are recording their favorite TV shows, as TiVo beat estimates by 12 cents per share as their revenue increased nearly six-fold over last year.

The biggest market driver this morning is likely to be a decline in the value of Citigroup. The New York Attorney General is investigating how Citigroup got some lucrative investment banking business from AT&T in April of 2000. Speculation is that the business went to Citigroup subsidiary Salomon Smith Barney only after the telecom analyst Jack Grubman changed his rating and said wonderful things about AT&T stock. Now wouldn't that be a big surprise.

Europe is down slightly this morning, and it looks like we'll see a little pullback at 9:30.

Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up down about 7, Dow futures are down 46, and the Nasdaq futures about 9 points below fair value.

August 22, 2002

Watching the stock market has been a lot like watching a basketball game lately. Nothing important seems to happen until the last five minutes. Another late rally pushed prices up at the close yesterday, as we continue to meander through a week without a lot of major news.

We'll get the weekly reading on initial claims for unemployment compensation this morning, but that's about it, as far as economic news goes, for the rest of the week.

There's more trouble cooking for Martha Stewart. She, along with a venture capital firm and some executives at her company are being sued by a shareholder. The suit alleges that the defendants secretly dumped stock in Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia knowing that Ms. Stewart was under investigation for insider trading of Imclone, but before news of that investigation was made public.

European markets are up on the order of one percent, and our futures started to turn positive in the six o'clock hour this morning. At this point, it looks like we're in for a small rally at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 2, Dow futures are up 11, and the Nasdaq futures about 8 points above fair value.

August 21, 2002

Budget Rental Car Company will soon be under the same umbrella as Avis. That's because Cendant, Avis' parent, will buy Budget out of bankruptcy. You wonder how a company whose very name is "budget" could go bankrupt.

The Government's first public breakthrough in prosecuting former Enron executives will reportedly come today. Michael Kopper, who used to work under former Enron CFO Andy Fastow, has cut a deal with the Government. Kopper will plead guilty to money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and will cough up 12 million bucks. Now the beans start spilling. Kopper will spill the beans on other former Enron pals, while undoubtedly, they will start trying to dish some dirt on him.

Discount retailers continue to do well. Big Lots beat estimates handily on a 12% increase in same store sales.

European markets are in good shape this morning, and we'll start the day with a pretty good rally. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 10, Dow futures are up 81, and the Nasdaq futures about 18 points above fair value.

August 20, 2002

The stock market continues to teach lessons. The problem is that the test always comes before the lesson. Since July 23, the Dow Jones Industrials are up 17%. Granted, things were scary four weeks ago, but those who pulled out of the market to buy a CD that will pay 3% over the next year may want to start keeping a diary. It might help them stick to their plan the next time around.

Home Depot reported quarterly profits of 50 cents per share this morning. That topped estimates by 3 cents per share. Interestingly, though, same store sales were up only one percent. Competitor Lowe's reported a same store sales increase of almost 7 percent. Staples beat estimates by a penny.

Later today Saks and Medtronic will report earnings. But at this point, it looks like we'll give back a good bit of yesterday's rally at the open.

Asia was up a little overnight. European markets are down 1 to 1 ½ percent this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about 9, Dow futures are down 69, and the Nasdaq futures about 14 points below fair value.

August 19, 2002

Don't look now, but we've had four weeks in a row of gains for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. That the first time that's happened since March.

It should be a relatively quiet week, as everyone who hasn't taken a vacation yet this summer is heading for the beach. The only economic report of any real importance this week comes out at 10 o'clock this morning. The July Index of Leading Economic Indicators is expected to decline about a half percent after a flat performance last month.

Lowe's reported earnings this morning, beating estimates by a nickel per share on a 22 percent increase in sales. They're projecting third quarter revenue to be 18 to 19% higher than last year. Later today, Toys R Us and Agilent will also report earnings for the quarter. European markets are up about 1 to 2 percent this morning. Our futures are suggesting a tiny gain at the open today. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 2, Dow futures are up 7, and the Nasdaq is about a point about fair value.

August 16, 2002

One of the poster children for irrational exuberance is out of work this morning. Jack Grubman the telecom cheerleader from Salomon Smith Barney has resigned his seven-figure salary. Don't feel too badly for Jack - his severance package is reported to be worth 32 million dollars. Now tell the truth would you resign your job for a paltry 32 million?

While you ponder that, the markets will be pondering three big economic reports this morning. The July Consumer Price Index will be released in about fifteen minutes as will the July Housing starts. Expect two tenths of a percent in the CPI as inflation continues to be a no-show. Housing starts are expected to rise just a tick to 1.68 million units. At 9:45, the University of Michigan's first look at August Consumer Sentiment will come out. It's also expected to be up just a bit to a reading of 89.

Dell and Analog Devices met earnings estimates last night. European markets are mixed. There's not a lot of movement in our futures this morning, although we could again see some early profit taking after yesterday's late gains.

August 15, 2002

Yesterday was the deadline for the executives of 695 companies to certify their financial statements. As of about 20 minutes ago, the SEC website had still not been updated to reflect yesterday's certifications. Most companies did wait until the very last minute yesterday to file, and there is a five day extension of time to file available. But word is that outside of the problem children we already knew about, like Enron, Worldcom and Adelphia, only a few companies will have to restate prior performance numbers. The biggest names that may be re-stating include Bristol-Myers, CMS Energy and America Online, although the problems at AOL amount to about 49 million dollars, which really amounts to a very small bump on a very large log.

As it became apparent that we weren't headed for massive restatements yesterday, some big buy programs kicked in just before 2 o'clock and turned a hundred point loss into a 260 point gain on the Dow. This morning's earnings reportes have been pretty good. Dell's earnings report comes later today.

Overseas markets are up one to three percent. And it looks pretty good for stocks at the open today. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up almost 6, Dow futures are up 28, and the Nasdaq futures are about 7 points above fair value.

August 14, 2002

The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee did exactly as we had speculated yesterday morning. They did not change interest rates, but warned that the major risk to the economy in the near future is recession, not inflation. Yet if you read the actual Fed statement, it clearly states that the Fed thinks it has cut rates enough at this point. The market sold off late in the day after the Fed announcement, but a lot of that sell-off came in the aerospace industry, reflecting the troubles at U.S. Air, American and United Airlines.

If you try to send a fax to the Securities and Exchange Commission today and you get a busy signal, don't be surprised. The top executives of 695 of the largest U.S. companies are required to certify their financials under criminal penalty by 5:30 this afternoon. So far, a little less than half have signed on. Another 247 companies will have to certify at various dates between now and the end of the year.

The futures are pointing toward a slightly weaker market at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are a point, Dow futures are down 18, and the Nasdaq futures are about 3 points below fair value.

August 13, 2002

The next 33 hours will sure be interesting for the stock and bond markets. In 15 minutes we'll get the July Retail Sales report. It's expected that retail sales were up one percent or so, largely on strong auto sales.

At 2:15 this afternoon, Alan Greenspan and his friends will announce the direction of short-term interest rates. While a cut in rates would be a surprise, it wouldn't be a shock. Most likely, rates will stay where they are, but the Committee's statement may indicate that they are more worried about recession than inflation in the months to come.

And of course by 5 o'clock tomorrow afternoon, the CEO's and CFO's of 750 or so of the biggest U.S. companies will have to certify their financial statements. So far, only about a quarter of the required companies have certified. The futures are pointing toward a weaker market at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 9, Dow futures are down 64, and the Nasdaq futures are about 12 points below fair value.

August 2, 2002

Those that are still bullish on stocks have been pointing toward encouraging economic data during the past six months or so. Month after month, it sure looked like the economy was getting stronger. Well, that theory ran into another bucket of cold water yesterday. The July ISM Index suggests that the manufacturing recovery has slowed to a crawl and June construction spending was weaker than expected. In fact it's at a two year low.

Speaking of key economic data, in about 15 minutes we'll get the July jobs report and June personal income and spending data. Economists expect the unemployment rate to hold at 5.9 percent with 60,000 new jobs created. A higher rate or fewer new jobs will probably send us lower again at 9:30. Cigna was a penny shy of estimates this morning and Disney has lowered expectations for their fourth quarter.

The futures are down just a touch in front of all those numbers coming out at 8:30. At this point, S&P and Nasdaq futures are about even with fair value, Dow futures are down 29, probably on that Disney warning.

August 1, 2002

A little end of the month buying drove stocks up in the last hour yesterday after a pretty weak day. Very weak readings on second quarter Gross Domestic Product and the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index were the culprits. And those readings don't bode well for what's on tap today.

Later this morning, the July ISM Index, which was expected to come is as 54.9, may be a little weaker than that. June Construction Spending figures also come out. Housing, of course, has been the bright spot for the economy over the past year. June spending is expected to show a 2 tenths of a percent increase.

Some people have been concerned about accounting issues at General Electric. GE's CEO says he's ready to sign off on the accuracy of GE's financials AND GE will start expensing stock options this quarter.

It looks like we'll give back yesterday's late surge at the open this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 7 ½ , Dow futures are down 56, and the Nasdaq futures are about 6 points below fair value.

July 31, 2002

It looks like we've been spared one of the wierdest names in corporate history. The accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers tried to sell its consulting division two years ago to Hewlett-Packard for $18 billion dollars. That deal fell through. They were preparing to spin off the division in an IPO, and they were going to call the company "Monday." Well, we now know what "IBM" stands for. Obviously, it stands for "I bought Monday." IBM will pay 3 and a half billion in cash and stock. That's a far cry from 18 billion. Maybe they should have tried to name it "Holiday Weekend."

The big drivers for Wednesday, as in today, will come in the form of the initial report on second quarter Gross Domestic and the July Chicago Purchasing Managers Index. GDP is expected to come in a 2.3 percent, and the Purchasing Managers Index at 56.5. For both of those numbers, the higher the better.

It looks like we're headed higher at the open, although technology stocks may be weak. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 7, Dow futures are up 53, although the Nasdaq futures are about 7 points below fair value.

July 30, 2002

Well it's been the biggest four-day rally since 1933. The Dow is almost 1200 points higher than is was last Wednesday (that's about 16 percent). Of course, that's not much help to those who panicked their way out of the market a week or two ago. But, it looks like we'll give a little of those gains back at the open this morning.

A reading on July consumer confidence will be released at 10 o'clock. It's expected to come in at a reading of 101 and a half. As most investors know by now, the CEOs of the biggest 947 companies have to swear to the accuracy of the financial statements by August 14th. So far, only 9 of those 947 companies have complied. If you'd like to check on your favorite stock, the SEC website at www.sec.gov has a list of the 947 companies and is keeping a running tally of who's come clean to date.

The futures have been improving during the past hour, but they're still weak. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 10, Dow futures are down 86 points, and the Nasdaq futures are about 16 points below fair value.

July 29, 2002

Earnings season pretty much wraps up this week as we count down to the big August 14 corporate fess-up deadline. A bunch of insurance companies report this week. Kellogg reports later today. King Pharmaceuticals met their second quarter estimate this morning. Tommy Hilfiger came in with better than expected earnings this morning.

Qwest, the Baby Bell whose accounting has been suspect for some time, announced that they will restate their financials for 1999, 2000 and 2001 and they may miss the August 14 certification deadline. Fortunately, that news has been widely anticipated, so it shouldn't bother the overall market very much this morning.

European markets are up two to three percent at this hour, and it looks like we'll have a rally on our hands at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 15, Dow futures are up 117 points, Nasdaq futures, are about 14 points above fair value.

July 26, 2002

Stocks whipped all over the place yesterday as the market traded more on rumors than on earnings reports. A very soft number on June Durable Goods got us off to a bad start, but the market rallied, only to be beaten down on rumors that the government was going to give Citigroup and JP Morgan some serious trouble over the financial advice they gave to Enron. In the end, the Dow and S&P almost got back to even, although the Nasdaq dropped 4% as semiconductor stocks and Microsoft had a bad day.

Earnings reports are pretty much over for the week. The only scheduled announcement of the day comes at 9:45 this morning, as the final July Consumer Sentiment Index is released by the University of Michigan.

Overseas markets are generally down on the order of two to three percent. The futures are mixed this morning, but have been rallying during the past first hour. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 4, Dow futures are down 38 points, Nasdaq futures, after a big drop yesterday are about 8 points above fair value.

July 25, 2002

We got back 6.3% of the Dow Industrial Average yesterday in the second biggest point gain in history. The Feds moved in and hauled off three former executives of Adelphia Communications in handcuffs yesterday. It could be that as we identify those actually responsible for corporate wrongdoing, the investing public will stop assuming that every company's management is crooked.

The earnings reports keep coming, and of the big firms reporting this morning, the only miss was Dow Chemical, which missed estimates by a penny a share. Companies doing better than expected include Blockbuster, five cents ahead, Amgen at 4 cents better, LSI Logic beat by three cents, Eastman Kodak Viacom and Autonation beat by two cents per share.

The futures are negative this morning, but not that bad when you adjust for fair value. Adjusted S&P futures are down less than a point, Dow futures are down 33 and the Nasdaq futures are 6 points below fair value.

July 24, 2002

So far in this earnings season, almost 90% of the reporting companies have met or beaten earnings expectations. That's not bad, but it hasn't been good enough to overcome the fear this bear market has brought on. Yesterday we were up and down and up and down - but the final 90 minutes did us in again, with the number of losing stocks swamping gainers.

Today, it's more earnings on the way. Beazer Homes beat estimates by 19 cents as the housing industry keeps on humming along. Dupont beat estimates by a nickel. Later today, McDonald's, Anheuser-Busch and AOL Time Warner all check in. It's probably going to take more than a string of good earnings reports to get investor psychology turned around.

Overseas markets are generally down between 3 and 5 percent. German electronics and engineering firm Siemens warned about their fourth quarter outlook and that warning, among other things, has our futures pointing to lower stock prices at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 13, Dow futures are down 96 points, Nasdaq futures are 14 points below fair value.

July 23, 2002

There will be earnings all over the place today. We'll see if the herd pays any attention, because a herd mentality is certainly in charge of stock prices. The action we've seen, especially late day sell-offs, suggest that perhaps droves of mutual fund investors have been bailing out of stock funds as fear overtakes thought in people's investment decisions. The Dow has now been down over a hundred points on ten of the fifteen trading days this month.

So far this morning, Pulte Homes beat estimates by a nickel per share and said that earnings for the rest of the year will be at the high end of the range of estimates. AT&T, on a pro-forma basis earned seven cents per share, versus estimates of three cents. Texas Instruments matched estimates last night. The biggest miss of the morning was Lucent. They'll be cutting another 7,000 jobs, Lucent is already trading at only about 2 bucks per share.

The bargain hunters are stirring this morning, although the futures have come off their highs of the morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 4, Dow futures are up 110 points, Nasdaq futures are 7 points above fair value.

July 22, 2002

The past two weeks have added up to the third worst two-week stretch for the Dow Jones Industrial average. The Dow is down 14 ½ percent since July 7th. Only the October 1987 gave us weaker two-week periods.

It's a huge bankruptcy. But it was widely expected. Worldcom filed for Chapter 11 protection electronically last night. That's bad news for stock and bondholders - possibly good news for competitors like AT&T and Sprint. Whether Worldcom ever emerges from Chapter 11 may have a big impact on the market price of phone service in the U.S. in the years to come.

Lear Corporation blew away earnings estimates for the quarter gone by. Lear earned a dollar twenty-seven versus expectations of a dollar eighteen, and they raised guidance for the remainder of the year. 3M also beat estimates this morning, and also guided higher for the rest of the year.

The futures are well above their lows of the morning, but it looks like a slightly lower open at 9:30 this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 6, Dow futures are down 46, Nasdaq futures are a point and a half below fair value.

July 19, 2002

The earnings reports continue to be pretty good, but stocks keep selling off. Yesterday's late day selloff shows no sign of letting up as we head toward the open today.

A big date on the investment calendar is August 14th. That's the deadline set by the SEC for about a thousand big companies. On or before August 14th, the companies' CEOs and CFOs will have to certify the accuracy of the company financials. If there are more big corporate shenanigans afoot, we'll find out by then. Delphi isn't waiting. Delphi's top guys have today attested to their 2001 and 2002 financials. Let's hope we get a wave of similar announcements well before the August 14th deadline.

The Dow Jones and S&P will be under some significant pressure this morning. Johnson & Johnson is off about 10% in the premarket, Microsoft also slumping a bit, even though they beat estimates yesterday.

Europe is off about 3 percent and our futures have been slipping all morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 13, Dow futures are down 125, Nasdaq futures are 15 points below fair value.

July 18, 2002

The vast majority of corporate earnings reports this week have been pretty good, at least on a "pro-forma" or operating basis. That's a lot different than a full accounting under generally accepted accounting principles. "Pro-forma" results are great, except a company can just ignore certain expenses that are deemed to be "extraordinary." Which is sort of like saying, "I stayed strictly on my diet, except for that extraordinary strawberry pie that I completely devoured."

On a pro-forma basis, IBM's beat estimates last night by a penny a share, making 84 cents per share, as long as you ignore the 81 cents per share of strawberry pie. IBM traded up in the after-hours last night, but it's down this morning on a downgrade from a major brokerage house.

Daimler Chrysler raised their 2002 profit outlook this morning. At 10 o'clock we'll get the June Leading Economic Indicators, which are expected to be unchanged from last month.

The futures were very strong a few hours ago, but that was then and this is now. At this point, no big move is in the cards at 9:30. S&P futures are flat, Dow futures are down 16, Nasdaq futures pointing toward about a 6 point decline.

July 17, 2002

Seven in a row. That's the number of down sessions for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. A very late day selloff did most of the damage, although it looks like we'll get a bounce back in the early going this morning.

Seven of the thirty companies in the Dow report earnings today, and a lot of other companies do too. One of them is Ford Motor, and the news for the quarter is good. An operating profit of 31 cents per share beat the estimate of 26 cents. That compares with a year ago loss of 30 cents. Delphi this morning matched estimates on income that is up almost 30% from last year.

Intel missed by 2 cents last night, but said that the rest of the year will be relatively flat. Intel up slightly in the premarket this morning. Later today IBM's report will be another important indicator for technology stocks. In ten minutes, we'll get the June Housing starts. They are expected to come in slightly lower than last month, just under 1.7 million units.

It looks like Ernie Harwell will ignite rally today when he rings the opening bell on the Amex. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 14, Dow futures are up 93 and the Nasdaq are about 23 points above fair value.

July 16, 2002

We have it all today. Big earnings reports coming from Intel, Johnson & Johnson and Motorola. Big story from yesterday as the Dow rallied 400 points in the last ninety minutes after being down nearly 440 points. We'll get industrial production numbers at 9:15 and Greenspan speaks to Congress at 10 o'clock.

So far today on the earnings front, General Motors reported earnings of $2.63 excluding special charges and Hughes. Including those items, the number is $2.43 per share. Either way, it's a better number than expected. Alcan beat estimates by a nickel, Level 3 Communications by 2 cents. Merrill Lynch beat estimates by 8 cents. The only big miss of the morning has been the New York Times, missing by 8 cents per share.

It looks like technology stocks, which have been pummeled over the past few months will hold up better than most today, at least until we hear from Intel.

The futures are not as bad as they were earlier this morning, but they're still not a thing of beauty. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about 10, Dow futures are down 105 but the Nasdaq are only about 4 points below fair value.

July 15, 2002

Good news. Soon you'll be able to get your Viagra and your Celebrex in a twin pack. A big pharmaceutical merger this morning. Pfizer, whose last big purchase was Warner-Lambert, will buy Pharmacia. It's an all-stock deal, and based on Pfizer's price Friday, it gives Pharmacia shareholders a 38% premium, somewhere around 45 bucks per share. Pfizer, by the way, beat estimates by a penny per share for the quarter.

One third of the S&P 500 companies report earnings this week. Hopefully, we spend the next couple weeks looking at corporate performance, rather than worrying about a few high profile shenanigans.

Only one miss one the earnings front this morning. Fleet Boston Financial missed estimates by 11 cents per share. Coca Cola has announced that they will start expensing stock options next quarter. That's one small step - let's hope other companies start fessing up without coercion from Congress.

On their >

July 12, 2002

It's been a scary week for investors who are not committed to a long-term investment plan. Even though is looks like the economy is improving, few big bankruptcies, a few big corporate scandals, throw in a little insider trading and revelations of long-standing conflicts of interest among the brokers, the accountants, the SEC and let's not even talk about grandstanding politicians ---- a lot of people are just panicking their way out of stocks.

A big worry is what second quarter profits would look like, as companies presumably lean on their accountants for super-clean numbers. Well, so far, so good. General Electric came out this morning, hitting estimates right on the nose and confirming estimates for the rest of the year. Accenture, formerly known as Andersen Consulting (although that's probably not in their marketing brochure) beat estimates by a penny. Dell Computer says they are having a better quarter than analysts expect.

In ten minutes, we'll get June Retail Sales and later this morning, the U of M Sentiment Index.

It looks like we'll get some follow through on yesterday's strong finish. As we look toward the market open, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 5, Dow futures are up 62 and the Nasdaq futures 22 points above fair value.

July 11, 2002

We had stocks on the rise for the first twenty minutes of trading yesterday. Then things turned south and it turned into one long and grinding road. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are now back to the same level they held in 1997.

Earnings reports are starting to roll now. Presumably, anybody reporting this quarter has had their accountants in for a second or third look. We'll see if the increased scrutiny translates into lower earnings. So far this morning, no big surprises. Yahoo, First Data and Genentech all beat estimates by a penny per share. Walmart and Eastman Kodak both say this morning that the current quarter will be better than current estimates.

In ten minutes, we'll get the June Producer Price Index, although inflation is about the last thing on investor minds in this environment.

The futures are not giving us any strong indication this morning. S&P, Dow and Nasdaq futures are all within a couple points of fair value.

July 10, 2002

A lot of people have invested in the Standard & Poors 500 Index through a mutual fund in recent years, thinking that they were investing in the stock market as a whole. In reality, the S&P 500 is just a list of 500 stocks. It doesn't represent the whole market, and the decision of which stocks are in and which stocks are out is in the hands of an eight-person committee at Standard and Poors. Their latest decision was announced this morning and takes effect in a couple weeks. All non-U.S. companies are booted out effective at the close July 19. Two European and five Canadian companies are getting tossed. Royal Dutch Petroleum, Unilever, Nortel, Alcan and a few others go out. What goes in? UPS, Ebay, Goldman Sachs, Electronic Arts and a few others. The prices of all those stocks will be impacted today. But if you have money invested in the S&P 500, get the list. Read the prospectus. Make sure that you know what you own.

The futures have been improving since about 7 this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 6, Dow futures are up 26 and the Nasdaq futures are 19 points above fair value.

July 9, 2002

The House Finance Committee grilled former Worldcom executives, who both refused to testify yesterday. Worldcom's former auditor and Worldcom's best known cheerleader, analyst Jack Grubman who did testify, took quite a beating. The highlight of the session may have been one Congressperson addressing Jack Grubman, who works for Salomon Smith Barney as "an analyst from Salomon Barney Frank." You know, you wonder sometimes. But anyway, those hearings set the tone for the market yesterday as we gave back a big chunk of Friday's gains.

Today it will be President Bush front and center on Wall Street. He will reportedly propose stricter regulation of corporate goverance. While any severe restrictions may hurt profits in the short term, if this new proposal restores investor confidence that someone will be watching the store, we could get some good reaction in stock prices.

Pepsi Bottling met estimates this morning. Their income is up almost 20% over last year.

Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 3, Dow futures are down 19 and the Nasdaq futures are about 4 points below fair value.

July 8, 2002

We escaped last week without a major terrorist attack and without any last minute earnings warnings. As a result, Friday gave us the strongest rally of the year, although we'll be giving a chunk of that back at the open this morning.

This will be one interesting week. Congress starts its hearings on the Worldcom fraud today, and tomorrow, President Bush goes to Wall Street with a financial reform proposal. Second quarter earnings season starts today with the report from Alcoa.

One big accounting story this morning. Merck, the big drug company and a member of the Dow Jones Industrial Index, has disclosed that the booked over 12 billion dollars of revenue over the past three years that they didn't receive. That sounds horrible on the sur>
The futures are well off their worst levels of the morning, but we're still looking weaker at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 3 ½ , Dow futures are down 53 and the Nasdaq futures are 11 points below fair value.

July 5, 2002

Short trading weeks can be pretty volatile, and this one is living up to that description. Wednesday was another dismal day for stocks until about 2:30 in the afternoon, when a nice little rally took us to a positive close.

One more accounting restatement this morning. The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company will restate a couple of years of financial statements and adjust 2001 reports for an incorrect accounting method and take a 9 and a half million dollar charge.

In about 15 minutes we'll get the June Unemployment Rate. It's expected to rise to 5.9%. Average hourly earnings are expected to rise about 3 tenths of a percent.

The vague threat of a 4th of July terrorist attack was one of the factors weighing on the market during the past week, and with that threat behind us, we'll start today's short session with a rally, and it should be a pretty good one.

Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up more than 13, Dow futures are up 124, and the Nasdaq futures are 24 points above fair value.

July 3, 2002

It's pretty tough to come up with a very optimistic outlook for the market this morning. We're looking at the last day of trading before a holiday that includes some terrorism event risk. On Friday, volume will likely be light - and any company that has bad news to announce may find it a good day to fess up. Add it all up, and it's tough to look forward to the rest of the trading day.

Advanced Micro Devices isn't waiting for Friday, they warned about a shortage of sales for the quarter this morning. That's the second time in two weeks they have warned.

At ten o'clock we'll get a report on Factory Orders, but absent a shocking strong number, it's not going to be a market mover.

Europe is off 2 to 3 percent. The futures are off their worst levels of the morning, but we're still looking to be lower at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about 6, Dow futures are down 47, and the Nasdaq futures are 6 points below fair value. Have a good Holiday in spite of all that.

July 2, 2002

Yesterday's market was pretty ugly, as investors again ignored some pretty good economic news to focus on accounting worries. And surprise, surprise, another piece of dirty laundry this morning. Now this is old dirty laundry, and it's only a report in a French newspaper, but it's giving European markets the jitters this morning.

The story is the French company Vivendi tried to enhance earnings last October by over one and a third billion dollars before French regulators made them back down. Vivendi's CEO resigned yesterday, Moody's has cut their credit rating to junk status. Trading in Vivendi stock has been suspended in Europe. It was down, oh, about 40% before trading stopped.

No big economic reports are due out today. We will get a Job Cuts survey and some car sales data.

Europe is a mess this morning on the Vivendi story. Our futures, which were positive early this morning, have also headed south. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 3, Dow futures are down 17, and the Nasdaq futures are about 12 points below fair value.

July 1, 2002

It will be market interruptus this week. The bond market will have short trading days Wednesday and Friday. The stock market will be closed on Thursday. Presumably that means a quiet week of trading, but it looks like we'll get off to a modestly positive start.

Northrop Grumman has been chasing TRW for months now, and it looks like they'll finally get together. Northrop had originally offered 47 bucks per share. It looks now like they will acquire TRW for about 60 dollars per share.

At 10 o'clock this morning, we'll get the latest reading on construction spending and the June ISM Index, that's a measure of manufacturing activity. Both numbers are expected to be little changed from last month. Just minutes ago 3M reported that their numbers for the past quarter will be better than expected.

Overseas markets are slightly positive on the whole, but there's not a whole lot going on, and that's exactly what our futures are indicating. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 2, Dow futures are up 25, and the Nasdaq futures are just about even with fair value.

June 28, 2002

In the wake of the accounting problems at Enron and Worldcom, one of the big questions in the market is: How many more? Well, at least one more this morning. In April, the SEC found a 3 billion dollar problem with revenue recognition at Xerox, and fined the company 10 million dollars. Well, another audit has discovered that the problem is more like 6 billion dollars.

Now keep in mind that the problem here is not outright fraud, but a problem with the timing of revenue recognition on long-term contracts. That means that the long-term impact on earnings may be more one of timing, rather than outright fabrication. Still, this is one more story that's not going to do investor confidence a lot of good.

At 9:45, we'll get the University of Michigan June Consumer Sentiment number, and 15 minutes later the June Chicago Purchasing Managers Index.

Futures have slipped since the Xerox story broke this morning, but they're only pointing toward a mixed market at 9:30. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 2, Dow futures are down 15, and Nasdaq futures are about 3 points above fair value.

June 27, 2002

Forget about theme parks. If you like roller coasters, yesterday's stock market was really fun, especially if you put your arms way over your head and screamed all the way. We started the day down a couple hundred on the Dow, 50 on the Nasdaq, and finished the day basically unchanged.

By the end of the day, investors decided that the Worldcom accounting fraud was unsettling, but, the company was probably going to go Chapter 11 anyway. And, this may finally be the flashpoint that motivates the government to start throwing some of the guilty in jail, which as Martha Stewart would say, "would be a good thing." Okay-she might not say that at this point ---- but in any event ..... it looks like yesterday's rebound will continue this morning.

The latest revision of first quarter domestic product comes out in ten minutes. We'll also get the quarterly earnings report from Nike a little later.

Overseas markets are up this morning. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 10 points, Dow futures are up 43, and the Nasdaq futures are about 15 points above fair value.

June 26, 2002

Remember the good old days, when had politicians we could count on to give us scandal after scandal to talk about? Well, the politicians have been replaced by CEOs and CFOs and brokers and auditors, and it's getting a lot more expensive for investors, as everyone wonders just whom can you trust?

Last night, Worldcom, the giant telecom company on a pretty significant downward spiral already, disclosed a nearly 4 billion dollar accounting fraud. Worldcom will restate 2001 and first quarter 2002 financials, layoff 17,000 people and they have fired their CFO. They fired their auditor, Arthur Andersen, earlier this year. Worldcom is down from 83 cents per share to 10 cents in the premarket this morning.

If that wasn't enough, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that an assistant to Martha Stewart's stock broker was pressured to lie to investigators about her trading activity in ImClone.

All this adds up to a terrible start for stocks this morning. Overseas markets are down on the order of 4 percent. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 27 points, Dow futures are down 227, and the Nasdaq futures are about 42 points below fair value.

June 25, 2002

One important release at 10 o'clock this morning. The June Consumer Confidence Index is expected to decline by a few points to a level of 106.

Yesterday, I promised to discuss the "fair value" adjustment we use each morning. Let's simplify it. The best way of predicting demand for stocks each morning is by looking at the price level of "stock index futures," which are financial instruments that trade most of the morning before the stock market opens. If the futures contract on a particular stock index, like the S&P 500 is rising, compared to where the S&P 500 index closed the day before, it's likely that those stocks will rise at the open.

However, in order to accurately use the futures as a yardstick, you have to adjust the morning futures to reflect several technical differences between the prior night's close of the futures, the prior night's close of the particular stock index and the "theoretical cost" of owning the stocks in the underlying index. Confused yet? It just means that you're awake. A full explanation is a bit complex. I've put amore information and some additional resources on our website at starfireinvest.com.

Sometimes the adjustment can be pretty dramatic. For instance, this morning the S&P futures are up about 3 ½ points, but adjusted for fair value, they are actually up 7. Dow futures are up 20, but adjusted for fair value they are up 51. Nasdaq futures are currently about 10 points above fair value. Suffice it to say, that at this point, the futures are pointing toward a positive open for stocks at 9:30.

June 24, 2002

We'll get earnings reports from Sonic and Walgreen later today, but that's really about it for scheduled announcements. Investors will look more toward the UNscheduled announcements. If companies will be warning about their quarterly earnings, most will do it this week or next.

A lot of investors aren't waiting for more bad news. With the S&P 500 down 14% this year and the Nasdaq 100 down almost 35%, there's a rising tide of investors putting long-term strategies on hold, and deciding to pull out of stocks and sit on the sidelines until the storm passes.

Japan's Nikkei index was up overnight as the Bank of Japan intervened to weaken the yen. Europe, however, is down pretty decisively. London down 1 percent, but Germany and France are off right around 3 percent.

Our futures have been sliding most of the morning. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 3 points, Dow futures are down 33, and the Nasdaq futures are about 19 points below fair value.

June 21, 2002

More stocks declined in value than those that advanced yesterday, but not a lot more. Unfortunately, a lot of the stocks that have heavy weightings in the major indexes had a lousy day yesterday. Top that list with General Motors. Both Ford and GM lost over 4.5% over their value yesterday as an influential analyst downgraded the entire automotive sector.

If you're still focusing on the economy, rather than analysts, terrorists and other troublesome people, yesterday's news was actually pretty good. The Leading Economic Indicators rose four tenths of a percent, which was better than expected. Yesterday afternoon, the Philadelphia Fed Survey went out of its way to point out a significant increase in manufacturing activity.

Today could be a bit volatile. It's triple witching day, as stock option, index option and index futures contracts all close out.

But at this point, we could get a little bargain hunting at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 4, Dow futures are up 17 and the Nasdaq futures are 8 points above fair value.

June 20, 2002

It wasn't exactly a perfect backdrop for investors yesterday. Two bombings in Israel, an evacuation of the White House due to a small plane in restricted airspace, a suspicious package found at the Fed. Every time the market tried to rally yesterday, well, like Gilda Radner used to say, "It's always something."

This morning, it's something else. Nokia is confirming that they see no recovery in network spending and that handset sales will be up only 10 percent the rest of the year. That's down from prior guidance of 15%.

The latest jobless claims number comes out in 10 minutes, but more importantly, at 10 o'clock this morning, the May Leading Indicators number is expected to rise 2 tenths of a percent. That would be a reversal of a decline last month, and could give us a much-needed lift.

Europe is off 1 to 2 percent this morning. Our futures have been sliding the past couple hours. At this point, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 5, Dow futures are off 38 and the Nasdaq futures are 12 points below fair value.

June 19, 2002

The hockey season is officially over, but earnings warning season officially kicked off last night. Quite frankly, hockey was a lot more fun.

Oracle announced better earnings than expected after the close last night, but warned that it sees no increase in technology spending for the next six months. Apple Computer and Ciena cut their 3rd quarter estimates and Advanced Micro Devices cut its 2nd quarter outlook. Put that together with word that the Justice Department is investigating price fixing in the D-Ram chip industry, and we've got technology stocks in a whole heap of trouble this morning.

TRW has sold its Aeuronautics Division. That used to be known as Lucas Aeronautics. They are selling it to Goodrich for one and a half billion dollars.

This is one of those mornings when adjusting the futures numbers for fair value is important. The raw futures numbers are a little scary, but adjusted for fair value, they're-well - just not very pretty. Adjusted S&P futures are down 7, Dow futures are down 78, and the Nasdaq futures are about 11 points below fair value.

June 18, 2002

Stock market direction has been pretty easy to predict lately, as long as you knew where the next bomb was going to explode and what it was going to be made of. This morning, another bombing in Israel, and so far, another stumble for European stocks. All that is weighing on our futures as well, but some help may be on the way.

In about 10 minutes, the Consumer Price Index for May will be released. It's expected that inflation was virtually nonexistent in May, which certainly gives the Fed some room in holding interest rates down. Also at 8:30 May Housing Start data is expected to show an increase of 1.6 million. That's an annual increase of 2.9%.

Lehman Brothers beat estimates by 3 cents this morning. Circuit City and Best Buy each beat estimates a penny. Pier One hit their number. Later today, Oracle reports in.

Don't look now, but the futures are about as far down this morning as they were up 24 hours ago. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about 5 ½ , Dow futures are down 52 points, and the Nasdaq futures are about 13 points below fair value. Of course, the CPI and housing start numbers at 8:30 could well change things before the broad market opens at 9:30.

June 17, 2002

Stocks fell last week for the fourth week in a row. The S&P 500 is now down over 12 percent on the year, and the Nasdaq Composite is down almost 23 percent. More terrorist worries and the U of M Consumer Sentiment Index had stocks diving Friday, until some late buying moderated the losses.

It's another Monday, so we have another Chapter 11 filing. This morning it's XO Communications filing for bankruptcy protection. The company says it's working on a reorganization financing package, and that no additional jobs will be lost.

Asian stock markets were down overnight, but European markets are up strongly this morning, anywhere between 1 ½ to 3 percent, after a lousy day on Friday. Over here, we'll let them see red at the parade today, but the stock markets will start in the green. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 5 ½ , Dow futures are up 31 points, and the Nasdaq futures are about 13 points above fair value.

June 11, 2002

Earnings season is over and the big economic numbers for the week won't roll out until Thursday and Friday. But, it's been an interesting morning nonetheless. Abbott Labs started a conference call about 20 minutes ago. They're lowering earnings estimates for the quarter and the year. Also this morning, Nokia issued a mid-quarter update. It was a case of the good, the bad and the ugly. Nokia says they will hit their earnings per share number on better than expected margins, but handset sales are barely growing and networking sales will be down about 25%. The value of Nokia stock has been more than cut in half since the beginning of the year. Initial reaction to the Nokia report was decidedly negative, but in the past couple of hours the futures have recovered and we're actually looking toward a positive open at 9:30.

In Japan, the Nikkei was up about 80 points. Europe is mostly higher at this hour. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 3, Dow futures are up 19 points, and the Nasdaq futures are about 8 points above fair value.

June 10, 2002

We headed lower for the third week in a row last week. Of course, the news out of Intel Thursday night about slowing sales in Europe took us way down early Friday, although stocks finished the day in much better shape than they could have.

The Houston jury charged with deciding whether Arthur Andersen broke the law in the Enron affair is going into yet another day of deliberations today. That seems to be a lot of deliberating of what was supposedly an open and shut case. Separately in the accounting world, Adelphia, the troubled cable firm is reportedly dismissing Deloitte and Touche, their auditors. They are reportedly upset that the auditors didn't stop the company from cooking their own books.

Japanese stocks were down a little overnight, Europe is up a little, but trading everywhere overseas is light. Everybody's watching some big soccer tournament. Boy, they're missing some good hockey games. In any event, futures on U.S. stocks are pointing to a very slight uptick when the market opens. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 3, Dow futures are up 20 points, and the Nasdaq futures are about 2 points above fair value.

June 7, 2002

There's not a lot of hope for a positive start in stocks this morning. Last night, Intel lowered their sales forecast for the quarter as well as their projected gross margin. They blamed slowing sales in Europe. But, blame what you will, it's going to be a rough start to trading at 9:30 this morning. Biogen also warning this morning that their quarter won't be up to snuff.

Some key employment numbers roll out in ten minutes. It's expected that 60 to 75 thousand non-farm jobs were added in the past month, and that the April unemployment rate ticked up from 6 to 6.1 percent. Employment costs are expected to rise by 3 tenths of a percent.

Japanese stocks were only off 1 percent, but Europe is off this morning on the order to 2 to 3 percent. Futures on the U.S. stock indexes are downright ugly this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 17, Dow futures are down 115 points, and the Nasdaq futures are about 49 points below fair value.

June 6, 2002

There's a tug of war going on in the pre-market with the price of Intel. One major brokerage firm added Intel to its recommended list, while another major brokerage firm downgraded Intel stock. Later today, we'll find out who's got the real scoop as Intel will give a mid-quarter update. EMC, the big computer storage company will also hold an analyst meeting today.

Circuit City and Radio shack both reaffirmed their outlooks for the year. Circuit City reported same store sales up 12%.

Late yesterday afternoon, Oracle's Chairman told analysts that Oracle will at least meet their projected numbers for the latest quarter. That gave the whole market a late session boost.

Europe is up this morning. Futures on U.S. stocks have slipped a little in the past hour, and we're looking for a slightly lower market at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are flat, Dow futures are down 14, but the Nasdaq futures are about 12 points below fair value.

June 5, 2002

Alan Greenspan tried to take the market's mind off the prospect of nuclear war yesterday. And, he's a good man for the job. Greenspan said that the economy is getting better, inflation is in check, and things will continue to get better, although not at a dramatic rate. And the market said - that's great, what's going on in India?

The Dow Jones was briefly below 9600 yesterday, and then a rumor circulated that the Pakistanis and Indians were starting to get along again. That sparked a nice rally, and markets closed mixed at the end of what was looking to be a pretty ugly day.

Albertson's beat estimates by a penny this morning, but there's nothing big on the economic agenda until Friday. The market will continue to trade on news from the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent.

The London market is finally open again, and is down about 2 percent. The rest of Europe is up about 1 percent. Adjusted for fair value, our futures pointing toward a slightly positive open for U.S. trading. S&P futures are up 1, Dow futures are up 11, but the Nasdaq futures are just above even with fair value.

June 4, 2002

The resignation of Tyco's CEO, the apparent suicide of El Paso's Treasurer, we got a steady stream of unsettling news yesterday. Sellers overwhelmed buyers, especially in the last hour of trading. The Standard & Poors 500 and the Nasdaq Composite haven't been this low since October as fear is firmly in control of the market.

Here's an interesting statistic. A major outplacement firm says that 80 CEOs resigned in May. That's up 48% since April. You know, a lot of CEOs spent the last 15 years designing early retirement programs for the rank and file. Maybe they've secretly come up with one for themselves?

There's not much on the economic or earnings calendar for today. Hewlett Packard is holding an analyst meeting this morning, but that's about it.

Overnight, Tokyo was off 250 points, the London market is closed again today. The rest of Europe is down 2 to 3 percent. Adjusted for fair value, our futures are not painting a pretty picture. S&P futures are down 8, Dow futures are down 60, and the Nasdaq futures are about 11 points below fair value.

June 3, 2002

Pick your favorite worry - the jobless rate, terrorism, nuclear war, the Carolina Hurricanes - everybody's scared of something and investors continued to sit on their hands last week. Well, okay, nobody's really afraid of the Hurricanes, but - back to the news.

Dennis Koslowski, the CEO who made Tyco one of the country's largest conglomerates, resigned this morning. His resignation was reported written by Tyco's Board of Directors as a story broke last night that Koslowski is under criminal investigation in New York for evasion of sales taxes.

At 10 o'clock this morning, the May ISM manufacturing Index will be released. It's expected that it will reflect another small expansion in manufacturing activity, up to 54 and a half from 53 and a half in April.

Overnight, Tokyo was up, the London market is closed for a holiday. The rest of Europe is mixed. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 2 points, Dow futures are up 12 and the Nasdaq futures are 7 points above fair value.

May 24, 2002

We haven't had a lot of strong Fridays in the stock market this year. In an age of suicide bombings and terrorist threats, a lot of traders feel more comfortable being out of stocks over the weekend. That may be even more important over a long holiday weekend. So, we could see some pressure on stocks this afternoon. The stock market will keep regular hours today, although the bond market will close at 2 o'clock.

The big economic number of the day is the latest guess at how much the Gross Domestic Product rose in the first quarter of the year. Expect an increase of 6%, that's a revision from the originally reported 5.8 percent.

No big earnings reports are due today. We will get the April New Home Sales report at 10 o'clock.

Overnight, Asia was mixed, Europe is up. Our futures are just mixed up. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up a point, Dow futures are down 16 and the Nasdaq futures are 12 points below fair value.

May 23, 2002

Well here we go. Using the New York Attorney General's shakedown of Merrill Lynch as a blueprint, Attorneys General in nine different states will now be going after Salomon Smith Barney, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers and JP Morgan for allegedly offering conflicted investment advice.

No matter what the brokers say, people are still eating donuts. Krispy Kreme again beat expectations by a penny. They earned 15 cents per share last quarter. The Chairman of the Men's Wearhouse is smiling today - I guarantee it. They beat estimates by 9 cents for the quarter.

In about ten minutes, the government will release the report on April Durable Goods Orders. Expect an increase of about a half percent.

Stocks rallied in the last hour of trading yesterday as a rumor circulated that Osama bin Laden had been captured. Unfortunately, Osama's evidently still in the mountains and stocks will probably head downhill at 9:30.

Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 3, Dow futures are down 27 and the Nasdaq futures are 12 points below fair value.

May 22, 2002

The big story on Wall Street yesterday was the settlement between New York's Attorney General and Merrill Lynch. Now, under the agreement, everybody agrees that Merrill did nothing wrong, but they will pay a fine of $100 million dollars. Which, of course, is what you always do if you did nothing wrong. This story, and the further investigations and lawsuits it is likely to spawn, will be with us for a while.

One big merger announced today. Citigroup will buy Golden State Bancorp for 5.8 billion dollars. That will give Citigroup a big foothold in California.

No big economic reports are due out today. We will get a smattering of earnings reports, but nothing really significant.

The futures have been all over the place this morning. A bomb scare at the Brooklyn Bridge this morning is just the latest scare that's shaking a market that is trading more off of war and terrorism fears than news about earnings or the economy.

Asia was up overnight, but Europe is down 1 to 2 percent at this hour. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about a point, Dow futures are just about flat and the Nasdaq futures are 12 points below fair value.

May 21, 2002

To most of us, one of the mysteries of the stock market is how it anticipates the economy by six to nine months. In other words, stocks will tend to rally six to nine months before the economy picks up. That's why one of the most intriguing economic reports each month is the Index of Leading Economic Indicators. It's an index of factors that influence future economic activity. We've had a string of positive Leading Economic Indicators, five in a row. That string ended yesterday, with a decline of 4 tenths of a percent. The market registered its disappointment, although very few shares traded yesterday.

A bunch of retailers report earnings today. So far, Home Depot beat estimates by 3 cents per share, as did Staples, as did Big Lots. Later today, Target, Borders and Saks all report in. Ford Motor could have a good day on a brokerage firm upgrade.

Futures are in better shape than they were a couple hours ago. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 3, Dow futures are up 32 and the Nasdaq futures are 11 points above fair value.

May 20, 2002

Europe is having a good day today on light volume, but stocks in the U.S. will probably get off to a messy start today. We haven't gotten any bad earnings or economic news at this point, but Vice President Cheney's comments yesterday regarding the probability of another terrorist attack are not putting the futures market in a good mood.

The earnings reports that ARE out so far have been OK. The Limited matched earnings expectations, and Lowe's beat estimates by a bunch. Lowe's earnings came in at 44 cents per shares versus expectations of 36 cents per share.

If you're looking for a possible turning point on the schedule today, point to 10 o'clock. The April Leading Economic Indicators are expected to decline 2 tenths of a percent. Any unexpected increase would sure help a lot.

Starbucks is trading down about a buck in the pre-market on a negative Barron's article, and it looks like more trouble a'brewin' at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about 5, Dow futures are down 59 and the Nasdaq futures are 20 points below fair value.

May 17, 2002

It's party time again, or at least it will be in the early going this morning. Technology stocks will lead the way for the first time in a while. Yesterday the semiconductor industry's book-to-bill ratio for April came in at 1.2. Anything above 1 means that more orders are coming in than shipments that are going out. On top of that, Dell Computer beat even their raised estimates and hiked their estimates for the July quarter by another penny per share. Add all that up, and it means that technology stocks will shoot up this morning, and probably drag the rest of the market along with.

We talked about the problems in drugland yesterday morning, and pharmaceuticals did have a dismal day. This morning, Schering-Plough says that they have signed a consent decree to end a government investigation. They'll pay the feds a half billion dollars over the next two years.

The only major economic number of the day is the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index, and that won't come out until 15 minutes after the market opens, so it looks like a sure bet that we'll be off to a good start at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 8, Dow futures are up 51 and the Nasdaq futures way up based on the Dell earnings. Nasdaq futures are 31 points above fair value.

May 16, 2002

We'll have some very interesting cross-currents running through the markets today.

Earnings reports are due from Agilent, Gap, Kohl's and Dell Computer. Overnight and so far this morning, no surprises in reported earnings for Ann Taylor, Nordstrom and Brocade Communications.

One of the few safe havens during the past couple of years have been the pharmaceutical stocks. But as a group they've been on sedatives since December and this morning there's word of a Department of Justice investigation of Pfizer and a Food and Drug Administration Criminal investigation of Schering-Plough. Put that together with a bigger than expected loss from Imclone this morning and drug stock investors made need some Prozac by the end of the day.

Dana raised their earnings estimate for the quarter this morning. The futures are pointing toward a pretty good market at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 6, Dow futures are up 46 and the Nasdaq futures are 10 points above fair value.

May 15, 2002

Can we go back to back to back? Those strong retail sales numbers gave stocks another day on the up escalator yesterday. It's the first time the Nasdaq has had two positive days in a row in about a month and a half.

After the market closed yesterday, Applied Materials beat estimates by a penny with a profit of three cents a share. More importantly, they reported a strong increase in orders from the January quarter and forecast a 10 to 15 percent increase for the current quarter. While you'd think that would give us quite a boost this morning, word of that good AMAT news was widely rumored during the regular trading session yesterday. So, a lot of that good news is probably reflected in yesterday's trading.

Before the regular market opens at 9:30, we'll get the April Consumer Price Index and April Industrial Production numbers. IBM holds it annual meeting with analysts later on.

Tokyo was up almost 300 points overnight, European markets mostly positive at this hour. Futures on all major indexes are within a sand wedge of fair value. No firm indication of the market's direction in front of those economic releases at 8:30 and 9:15 this morning.

May 14, 2002

Stocks have been doing the one step forward, one step back tango for a while now. But today we may get a second step in the right direction. Yesterday stocks enjoyed a nice steady rally, and today we'll be getting earnings reports from a bunch of major retailers. Retailers, excluding Kmart, of course, have been consistent performers over the past year, and so far, the day's news is pretty good.

So far this morning, WalMart reported a profit of 37 cents per share. Analysts were expecting 36 cents. That's a 20% increase in income on a 14 percent increase in revenue. JC Penney beat estimates by 4 cents per share, 29 cents versus 25. Tiffany's met estimates this morning.

At 8:30 the overall report on April Retail Sales is released. Its expected that excluding auto sales, retail sales went up a half percent. Including autos, the number is expected to be up six or seven tenths of a percent.

Europe is up about 1 percent, and it looks like we'll get off to a good start at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 7 ½ , Dow futures are up 58, and the Nasdaq futures are 17 points above fair value.

May 13, 2002

Miss the old Sears catalog? Evidently so does Sears. This morning, they're back in the catalog business. They're offering 62 bucks per share in cash to acquire Land's End. Lands End closed at about 51 dollars per share on Friday. So if you own some Land's End stock, you can afford a couple more of those snappy sweaters this morning.

There may be some light at the end of the unemployment tunnel. The quarterly survey from Manpower is out. This is a survey of 16,000 companies across the county. 27 percent of those companies plan to add jobs in the third quarter of 2002. That compares to 21 percent this quarter. Only 8 percent are planning cutbacks, compared to 10 percent this quarter. Adjusted for seasonal factors, that amounts to a 14% increase in hiring over the first half of the year. Of course, if you don't GET one of those jobs, that would be a 0 percent increase in income.

Japan was down another couple hundred points overnight, Europe is mixed. Our futures are in pretty good shape at this hour. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 2 ½ , Dow futures are up 34 points, and the Nasdaq futures are 8 points above fair value.

May 10, 2002

In case you thought big company layoffs were a thing of the past, hold on to your paystub. Word is that IBM will be shedding up to 2% of their workforce during the next couple of months. That's about 8,000 people who'll have a whole lot more time for golf pretty soon.

If you own shares of Best Buy, you'll own more shares of Best Buy by tomorrow. That stock will split 3 for 2 later today.

The scheduled big news of the day comes out in eight minutes or so. We'll find out how much producer prices rose in April. The overall rate is expected to rise three tenths of a percent. The core rate, which excludes food and energy, is expected to rise two tenths of a percent. Right now, we're looking for stock prices to rise at the open, but if that core rate comes in a lot higher than two tenths of a percent, things could change in a hurry. In case you haven't noticed, the market has been a little bit jittery this week.

But for now, we're looking good. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 4 ½ , Dow futures are up about 42 points, and the Nasdaq futures are 11 points above fair value.

May 9, 2002

Yesterday's market was a beautiful thing. It started with a surge and never really backed off the rest of the day. The question, of course, is whether we'll be singing this song for a while, or if yesterday was just a one hit wonder.

The Nasdaq Composite rose almost 8%, the Nasdaq 100 was up about 11%. While the Dow was only up about 3%, it was easily the best day of the year. If the 18 other times the Dow has gone up that much in a day since 1970, we usually get some upside the following day, although on average, it's far less than one percent.

Retailers are still ringing up strong sales. Costco says that their same store sales are up 6% over last year. Pier One's same store sales were up 9% and they're raising their target earnings for the year.

The futures have improved a bit during the past hour but are still pointing toward a lower market at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about 4, Dow futures are down about 40 points, and the Nasdaq futures are 7 points below fair value.

May 8, 2002

It looks like a good old-fashioned rip-snortin' rally is on tap at 9:30 this morning. Yesterday the productivity number, which was expected to be a strong 7% increase, came in at 8.6%, which was the largest gain in almost 20 years. Then after the market closed, one of the darlings of the technology boom reported better than expected earnings.

Cisco Systems' revenue for the past quarter was even with expectations, but their costs were lower, margins were better, and pro-forma earnings were 11 cents a share, which beat expectations by 2 cents. Cisco is up about 15% in pre-market trading.

We'll get a smattering of earnings reports today, from Barr Labs, CVS, Pixar and a few others, but nothing huge. Deutche Bank, which owns over 12 percent of DaimlerChrysler, says that that block of stock is up for sale.

Overseas markets are the absolute mirror image of 24 hours ago. Japan, which always responds to news in the technology sector, was up over 200 points overnight. European markets are up 1 to 2 percent. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 13, Dow futures are up about 100 points, and the Nasdaq futures are 35 points above fair value.

May 7, 2002

Yesterday was an extremely quiet day for financial news. And if you were looking for anyone in a mood to buy stocks, you were one lonely person. Without any compelling reason to buy stocks, the market concentrated on its many, many worries and selling accelerated as the day wore on.

The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee will report in at 2:15 this afternoon. But, quite frankly, nobody cares. If the Fed does anything but sit still on rates it will be a major surprise.

More importantly, in 10 minutes, we get a report on Productivity in the first quarter of 2002. This is a key number for corporate profitability, as well as inflationary expectations. We're expecting an exceptionally strong 7 percent increase in productivity, and the futures market is certainly anticipating good news, as the futures, that were negative, have been rising during the past couple hours.

Likewise in Europe, things are better than they were a couple of hours ago, but most major European markets are still down 1 to 2 percent. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 2, Dow futures are up 20, and the Nasdaq futures are 7 points above fair value.

May 6, 2002

That unemployment number we were a little afraid of Friday morning did come in worse than expected, and it gave the stock market a tough time Friday. But, as is typical in this stage of an economic recovery, the problem didn't come from fewer jobs. There were 43,000 more jobs available in March. Problem was that 565,000 more people entered the work force.

Iraq will end their famous oil embargo tomorrow night. Evidently they've finally figured out that all they've really managed to do is cost themselves a month's worth of oil revenue. Oil prices are down about 70 cents a barrel this morning on that news.

Spiderman Greenspan reappears tomorrow to tell us if interest rates will start to scale new heights. We'll also have earnings from Cisco Systems by tomorrow.

London markets are closed this morning. Most European markets are open and are up. Our futures have been doing a reverse-Spiderman thing all morning, and climbing down. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 1, Dow futures are down 5 and the Nasdaq futures are almost 6 points below fair value.

May 3, 2002

The earnings parade is winding down. On the whole, earnings haven't disappointed, although some of the guidance about future earnings has been less than inspirational.

Action is extremely light in the pre-market this morning, but things could get going early. At 8:30 this morning we'll get the big jobs report. It's expected that the unemployment rate will go up from 5.7% to 5.8%. If it goes up more than that, the market could have some trouble. Employment costs are expected to go up about 3 tenths of a percent.

Trimtabs reported that 1.9 billion dollars flowed into stock mutual funds during the week ended this past Wednesday. About 3 billion had flowed out the week before. Money continues to flow into bond funds, as investors apparently don't believe that interest rates are going up any time soon.

Tokyo was closed overnight for yet another holiday. Europe is up across the board this morning. Right now, the futures are up a little, but all that could change with the jobs data in 6 minutes. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 1 ½ , Dow futures are up 14, and the Nasdaq futures are almost 9 points above fair value.

May 2, 2002

Yesterday could prove to be a pivotal day for stocks. At mid-morning yesterday we had given back all of Tuesday's gains and then some, on a weak ISM number. But a strong rally took over in the afternoon. Even though the Nasdaq didn't quite make it back to even, the Dow gained over 100 points. The big question is whether or not it was just a short-covering rally, with the bears taking some profit off the table, or if we are seeing the return of some sustainable optimism in the market.

Xerox shares are set on "reduce" this morning. Moody's cut its rating on Xerox debt from Ba1 to B1. That might not sound like a big change, but it is.

H&R Block raised their guidance for future earnings yesterday. They appear confident that the tax law will continue to get even more screwed up as the years go by. That's the kind of visability no one can dispute.

We'll get a jobless claims number at 8:30 and the report on March Factory Orders at 10.

Right now, is looks like a mixed market at the open. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 1 ½ , Dow futures are up 13, but the Nasdaq futures are just slightly below fair value.

May 1, 2002

The long running and very expensive soap opera at Hewlett-Packard appears to be over, and won't be going into reruns. Yesterday a court decision in favor of company management allowed the merger of Hewlett-Packard and Compaq to go ahead, which it will May 7. Walter Hewlett, whose biggest claim to fame is the right last name, says that he won't appeal the ruling, and will now support the merger, after having cost shareholders hundreds of thousands of dollars in challenging the merger.

The big monthly gauge of manufacturing activity, the ISM Index, will be released at 10 o'clock this morning. Expect a reading of 55, indicating continued expansion in manufacturing activity.

Tokyo was up overnight for the first time in a week. Hong Kong and Germany are closed for May Day, London has been pretty flat all morning.

Our futures look almost identical to their level 24 hours ago. Let's hope the rest of today follows yesterday's lead. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 2 ½, Dow futures are up 20, and the Nasdaq futures are almost 4 points above fair value.

April 30, 2002

If you went to the boss for a personal loan, how much do you think the boss would be good for? Do you think you could get somewhere around 366 million? That's what Bernie Ebbers got from WorldCom, and due in part to that, he can also count on a few hundred bucks a week in unemployment compensation. Ebbers resigned as CEO of WorldCom yesterday. WorldCom stock, which traded over 60 bucks a share in late 1999, is now at 2 dollars and change. The banks in Argentina opened again yesterday after being shut for five days. The banks allowed some limited withdrawals, and the result was more frustration for the depositors, long lines, anger, shouting - you know the usual stuff. Call me crazy, but seeing televised images of people in long lines at a bank - whether it's in Argentina, or a few years ago in Russia - does not do stock prices much good. We started the day flat yesterday and continued to drift lower the rest of the day.

April Consumer Confidence numbers come in at 10 o'clock this morning.

The futures are still pointing toward a slightly higher market at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up more than 3, Dow futures are up almost 40, and the Nasdaq futures are 6 points above fair value.

April 29, 2002

If you got the feeling that things didn't go real well in the stock market last week - you got it right. The market had it's second worst week since September 11th. The Nasdaq 100 is now off over 20% this year.

One industry sector that hasn't been sick is health management. This morning, two big HMO's are getting together. One of the former Blue Cross companies, now called Anthem Healthcare is offering 4 billion dollars for Trigon Health. That's about a 25% premium to Trigon's closing price Friday.

Shares of Boeing are trading higher in the pre-market after a positive article in Barron's this weekend. In tem minutes, we'll get information on personal income and spending for March. Earnings reports are due today from Tyson Foods and Tricon Global Restaurants.

If you took the futures at >

April 26, 2002

We'll finally take a breather from all the earnings news today. Yesterday we started lower on news from Tyco, AOL and Dow. But as the day wore on, some decent earnings reports, and importantly, some reassurance about oil supply from Saudi Arabia brought us back to even by the end of the day.

After the close yesterday, a surprisingly good earnings report from Disney. Business is getting better at the theme parks, and Disney beat estimates by 3 cents. Interestingly, one major brokerage house is upgrading Disney this morning while another is downgrading its rating. So if your confused about the direction of your stocks, you appear to have a lot of company.

The big reports of the day come early today. The preliminary 1st quarter Gross Domestic Product number is expected to increase about 5%. That number is released at 8:30, and at 9:45, the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index is expected to increase slightly from last month to a level of 94.5.

At this point, the futures are slightly positive. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 2, Dow futures are up 27, and the Nasdaq futures are about 6 points above fair value.

April 25, 2002

We've had a recurring pattern lately in the stock market. We start the day off with a bounce and then watch economic worries, or oil supply worries or earnings worries drag stocks down the rest of the day. Well today looks to start a little differently.

It looks like the Dow will dip below 10,000 once again at the open. Big conglomerate Tyco is taking a big write-off, warning that it won't hit future earnings estimates, is cutting 7,100 jobs and closing 24 facilities. On top of that, AOL Time Warner officially took the big charge everyone expected last night - 54 billion dollars - and while they reported earnings that were higher than lowered estimates, they scaled back their future outlook.

Dow Chemical missed their estimated earnings by 2 cents. Although DaimlerChrysler reported better than expected sales and earnings overnight, the tide of news is decidedly negative this morning and the futures reflect that.

Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about 8 points, Dow futures are down 63 but the Nasdaq futures are only 7 points below fair value.

April 24, 2002

AT&T made 6 cents per share for the quarter on a pro-forma basis. Analysts expected a four-cent profit. That's the good news. The bad news is that on a non-pro-forma basis, they lost 28 cents per share - that's almost a billion bucks, revenue from consumer long distance was down over 8% and is expected to continue to decline.

DTE Energy also reporting this morning. A profit of a $1.24 per share, that compares with an operating profit of 98 cents last year. Analysts were expecting $1.13. So that's a pretty sizable number for Detroit Edison's parent, beating estimates by 11 cents per share. DTE is also reaffirming its estimate of $3.70 to $4.00 for the entire year.

Later today, lots more earnings numbers coming, as well as New Home Sales numbers, the Fed's Beige Book, and in 5 minutes - the March Durable Goods number. It's going to be a busy day.

In front of those numbers, the futures are looking toward a strong market at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 5 ½ , Dow futures are up 45 and the Nasdaq futures are 19 points above fair value.

April 23, 2002

A little ray of hope for computer chip makers this morning. In Europe, ST Micro and Infineon, the two biggest chipmakers in Europe, say that the worst is over. They're seeing an uptick in orders. Separately the March book-to-bill ratio for chip equipment makers came in at 1.04. That means 104 orders coming in for every 100 shipments going out. It's been about a year and a half since we've seen growth in that sector.

The earnings continue to roll in. Seven Eleven, AT&T Wireless and Radio Shack each beat estimates by a couple cents. Pepsi reported in a penny above expectations. Verizon met estimates, but is warning that revenue for the year may be up only 1% or less. Later today, ExxonMobil, Amazon and Pulte Homes all report.

Europe is down slightly, but there's not a lot of direction from overseas markets this morning. Our futures have been slumping during the past half hour. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about a point, Dow futures are up 23 and the Nasdaq futures are 4 points above fair value.

April 22, 2002

We got through last week without a lot of major corporate earnings bombshells. But after the market closed on Friday, WorldCom warned that they won't make their estimated number for the quarter. WorldCom is on a one-third off sale in the pre-market. This morning, Swedish mobile phone maker Ericsson announced that their losses will be larger than expected, they're shedding another 20,000 jobs and there's no reason to believe that profits will return this year. That's not exactly the kind of news you're hoping for at the start of a new week. It's going to be a tough day for anything related to telecommunications.

Lucent reported in this morning, they are cutting another 6,000 jobs. The good stories of the morning come from Lear Corporation and 3M. Lear made 70 cents per share last quarter. Analysts expected 60 cents. 3M came in 4 cents per share better than expected.

Overnight, Japan was up a couple hundred points, but most European markets are hurting at this hour after the Ericsson warning. We're looking toward a weaker market at 9:30 this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 4, Dow futures are down 38 and the Nasdaq futures are 19 points below fair value.

April 19, 2002

We had quite a scare with news of that plane crash in Italy yesterday. But stocks recovered quickly when any terrorist connection was discounted.

Microsoft had a little crash of its own last night. They missed revenue and earnings estimates for the quarter, and lowered estimates for the rest of the year. Microsoft dropped about 3 bucks in after-hours trading last night, but is bouncing back this morning. Although X-Box sales are weaker than Microsoft hoped, it looks like demand for PC's is picking up. That of course is Microsoft's bread and butter. And, of course, some people just like the idea of buying shares of a predatory monopolist at a discount.

Earnings reports are expected today from BellSouth and International Paper.

Overnight, Japan was down just a touch. European markets are flat at this hour. Our futures are in much better shape than they were a couple hours ago, and at this point it looks like a mixed opening at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are flat, Dow futures are down 23 but the Nasdaq futures are actually 3 points above fair value.

April 18, 2002

The earnings reports continue to roll in. Another 300 or so today, including another 5 Dow components. And the pattern is becoming obvious. We've had some minor misses, but in general earnings for the quarter gone by were good. Almost 60% of companies have reported better than expected earnings.

But the market's job is focusing on the future, instead of the past. There's no question that business in many industries is picking up. Many more say that business will turn up in the second half of the year, but the biggest threat to those predictions is the threat of an oil embargo. That makes news out of the Middle East the big market mover this week.

IBM met lowered expectations last night. This morning, Nokia beat estimates by 2 cents, but cut their estimate for cell phone sales growth for the rest of the year. Microsoft reports in after the close of trading today.

The futures were looking good until that Nokia warning this morning. At this hour were looking for a mixed market at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up a half point, Dow futures are up 8 but the Nasdaq futures are about 4 points below fair value.

April 17, 2002

Over 200 companies will report earnings today, including five more Dow components. In general, the reports have been very good. The big fear going into this earnings season was that companies would get so conservative in their accounting, in the wake of Enron, that this quarter's profits would suffer. Well, profits are coming out in line, or slightly better than expected. So, either companies were being conservative all along - or they have successfully resisted the temptation to come clean at this point.

Ford Motor says they lost 6 cents per share last quarter. While that's not good, it's a lot better than the 15 cents analysts had expected. Intel is up over 13% in the past 24 hours. They met estimates last night and forecast better sales by year end. Other companies meeting or beating estimates this morning: Dana, United Technologies, Delphi, General Dynamics, Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan Chase, Kraft, Motorola, Office Depot and Pfizer, although Pfizer warned about the rest of the year.

The futures closed just about even with the cash market last night. So, the futures you see are the futures you get this morning, and so far, they're good. S&P futures are up 3 ½ , Dow futures are up 28 and the Nasdaq futures are up 14 points.

April 16, 2002

Stocks had another tough day yesterday, but volume was light. If fact, it was the slowest trading day of the year for the Nasdaq. Until there's some assurance that the Middle East situation isn't going to escalate, buyers are sitting on their cash. While they're sitting there, they're watching some pretty good earnings reports roll in. General Motors made $1.39 for the quarter, estimates were at $1.14.

Two other big sparks this morning come from Dutch electronic company Phillips and from Texas Instruments. Both companies beat earnings estimates for the quarter and say that the worst is likely over in their business. Bank One and Comerica both beat estimates by a penny.

We actually get earnings reports from 5 of the 30 Dow components today. In addition to GM and Coca-Cola, which beat estimates by 2 cents, Intel, Johnson & Johnson and Caterpillar report- it's a big earnings day, and on top of all that, the Consumer Price Index rolls out in 15 minutes.

Our futures are unusually strong this morning. But, of course the CPI number at 8:30 could push us around somewhat. At this point, adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are up 9, Dow futures are up 56 points, and the Nasdaq futures are 19 points above fair value.

April 15, 2002

I guess you could say that the last Happy Patriot's Day we had was Super Bowl Sunday, but here we are again. Happy Patriot's Day, which until this year, didn't mean much outside of New England. Of course this year, taxpayers in Michigan, Rhode Island and part of New York get an extra day to file their federal tax returns. State income tax returns are due today.

This will be a week packed with news. The Consumer Price Index comes out tomorrow, Greenspan speaks later in the week, and bunches of big companies report earnings. It's started already.

This morning, Bank of America made 4 cents per share more than expected, as did Pepsi Bottling. Eaton beat by 9 cents and guided future estimates higher. Fannie Mae beat estimates by a penny, but one big miss of the morning - Citigroup missed estimated earnings by four cents per share.

Japan was up 1 ½ percent overnight, European markets are up about a half percent. That Citigroup number knocked the futures off a decent rally this morning, but they've pretty much recovered over the past hour. Adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are up 3, Dow futures are up 20 points, and the Nasdaq futures are 6 points above fair value.

April 12, 2002

One of the many ironies in the stock market concerns timely disclosure of information. The SEC polices a rule called Regulation FD. They require publicly traded companies to make fair disclosure to the general public of material information. Unfortunately, there's no such rule governing the government.

Yesterday the market took a 2 percent hit, a great deal of which involved word of an SEC investigation of an IBM accounting matter. Unfortunately, in this post-Enron environment, any word of an accounting impropriety sends investors running for the exits. Now it took them all day, but after the market closed yesterday, the SEC said it was a limited investigation, it ended over a month ago, and no corrective action need be taken. Look for the market - and IBM to bounce back today, after yesterday's pounding.

The Producer Price Index comes out at 8:30. A seven tenths of a percent increase is expected overall, but the core rate is expected to rise only one tenth of a percent.

Adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are up 6, Dow futures are up 51, and the Nasdaq futures are 12 points above fair value.

April 11, 2002

A lot of retailers are announcing their March sales this morning. Costco announced sales increase of 12% over last March. Counting only same store sales, the number was up 7%. Excluding Paul W. Smith purchases, they barely sold anything, but that's an unofficial number. On the whole, it was a good quarter for Costco, and other discount retailers in general. Walmart same store sales were up 9 ½ percent.

The big earnings report of the today should break sometime in the next 40 minutes as General Electric reports their first quarter earnings. The expected number is 35 cents per share, up from 30 cents in last year's first quarter.

Last night, Yahoo met estimates on a pro-forma basis, making 2 cents per share. This morning, Accenture beat estimates slightly, again - that's on a pro-forma basis, which is the accountant's way of saying, "just ignore those big write-offs we don't want to talk about."

Absent any big surprise from GE, it looks like a lower market at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are down about 2, Dow futures are down 28 points and the Nasdaq futures are 7 points below fair value.

April 10, 2002

Stock futures have been on the march this morning. And we could use a good march, especially the Nasdaq, which has been waltzing lower for a couple weeks now.

There's a bit of relief out there, although we got another earnings warning last night from Nortel Networks. The relief is that earnings warning season officially ends in 72 hours. And while we've had some companies confess that things aren't yet wonderful, the warnings have been fewer and farther between than a quarter ago OR a year ago. Next week actual earnings really start to roll. Thinking is that we may be in for some pleasant surprises.

SunTrust Banks and EW Scripps both beat expectations this morning. Ruby Tuesday reports later on, but there's really not a lot on the agenda today as far as earnings or economic reports are concerned.

Nevertheless, it looks like we'll be up at the open this morning. Japan was up overnight and Europe's doing well this morning. Adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are up about 2 ½ , Dow futures are up 28 points and the Nasdaq futures are 11 points above fair value.

April 9, 2002

Yesterday morning, just before the market opened, IBM issued a pretty significant profit warning. That dug the market a big hole at the open, and it took the rest of the day to climb out.

But, climb out the market did, and with the exception of the IBM effect, yesterday turned out to be a pretty decent day.

Later today, earnings reports are scheduled and Genentech and Research in Motion today. That's the company that make those little Blackberry PDAs. Abbott Labs met their 1st quarter estimates, but warned that they'll miss next quarter by a couple cents per share. McDonald's has boosted their outlook for the next year. They are now expecting double-digit sales growth.

No big economic reports are due until Friday.

Japan was down about two percent last night, but Europe is generally positive this morning. Our futures are pointing to a pretty solid market at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are up almost 5, Dow futures are up 34 points and the Nasdaq futures are almost 11 points above fair value.

April 8, 2002

The big news of the morning is of course, the Iraqi's decision to stop shipping oil for a month. Stock futures, which had been pretty close to fair value all morning, turned south on the news, and the price of oil spiked up.

Iraq supplies only about 4% or so of the world oil supply. So the real question is whether or not other OPEC members will join in an embargo. If they don't, and Kuwait has already said that they won't, that Iraqi shortfall should be easily replaced by other producers.

Second quarter earnings start to roll out later this week. Earnings warning announcement were fewer and farther between than a year ago. That has a lot of market watchers are optimistic about what the actual numbers are. br>
Japan was up slightly overnight, European markets turned down along with our futures after the Iraqi oil announcement around 6:30 this morning. Adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are down 5 ½ , Dow futures are down almost 57 points and the Nasdaq futures are 10 points below fair value.

April 5, 2002

A little good news this morning. The old Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company which will henceforth officially be known as 3M, announced that their quarter is looking better than expected. 3M is a component of the Dow Jones Industrials. In fact, it's the highest priced component of that price-weighted index. So expect the Dow Jones Industrials to get a little pop from that news this morning.

The big economic news of the day breaks in about ten minutes with he release of the Jobs data and the March Unemployment Rate. It's expected that the Unemployment Rate edged up just a bit last month to 5.6%.

Oil prices are fairly stable this morning, but are still pretty high based on fears about war in the Mid East. Brent futures are hovering just shy of 27 bucks a barrel.

Japan was down overnight, European markets are mixed. Adjusted for fair value, the S&P, Dow and Nasdaq futures are all modestly above fair value, so absent a big surprise in the jobs data, we should get off to a good start at 9:30.

April 4, 2002

The earnings warnings we're been fearing haven't been as numerous as last year, but they're still packing a wallop. Software stocks of all stripes have been pounded all week. And now, locally the word is that Compuware will miss its revenue targets, and will only earn half as much this quarter as analysts expected. The stock is getting pounded in premarket trading, this morning Compuware stock is on a one-third off sale, trading at $7.40.

Bristol Myers was the other big warning yesterday. They expect to make about a quarter a share. Expected profit was 56 cents. Slower sales of some key drugs get the blame there. Bristol Myers stock is now under 32 bucks a share. It was over 50 a couple weeks ago.

The European Central Bank and the Bank of England left interest rates unchanged this morning.

European markets down a good bit this morning. At first glance, the futures look pretty ugly this morning. But adjusted for fair value, things aren't so bad, at least not at this hour. Adjusted S&P futures are up a point, Dow futures are up 12 and the Nasdaq futures are 6 points above fair value.

April 2 & 3, 2002

No, it's not pneumonia. But it is accute bronchitis. Ron will be back on the air when his voice returns!


April 1, 2002


Well, we made it through last week without a lot of big companies warning about their quarterly earnings. That's the good news. The bad news is that warnings season really doesn't end for a couple more weeks.

Today is the first trading day of the second quarter. If you look at the big indexes, the Nasdaq Composite was down about 5% last quarter, the Nasdaq 100 was off about 9%. The S&P 500 was down too. But judging the market by looking at indexes can be misleading. The overall market was really in much better shape, with about three of every four New York Stock Exchange traded stocks moving higher.

A lot of oversea markets are closed for Easter Monday. At 10 o'clock this morning, we get the ISM index - that's the old National Association of Purchasing Managers Index. A reading between 54.3 and 54.8 is expected. Anything a lot higher than that should send stocks up.

But it looks like we're in for a rough start at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, the Dow futures are up 24, but the more reliable S&P and Nasdaq futures are 7 and 18 points below fair value, respectively.

March 29, 2002

The stock market is closed today. We're taking the day off!


March 28, 2001


It's a short day for the bond market, although stocks will trade all day. We'll have a lot of information to chew on, the only question is how many chewers will still be around much after lunch.

In fifteen minutes the final number on 4th quarter Gross Domestic Product is expected to come in at 1.4%. At 9:45 the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index comes out. The consensus estimate going into this week was that the Index would be flat with the last report at 95. But after a strong number from the Conference Board's Index on Tuesday, a flat number will be a bit of a dissapointment.

Only one significant warning yesterday. That one from Juniper Networks. They'll miss their first quarter revenue estimate by about 20%. Japan was flat overnight, but European markets are up on the order of one percent. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 2, Dow futures are up 24 and the Nasdaq futures are 6 points above fair value.

March 27, 2002

If you're feeling a little depressed --- need a little pick-me-up --- go out today and talk to a consumer. If the Conference Board's Survey is to be believed, consumers are about as optimistic as can be about the future. The Index, was at a level of about 95, and was expected to go to 98. It came in yesterday at 110. So, we may not know when interest rates will move, and we might not know when corporate profits will turn, but it seems pretty clear that consumers will continue to consume at a pretty good clip for the foreseeable future.

Not a lot of announcements on the calendar today. At 10 o'clock, the February new home sales number will be out. It's the UNscheduled announcements that could be interesting. If companies are going to give earnings warnings for the quarter, today and tomorrow would seem to be pretty logical days for that, as trading winds down going into the Holiday weekend.

Japan was up overnight, but European markets have turned lower. Adjusted for fair value, futures on all major indexes are virtually flat.

March 26, 2002

More consolidation in the oil industry this morning. Shell will be buying Pennzoil/Quaker State, for about 3 billion dollars in cash and debt. The price boils down to 22 bucks a share. It you bought some Pennzoil lately, you made a slick deal. Pennzoil closed yesterday at 15 dollars and 49 cents.

Two important economic numbers come out this morning. First up is the February Durable Goods number. Estimates for this number are all over the place, so even a number that surprises some analysts may not surprise others. Perhaps more importantly, the latest Consumer Confidence number will be released at 10 o'clock. That number is expected to rise from 94.1 all the way to 98 - possibly even 100.

After a positive start the rest of yesterday was a pretty ugly story, but it looks like we'll get some back at the open this morning.

Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 4, Dow futures are up 33 and the Nasdaq futures are about 5 points above fair value.

March 25, 2002

It's a short week for the stock and bond markets, but it has the potential to be a real turning point. The market rattled in fear of the Fed last week, as we had the first decline in values after a pretty good six week run. With that fear of a rise in interest rates priced in to stocks, attention should turn to earnings this week.

This week, it's earnings warnings we'll be watching. It's the last week of the quarter. So, any companies that know that they won't hit their numbers may leak the word this week. Short weeks are good for that kind of announcement, as trading volume usually starts to thin about mid-week, If you want to avoid getting sent to the penalty box for slashing estimates, it's good to have as few referees watching as possible.

February existing home sales are expected to slow from the torrid pace of January. That number comes at 10 o'clock.

Japan was down overnight, but European markets are up. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about a point, Dow futures are up 14 and the Nasdaq futures are about 6 points above fair value.

March 22, 2002

The stock market was a lot like the Indiana basketball team yesterday. It was a lot better in the second half. A big rise in technology stocks yesterday afternoon helped to offset a big decline in capital goods yesterday morning. There may not be much follow through on the rally in the early going today.

We haven't seen many IPOs or many stock splits lately, but after a big IPO yesterday as Nestle spun off Alcon, we get another one today when 21% of Travelers breaks away from Citigroup. Citigroup bought Travelers in 1993. Applied Materials announced that they will split their stock 2 for 1. They say that a recovery in the semiconductor industry is underway.

Palm is up 15% in the pre-market after a good earnings report last night.

The Japanese market was down about a percent and a half overnight. European markets are doing well, but so far, no strong indication for stocks over here. For the second morning in a row, the futures on all major indexes are trading just about even with fair value.

March 21, 2002

Stocks took a significant step backward yesterday. Big market days are usually driven by our old friends, greed or fear. Yesterday it was fear that the Federal Reserve will start hiking rates sooner than later because of economic recovery and fear of inflation. In case you don't remember, it was Federal Reserve rate increases a few years ago that broke the back of a pretty strong economy. Those rate hikes were put in place after only a "hint" that inflation was increasing. Of course, as we know now, inflation ultimately was a no-show.

At 8:30 this morning, we'll find out about the February inflation numbers with the release of the Consumer Price Index. That number, and the February Leading Economic indicators at 10 o'clock should provide the backdrop for what happens today.

The Japanese market was closed overnight. European markets started in the red, but have pretty much recovered that ground at this hour. Our furtueres have been sliding for the past half hour in front of that CPI number at 8:30. Adjusted for fair value futures on all major indexes are just about flat.

March 20, 2002

No report today Ron is "under the weather".


March 19, 2002


It's the beginning of the earnings-warning season, but this morning we have a company guiding analyst estimates HIGHER for the quarter. Accenture is the firm which was formerly the consulting arm of Arthur Andersen, although I don't think that you'll find that mentioned in their latest marketing materials. They're saying that they'll make 2 cents more per share than everybody thought.

Last night General Motors again said that they're not kidding - they're going to make a dollar twenty this quarter and three fifty for the year. The consensus estimate is still at about a dollar and six cents for the quarter.

Alan Greenspan and his Merry Crew announce their plans for interest rates at 2:15 this afternoon. Odds favor no rate increase, but a return to a neutral stance about future rate changes. Oil is up again this morning, the near-term futures now over 25 bucks per barrel.

Overseas markets had a good overnight session, and it looks like a good start is on the way in the U.S. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures up 4, Dow futures are up 38, and the Nasdaq futures are about 7 points above fair value.

March 18, 2002

Some weeks are just more interesting than others. This is likely to be one of those MORE interesting weeks. First of all, the strange mating ritual of Hewlett-Packard and Compaq will either reach the altar or divorce court this week. If you hold shares of Hewlett or Compaq, your mail carrier has been working overtime the past month delivering a dozen or so proxy solicitations. Hewlett shareholders will vote green or vote white tomorrow. Compaq shares will be voted Wednesday. But it will likely be at least a few weeks until we really find out who won.

The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee gets together for another lively chat tomorrow. No increase in interest rates coming, but most likely a formal declaration that the days of rate cuts are over.

Watch one more thing. We are now officially in the last two weeks of the quarter. That means it's officially earnings warnings season. The longer we can go without major companies warning about missing their estimates, the better stock prices will behave.

Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures up 2, Dow futures are up 24, and the Nasdaq futures are about 19 points above fair value.

March 15, 2002

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone! There's no report today -- we're at the party!

March 14, 2002

We've had a steady stream of strong economic data for the last month or so. Until yesterday. That retail sales number released at 8:30 yesterday morning came in at a 3 tenths of a percent increase. The problem is that the market expected 8 tenths of a percent. Stocks sold off early and often in a pretty broad based pullback.

Right now the futures are pointing to a positive opening for stocks, but on it's >
A report on January Business Inventories will be released in ten minutes or so, weekly jobless claims at 8:30 as well, and earnings from Oracle after the close of the market.

Japan was up over 150 points overnight. The London market is down, but the rest of Europe is doing well. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 3, Dow futures are up 28, and the Nasdaq futures are about 9 points above fair value.

March 13, 2002

Telecom stocks took a beating yesterday on those warnings from Nokia and Lucent, but the overall market came storming back in the afternoon, with the Dow Jones actually closing up on the day.

TRW this morning rejected Northrop Grumman's takeover bid of $47 per share, which is no big surprise, in that TRW currently trades for about 50 bucks. The Government has reported signaled other big defense contractors not to get involved in the bidding. The Government doesn't want any one company getting too powerful in the defense business. Later today, we'll get a report on retail sales and yet another speech from Alan Greenspan.

Sports Authority and Albertson's both beat estimates this morning. Crude oil is up again, now approaching 25 dollars per barrel. It wasn't long ago that oil was in the high teens.

The futures were weak until about 6:30 this morning, and took a wicked U-turn at that point. At this point we're looking good. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 3, the Dow futures are up 31 and the Nasdaq futures are about even with fair value.

March 12, 2002

The big economic numbers for the week come out on Friday. Today should be pretty quiet by comparison. There are no big economic reports due, and only a handful of earnings reports on the way.

It you're running out of exciting reading, just can't find another great novel - well you're in luck. If last night's releases from IBM and Cisco Systems are any indication, future corporate reports will be a lot longer than in the past. In response to concerns about full disclosure, it looks like companies with significant off balance sheet activity and insider transactions will be coming clean in future publications. Look for a lot more information, and a lot less need for No-Doze coming soon to an annual report near you.

Two Federal Reserve Governors are out on the rubber chicken circuit today. However, no matter what they say, new lowered guidance from Lucent and Nokia this morning is going to send us lower at the open.

Japan, which has been on a tear lately lost about 2.5% overnight. European markets are lower, generally about 1%. Our futures have slipped steadily ever since the close last night and are pointing to a significantly lower open at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 9, the Dow futures are down 71, and the Nasdaq futures are about 28 points below fair value. So

March 11, 2002

Watch the prices of oil stocks today. Crude oil prices are on the rise this morning on the word that Iraq will not allow weapons inspections. Low gasoline prices have certainly helped the U.S. consumer in the past six months. That may, temporarily at least, be coming to an end.

Last week was a good week for stocks in general, and a great week for the Nasdaq in particular. The Nasdaq Composite was up 7%. At this point, measured from the market bottom, which of course occurred in the wake of the terrorist attacks six months ago, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 28%, the S&P 500 is up 21% and the Nasdaq is up 36%. Just another lesson, as if we need another one, of the importance of sticking to a long-term investment plan and not changing your plan because of greed or fear.

Overseas markets are mixed. Asia was up overnight, Europe is lower this morning. Adjusted for fair value, which isn't much of an adjustment this morning, S&P futures are down 2 ½, the Dow futures are down 8 ½, and the Nasdaq futures are about 12 points below fair value.

March 8, 2002

Good news and bad news from Intel last night. In a conference call after the close of trading yesterday, Intel did not lower their earnings estimate, but they did say that there is no sign that business is picking up in the computer chip business, in spite of what Alan Greenspan says.

What Mr. Greenspan did say to the Senate Banking Committee yesterday, is that the recession is over, and happy days are right around the corner. That's great news, but with all due respect to Mr. Greenspan, it would be nice to hear business owners, rather than economists, saying that things are getting a whole lot better.

Things are not better this morning for shares of Biogen. That stock is off about 14% on word that a Swiss competitor Serono will begin selling their anti-MS drug Rebif here in the U.S. Biogen's Avonex drug has had a lock on that market.

In just a few minutes, the February unemployment rate and nonfarm payroll numbers will be out. An unemployment rate of 5.8% is expected.

At this point a rise in stocks is expected at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 5, the Dow futures are up 39, and the Nasdaq futures are about 6 points above fair value.

March 7, 2002

More good economic news yesterday, and stocks responded. The Fed's Beige Book survey concluded that the economy has bottomed, and a somewhat tepid recovery has begun.

National Steel may participate in that recovery, but they'll be doing it under the protection of Chapter 11. National became the 32nd domestic steel producer to file for protection during the past four years.

At 8:30 this morning we'll find out how productive we were in the fourth quarter of last year and get a report on new Jobless Claims. And Alan Greenspan will once again testify before Congress today. We'll see if he repeats his testimony of a few days ago, or if we'll get something new.

General Motors with something new. GM picked up their third brokerage house upgrade of the week this morning. JC Penney reporting same store sales up 12.5% in February.

Overseas, Tokyo stocks were up 2 ½ percent overnight. Europe is off to a good start. We're looking for a reasonably good start at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures up 3, the Dow futures are up 19, and the Nasdaq futures are about 7 points above fair value.

March 6, 2002

We had a rally going yesterday on a very strong number from the ISM Services Index. But along came some earnings jitters and the news that the government was slapping tariffs on imported steel. If there's one thing that can really give the market the willies, it's the threat of a pending trade war. The European Union this morning is predictably making lots of noise in protesting the new tariffs.

All and all, though, it was only the big blue chips that took the beating. The Nasdaq rose for the third day in a row. But there might be a little role reversal today. Word overnight that Amazon's CFO is leaving and that business in the data storage business is weak is going to pressure the Nasdaq this morning.

The big report of the day comes mid-afternoon when the Federal Reserve releases its Beige Book. That's another survey of sentiment about future business conditions. Some strong optimism in that report could give us a late day boost.

European markets are flat, and at this point, it looks like we'll be off to a mixed start at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are flat, the Dow futures are up 8, but the Nasdaq futures are about 10 points below fair value.

March 5, 2002

We've had a great two-day run in stocks. Of course the big question remains, is this another headfake, or the start of something big?

The Dow Jones Industrial Index closed up more than 2 ½ percent yesterday, after closing up more than 2% last Friday. According to Birinyi Associates, that's the 16th time since World War Two that the Dow has closed up more than two percent two days in a row. If you look at the past 15 times, on average, three months later that Index was up about 5%, and six months later, the average gain has been almost 14%.

It was the ISM Manufacturing Index that really sparked the market on Friday. Today we get the ISM Services Index. Any reading above 50 is a sign of expansion. A reading of 51 is expected. Last Friday, we expected a 51 on the Manufacturing Index, and it came in at 54. That Services Index will be out at 10 o'clock.

Owe could get some profit taking at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about 3, the Dow futures are down 34, and the Nasdaq futures are about 3 points above fair value.

March 4, 2002

The ISM Index that measures manufacturing activity came in on Friday with a reading of 54. We were expecting a reading of 51. That indicates that 18-months in a row of contraction in manufacturing is over. That came on top of a lot of other good news last week. Fourth quarter GDP was up 1.4%, durable goods orders were up, personal income and spending both up four tenths of a percent, existing home sales way up at over 6 million, construction spending was up.

Given all that, the stock market partied like it's 1999. And overnight, the rest of the world took notice. Japanese stocks were up almost 6%. European stocks are up 1 to 2% this morning and it looks like we'll get off to a good start at 9:30.

A couple of broker upgrades for General Motors overnight. GM sales were up in February over last year. The Chevrolet division actually sold more vehicles than the Ford division last month, and that hasn't happened in a long, long time.

Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 4 ½ , the Dow futures are up 47, although the Nasdaq futures are only about 8 points above fair value, after a profit warning from Oracle.

March 1, 2002

If you're invested in Nasdaq stocks, and you're really happy that February is over, there's a reason. You've just lived through the second worst February in the Nasdaq's history. But it looks like March may get off to a decent start.

There's a whole lot of economic data on the way this morning. The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index will be out 15 minutes after the market opens. We also get numbers on personal income and consumption in January.

The big number of the day will be the ISM Index. That's a measure of manufacturing activity. Any number above 50 indicates expansion in manufacturing, but we haven't seen that kind of number in 18 months. The January number will be released at 10 o'clock, and it's expected to come in at 51.

Anticipating the good news, the futures are indicating a solid market at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 5, the Dow futures are up 56, and the Nasdaq futures are about 10 points above fair value.

February 28, 2002

And the Grammy for "Best Record of Unintelligible Commentary" goes to Alan Greenspan. In fact, we might as well make that a lifetime achievement award. Yesterday Mr. Fed Head said that the economy is getting better, but never got that bad, and so it won't get a lot better real soon. At least that's what it sounded like he said.

While he was saying it, stocks went way up. After he said it, stocks went way down and by the end of the day, we were pretty much where we started.

Got your taxes done yet? H&R Block beat estimates by a bunch in the fourth quarter, sixteen cents a share versus a nine-cent estimate. Intimate Brands, the Victoria's Secret folks, also beat estimates. Gateway and Shire Pharmaceutical and Tiffany guiding estimates lower this morning.

At 8:30 we'll get the revised fourth quarter Gross Domestic Product number. Expect a 1% increase in GDP. In front of that number it looks like a very slightly positive market at the open. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 1, the Dow futures are up 13, and the Nasdaq futures are about 5 points above fair value.

February 27, 2002

Consumer Confidence took a bigger dip than expected last month, as reported by Conference Board survey yesterday. That confirmed what the University of Michigan survey reported a couple weeks ago. Now, how much of that reflects consumer caution about future spending versus a bad case of Enronitis? Well, later today we'll get a look at what consumers are DOING as opposed to what they are SAYING.

In ten minutes, the January Durable Goods number is expected to dip a bit, and then at 10 o'clock, January New Home Sales will be reported. They are expected to be flat with last month. But if those numbers come in a lot better than expected, the market will probably recover the momentum it lost yesterday.

Mr. Greenspan testifies before the House Financial Services Committee later today. Although the Fed is likely done jiggling interest rates for awhile, a few kind words about the economy there could go a long way.

Japanese stocks were up 3% overnight. Europe is doing well at this hour as well. It looks like we'll get off to a pretty good start this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up a point, the Dow futures are up 20, and the Nasdaq futures are about 10 points above fair value.

February 26, 2002

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is back in positive territory for 2002. That's the first time since early January. The General Motors guidance we talked about yesterday, positive guidance from Qualcomm, and a much stronger than expected report on existing home sales propelled us nicely higher.

Of course, now that we've got a two-day winning steak going, Congress has scheduled another Enron hearing. We'll see whether investors get spooked again, or if the national attention span is starting to run out on the Enron inquisition.

Starbucks saying this morning that they will grow revenues 20% this year. They will open 1,200 new stores. So if there isn't a Starbucks in your subdivision yet, let alone your basement, there may be one there soon.

The big number of the day comes out at 10 o'clock this morning. The Consumer Confidence Index is expected to be down slightly to 97, from 97.3 last month. Waste Management beat earnings estimates by 6 cents this morning. Home Depot beat estimates by two cents.

Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are pretty much flat, the Dow futures are up 15, and the Nasdaq futures are about 5 points above fair value.

February 25, 2002

Last week was a good week to watch the stock market from afar. Big swings every day, and no consistency at all from day to day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average moved more than 100 points up OR down, every single trading day last week. We'll see if we can get any follow through this morning from what was a pretty good rally Friday afternoon.

A survey released this morning by Manpower may give some hope for job seekers. In the survey of 16,000 companies, 21% said that they plan to add employees this spring. That's up from 16% last quarter. Only 10% of companies plan to cut more jobs.

General Motors with some bullish words this morning. GM is boosting 1st quarter production by 10% over last year and says that its 1st quarter operating earnings may come in 20% better than expected. Not only that, GM's CFO says that it's reasonable to expect GM to earn 10 bucks a share by the middle of the decade. GM is up about 50 cents in premarket trading.

Our futures have been improving for the past hour and took a nice jump on the General Motors announcement. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up almost 2, the Dow futures are up 12, and the Nasdaq futures are about 7 points above fair value.

February 15, 2002

We hung around that 10,000 level on the Dow yesterday. A little above, a little below, the Dow closed at 10,002. But today, as they say, is another story.

More accounting worries this morning. The Nasdaq's best performing stock of last year is down 8 per cent in pre-market trading this morning. Nvidia came out with great earnings yesterday, but also announced an internal review of their accounting practices. It may be no big deal, but in this Enron-inspired environment it's ready-fire-aim for investors....they're going to sell first and investigate later when accounting issues are raised. Some accounting issues also be raised about IBM this morning.

In ten minutes, we'll get the January Producer price index, and later this morning, Industrial production numbers and the U of M Consumer Sentiment Index will roll out.

No clear direction for the markets this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about a point, the Dow futures are down 18, and the Nasdaq futures are about 2 points below fair value.

February 14, 2002

Remember all the speculation back in the mid 1990's about whether the Dow Jones Industrial Average would hit 10,000 by the year 2000? Well, it got there well in advance of the millennium, but has spent the last three years trying to make that level stick. Well, it's déjà vu all over again this morning, as we'll probably punch through the 10,000 level again.

Another nice rally yesterday. That's the third time in four days. And last night, Hewlett-Packard beat estimates by 4 cents per share, as did software maker Intuit, as did oil services company Baker Hughes.

But all is not rosy. We'll have more Congressional hearings to survive today. There will be another Enron hearing, and speaking of funny accounting and disappearing retirement funds, the House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing on the Social Security system.

St. Valentine's going to get a big kiss from the market at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up more than 5, the Dow futures are up 23, and the Nasdaq futures are about 10 points above fair value.

February 13, 2002

We'll get our first economic data of the week in about 8 minutes. The January retail sales report is expected to decline about 2 tenths of a percent, due to a big drop in auto sales. Sales outside of autos are expected to rise about two tenths of a percent. Everybody expects weakness in the car sales number due to the end of a lot of the zero percent financing deals. But the non-auto number could give the market a boost if it comes in stronger than expected.

Ford is trading higher in the pre-market this morning on word that the Government won't be launching an investigation into the safety of the Explorer. After the market closes today, we'll get earnings from Hewlett-Packard. As a component of the Dow Jones Industrials, that report may have a big impact on tomorrow's open.

Japan was up 1 percent overnight. Europe just slightly lower this morning.

The futures are pointing to a slightly higher open today, but that retail sales number at 8:30 could have an impact. So far, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about a point, the Dow futures are up 16, and the Nasdaq futures are about 6 points above fair value.

February 12, 2002

The good news is that yesterday was the third best day of the year for stock prices. The bad news is that it was also the third lightest day in terms of shares traded. While it would be nice to think that two good days in a row are a positive sign, it really doesn't mean much on such thin volume.

Shares of Canadian telecom equipment company Nortel Nelworks were halted in after-hours trading last night. Nortel's CFO has resigned after reportedly violating company rules regarding insider trading. Nortel has also confirmed that sales are slower than expected this quarter, although they still say they'll break even by the fourth quarter. In Europe this morning, where the stock is not halted, Nortel is trading down about 8 percent.

No big economic reports due today. So we'll need some help from earnings reports, because we're going to get off to an ugly start. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 6, the Dow futures are down 55, but the Nasdaq futures are 21 points below fair value.

February 11, 2002

The Nasdaq was having its worst week since just after September 11th last week, so we needed a rally on Friday, and we got a pretty good one. Of course, we had no televised Congressional hearings regarding Enron. Connection? You bet. As bad as the Enron story is, Enron is past tense. What corporations and their consultants are doing now - and what Congress decides to do in the future - that's giving the market the heebie-jeebies.

Not that anybody's paying attention, but the economic data from last week was pretty good. Factory orders were up, nonfarm productivity was up, unemployment claims were down. So, the economy may be turning a corner.

Ford Motor shares may be under some pressure this morning after a negative article in Barron's this weekend regarding Ford Motor Credit.

The rest of the world seems pretty inspired by Friday's rally. Japan was up about one percent. European markets are generally up anywhere from one-half to 1 ½ percent. But our futures are not particularly pretty this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 3, but the Dow futures are down about 30, but the Nasdaq futures are about 7 points below fair value.

February 8, 2002

The stock market continued suffering from the Enron flu yesterday. That's the fifth day in a row. But if you believe yesterday's testimony from former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling, it answers an important question for all of us. How do you make millions and millions as a CEO of a major corporation? Evidently, you know nothing about the structure of the company, you don't ask a lot of questions, and you hire really clever consultants to make sure the earnings keep showing up on the financials. So, it looks like it's a lot easier than we all thought. Oh, let's hope this doesn't take as long as the O.J. Simpson trial.

This morning Cigna beat estimates by 11 cents, excluding special charges. Goodyear came up a penny short of estimates. Tyco shares are looking to rise for the third day in a row, after some crushing declines earlier in the month. Tyco up almost a dollar in the pre-market.

The Japanese market is up for the second day in a row. European markets are flat, waiting for us to get our act together. And we may just do that at the start of trading. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 2, but the Dow futures are up about 22, but the Nasdaq futures are 12 points above fair value.

February 7, 2002

The Cisco Systems earnings were finally made official after the market closed yesterday. The earnings, as expected, were good. They nearly doubled estimated earnings of 5 cents per share. The problem is, the outlook does not look great. In the conference call last night, Cisco said revenue growth next quarter would be zero to low single digits, and they wouldn't even guess what the rest of the year will bring. And while that may be an honest analysis, it's not exactly what the market wants to hear. Cisco stock is took a 7% hit after hours last night, although it's recovered somewhat in the pre-market trading today.

Worldcom missed their estimated earnings this morning by a penny and guided analysts lower for the rest of the year. Hasbro beat estimates by a nickel. Visteon cutting another 1,600 jobs.

No big economic reports today. At 3 o'clock we'll get a report on the December level of Consumer Credit.

The future took a little spike up about 5 minutes ago. Adjusted for fair value S&P futures up 1 ½ , Dow futures are up about 17, but the Nasdaq futures are 2 points below fair value.

February 6, 2002

I think what we have to do is eliminate the use of "double A's."

Think about it, in September, the market fell apart because we were afraid of Afgans on Airplanes. Especially on American Airlines. Then later, we went down more because of Anonymous Anthrax. Now, the market's a mess because of Auditors and Accountants --- from where? Arthur Anderson. Are you catchin' my drift here?

The accounting jitters continued yesterday. The value of conglomerate Tyco continued to spiral downward, even as a number of stock analysts supported the company and continued to point out that Tyco's story is very different from the hocus pocus that went on at Enron.

AT&T announcing a new long distance calling plan this morning - unlimited long distance to any other AT&T customer for a flat $19.95 a month. That could change pricing in the long distance business big time-yet again.

Stock futures, which looked a little scary two hours ago, have improved a lot in the last half hour. That's because news has leaked out that Cisco Systems inadvertently leaked earnings information to a bunch of employees last night. That news won't be officially released until tonight, but evidently the news is good. At this point, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 1, Dow futures are down 9, but the Nasdaq futures are 11 points above fair value.

February 5, 2002

As more information comes to light about the big mess known as Enron, the more the market is on the lookout for other examples of corporate misbehavior. That's what rocked stocks yesterday that took all the major indexes down between 2 to 3 percent.

Colgate Palmolive met estimates this morning. Sprint came in roughly in line with estimates, but the near term outlook for demand and pricing in the phone business is still weak, at best.

At 10 o'clock this morning, we'll get the report on December factory orders. An increase of 1 percent is expected. Factory orders were down over 3% last month. And later today, Alan Greenspan, Paul O'Neill, Harvey Pitt, Arthur Andersen's CEO ..... just about everybody except Ken Lay will be testifying before Congress.

The Japanese Nikkei index is now at its lowest point in 18 years. European markets are down 1 percent or less this morning. Our futures have been sliding again this morning. Right now we're close to even with fair value on all the major indexes.

February 4, 2002

Well, they say as January goes, so goes the year in stocks. In case you hadn't noticed, stocks declined in January. The AFC won the Super Bowl, according to the Super Bowl indicator, that's not good news for the market.

With former Enron's Chairman refusing to talk to Congress, a potential run on the banks in Argentina tomorrow, it's hard to gin up a positive attitude this morning, but we're gonna try.

The ISM Index released Friday was a good one, manufacturing activity is just barely below a level that would indicate expansion. We'll get earnings reports later today from Sprint, Sprint PCS and Borg Warner.

Japan was down overnight, the Nikkei index is now lower than the Dow Jones Industrial average. European markets are down around 1 percent this morning. Our futures have been sliding all morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 5, Dow futures are down 34, and the Nasdaq futures are 13 points below fair value.

February 1, 2002

Most of the big-name earnings reports are in the books for the week. Disney surprised last night, earnings 15 cents per share on an operating basis, against an expected ten cents.

There are four big economic reports on the way. The big ones are the unemployment numbers at 8:30 and the ISM Index at 10 o'clock. That ISM number, which is a measure of manufacturing activity, could break 50 for January, which would indicate expansion in manufacturing. It's been a long, long time since we've been there.

Looks like we'll get a proposal from President Bush today to give employees more flexibility in selling company stock in their 401(k) plans. Reportedly it would allow employees to sell any contributed employer stock in their plan that they've held at least three years.

The futures have been slowly rising most of the morning. But that unemployment number at 8:30 could change everything. At this point, futures on all major indexes are slightly positive, but just about even with fair value.

January 31, 2002

It was the most predictable Federal Reserve announcement in recent memory. Yesterday afternoon the Fed kept interest rates steady and said that the economy is getting better. That was all the stock market needed to hear. Especially a stock market that suddenly couldn't tell the difference between audited financials and a Harry Potter novel.

Dow Chemical is the big earnings story, or maybe we should say lack of earnings story this morning. Dow was expected to make a nickel a share. Instead it's a loss of a penny on an operating basis, for last quarter. The loss including special charges was 4 cents per share.

If the shareholders of Hewlett Packard vote to buy Compaq, it'll be okay with the European Union. The EU, which has been most famous in the last year for blocking mergers, sees no problem with the combined Hewlett-Packard Compaq.

Most of Europe is up by 1 to 2 percent this morning, and it looks like we may get off to a decent start at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 2 ½ , Dow futures are up 17, and the Nasdaq futures are 10 points above fair value.

January 30, 2002

You might all it Enron-itis. The stock market caught accounting pneumonia and hidden losses flu yesterday. Concern about accounting practices at conglomerate Tyco sent that stock down 20 per cent. On top of that, the Federal Reserve went on the attack against PNC Bank. The Fed says they've hidden some losses, that they have to restate earnings, and they've referred the matter to the SEC.

In the wake of those stories, it seemed that the only companies that were hurt yesterday were companies that have accountants. The market went down 2 ½ percent, and we're not likely to get a big rebound this morning.

The Fed's Open Market Committee speaks at 2:15 this afternoon. After Mr. Greenspan's testimony last week, it's a pretty sure bet that we'll see no change in interest rates, and we may get no change in the Fed's opinion on future economic risks. However, if they do change back to a neutral opinion, stocks may get a boost.

America Online met estimates this morning. AT&T beat by a penny, but they're giving a pretty downbeat view of the year to come. There's apparently no big "feel good" rally on the way after the State of the Union speech. Futures on all major indexes are within a few points of fair value.

January 29, 2002

AT&T Wireless disappointed in their earnings report this morning, but there were a couple of very good earnings reports overnight. No apparent recession in the housing market. Pulte Homes beat estimates by eleven cents a share, their backlog of new work is up 58%. Online travel company Expedia actually turned a profit last quarter. Eight cents a share on a GAAP basis, 31 cents excluding charges.

Texas Instruments lost less money than analysts expected, but they warned yesterday that things aren't going to get a lot better in the cell phone business any time soon.

Alan Greenspan chairs a two day meeting of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee starting today. They spend the first day just talking about the Super Bowl. In ten minutes the December Durable Goods number will be released and Consumer Confidence numbers will be out at 10 o'clock.

Waiting on the economic numbers, the State of the Union and the Fed, the market may just drift along at the open. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 1, Dow futures are up 7 and the Nasdaq futures are 8 points above fair value.

January 28, 2002

We're past the mid point of the fourth quarter earnings reports now, and it looks like corporate profits are running about 16% below year ago levels. That's the biggest year-over-year decline in a long, long time. This morning, Xerox beat estimates by 16 cents per share, before special charges. But, there's trouble in Toyland. Toys 'R Us is closing 37 Kids 'R US and 27 Toys 'R Us stores and cutting 1900 jobs.

The earnings reports will continue all week, but it's Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting time again. The interesting twist is that whatever the Fed does could be interpreted as good news for stocks. Of course a cut in interest rates is always welcomed news for financial assets. But, based on Mr. Greenspan's testimony last week, it looks as if the Fed may be done cutting rates. Words of confidence from the Fed about prospects for the economy may actually gives us more of a lift at this point than another quarter percent cut in rates.

There's virtually no fair value adjustment this morning, so what you see is what you get, and if things hold, we may get a little rally at 9:30. S&P futures are up 2½, Dow futures are up 30 and the Nasdaq futures are up 13 points.

January 25, 2002

The stock market got a couple shots in the arm yesterday. The initial jobless claims number was lower than expected, so while the unemployment picture isn't pretty, it's not as bad as most thought. Later yesterday morning, Alan Greenspan admitted before Congress that the he was just in an ugly mood went he gave his January 11th speech in San Francisco, that the economy is showing signs recovery, and that he'll start carrying some additional antacid so that he doesn't scare everybody again. Okay, he really didn't say that - but that's what he meant.

Earnings reports are pretty much wrapped up for the week. JDS Uniphase missed their earnings estimate and issued a pretty downbeat forecast last night. Sweden's telecom equipment maker Ericsson also disappointed with their news overnight.

The report on December existing home sales will be out at 10 o'clock.

European markets are down a little bit, and we could see a little profit taking when the market opens. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are almost flat, the Nasdaq and Dow futures are down 5 to 10 points.

January 24, 2002

The earnings reports continue to roll in. The big market driver of the morning is the report from cell phone maker Nokia. They beat estimates by 3 cents overnight, and predicted that sales of cell phones will shoot up late this year. Nokia command 37% of that market, and the stock markets in Europe clearly liked what they heard as the stock shot up about 9%.

But, for every bit of good news, lately it seems that we have an "on-the-other-hand." Well, on the other hand, biotech company Amgen missed their earnings number by a penny last night, although revenues were a little stronger than most expected. The stock was off a bit after hours last night.

Alan Greenspan talks about the state of the economy today before the Senate Budget Committee. The last time Greenspan spoke, about 2 weeks ago, he wasn't exactly a bundle of optimism, and stocks have sold off almost every day since then. With a Fed meeting coming up next week, we'll see if he's changed his tune.

European markets are generally up one percent or more. Absent a big surprise in the jobless claims numbers at 8:30, we should get off to a decent start at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up almost 6, the Nasdaq futures are 18 points above fair value. Look for the Dow to be up around 40 points at the open.

January 23, 2002

Yesterday's early rally faded fast as weakness in technology and a case of the "general jitters" after the Kmart bankruptcy filing pulled the entire market lower. A bankruptcy judge did approve over a billion dollars of the Kmart financing package, so key suppliers and employees will continue to be paid while the company retools its operations.

Lots more earnings news on the calendar for today. So far, Pfizer, the big pharmaceutical maker matched estimates and projected solid growth for the future. Merrill Lynch met estimates. DuPont And ExxonMobil beat estimates. Compuware also beat estimates and guided higher, as did data storage maker Emulex. Compuware was up about 5% in after hours trading.

On the other hand, Motorola last night reported its first annual loss in 71 years. On an operating basis, Motorola lost a penny per share less than expected, and they say that they will turn the corner by the second half of this year. Motorola picked up a couple brokerage house upgrades this morning. It's up about 4% in the pre-market.

The futures are moderately positive this morning, so we should get off to a decent start. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up almost 5, Dow futures are up 34, but the Nasdaq futures are 15 points above fair value.

January 22, 2002

The mystery on Big Beaver Road continues to unfold. No official word yet on whether Kmart will be restructuring itself inside, or outside of bankruptcy court protection. One thing is fairly certain. Something's going to happen soon. Yesterday, Kmart missed a 78 million dollar payment to Fleming, their grocery supplier. Fleming cut off shipments. So we should get some word on Kmart plans before the bananas ripen too terribly much.

There's a frost/freeze advisory in Hell this morning, thanks to Amazon.com. Believe it or not - on a GAAP basis - Amazon.com has made money. Five million dollar profit last quarter, that's a penny a share. The pro-forma profit for the quarter was 16 cents per share better than expected. The big comglomerate Tyco announced this morning that it will split into four separate companies.

This is a critical week for the stock market. The recent slump in prices has pulled the Dow and the S&P back to support levels established in mid-December. Market technicians will tell you that staying above current levels is important.

The futures indicate that we'll start the week at higher levels. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 6, Dow futures are up 67, but the Nasdaq futures are 18 points above fair value.

January 21, 2002

The U.S. stock market is closed for the holiday today, but the rest of the week is going to be busy. About 30% of the S&P 500 will report earnings in the four remaining days of this week. That's about 30% more than the number that reported all of last week.

Looking back at last week's announcements, things could have been a lot worse. Less than 10% of companies reporting did not meet earnings estimates. Unfortunately, some cautious comments from Intel, Microsoft and IBM about the coming quarter put quite a damper on stock prices, not to mention that we can't seem to get through a day without the names Enron or Kmart popping up.

For the year thus far, the Nasdaq is down three tenths of a percent, the S&P 500 is down 1.8% and the Dow Jones Industrials are off about 2 ½ percent.

One speech today, from St. Louis Fed President William Poole. Thursday of this week Alan Greenspan will testify before the House Budget Committee, and of course, the Fed meets next week to decide if eleven cuts is enough, or if they should just round it off to an even dozen.

January 18, 2002

Microsoft and IBM reported in last night. Although they both beat earnings estimates, they both did it more by cutting costs, rather than beating revenue estimates. Both companies talked about a challenging year to come, and the stock market doesn't like that kind of talk. Both companies are in the Dow Jones 30 industrials. And because both Microsoft and IBM have such large market capitalizations, they have a big impact on indexes like the S&P 500. As a result we're seeing pretty ugly numbers in the futures market this morning.

We did get a couple of good economic reports yesterday. The Philadelphia Fed Survey, which measures business activity in the Mid-Atlantic region was way up, at a level of 14.7. The reading last month was a negative 12.6.

Potentially good news for manufacturing as well, the Maufacturers Alliance/MAPI survey showed an uptick from the prior quarter, although the level of activity was far from what you'd consider an expansion.

Yesterday's gains may just go poof in early trading today. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 10, Dow futures are down about 115 and the Nasdaq futures are 35 points below fair value.

January 17, 2002

We've had to endure a steady stream of "just plain bad news" during the past couple of weeks. About Enron. About Ford. About Kmart. All that bad news gave us six losing sessions in a row on the Dow, but without any really big down days. Until yesterday. The Intel and JP Morgan Chase reports knocked down about 2% yesterday, inspite of some good inflation news.

The Consumer Price Index dropped 2 tenths of a percent in December. That closes out 2001 with an overall inflation rate of 1.6%. That's a lot lower than the long term average.

Among the technology stocks, Compaq and Advanced Micro Devices beat estimates and guided higher. Later today we get earnings from IBM, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems. General Electric reports this morning, but yesterday said they were right on track.

Our futures are positive, although adjusted for fair value, they're not as positive as they would otherwise seem, but we're about as positive today as we were negative 24 hours ago. Adjusted S&P futures are up 5, Dow futures are up 55 and the Nasdaq futures are 23 points above fair value.

January 16, 2002

General Motors reported earnings about 25 minutes ago, reporting a quarterly profit of 60 cents per share. That's six cents better than expected. Revenues were up a billion from last year's fourth quarter, although profits per share were cut just about in half.

Intel reported last night, and as expected, they beat analyst estimates. Intel reported a 15 cent per share profit, versus the expected 11 cent profit. Unfortunately, the news that's moving the markets today is that Intel will cut capital expenditures by 25% this year. While that may be good news for Intel's bottom line, it's bad news for the top line of every other company down the semiconductor food chain - and that's a whole lot of companies.

Comerica missed their estimated earnings by 10 cents per share, even though earnings were 12 cents better than last year. JP Morgan Chase with a big miss. They made 12 cents on an operating basis versus an estimated 35 cents, blaming exposure to Enron and Argentina. Including special charges they actually lost 18 cents per share.

There are a bunch on economic reports coming out by 9:15 this morning, including the Consumer Price Index and Industrial Production numbers.

But at this point, we're looking for more a lot more sellers than buyers at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 7, Dow futures are down 52 and the Nasdaq futures are 27 points below fair value.

January 15, 2002

Kmart's Board of Directors meets this morning to review the company's options as speculation about possible debt restructuring alternatives continues to grow. The December retail sales number come to us in 7 minutes. Expect a drop in retail sales due mainly to a drop in auto sales. Excluding vehicles, retail sales are expected to drop only two tenths of a percent.

Earnings reports are a trickle at this point, but that will turn into a flood by later this week. The big conglomerate Tyco reported in this morning, beating estimates by the obligatory penny but they warned that the next quarter looks a little soft. Tyco's off about 3% in pre-market trading.

Later today, we get numbers from eBay, Juniper Networks and the big number of the day - Intel is expected to report good numbers on strong orders for the Pentium 4 chip.

Asia was down overnight. Europe just can't figure out which way to go. Our futures at this point, are indicating green arrows at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 3 ½ , Dow futures are up 39, and the Nasdaq futures are about 7 points above fair value.

January 14, 2002

It's finally happened. The stock market has decided it doesn't give a hoot about lower interest rates. In a speech Friday afternoon, Alan Greenspan cautioned that while the economy is showing signs of stabilizing, it still >
Earnings reports really start rolling this week. If you look at the number of companies warning about missing forecasts, we've had 584 companies warn this quarter versus 794 at the same time last year. That's a positive of sorts, but what we're really looking for is positive guidance for the coming year. So far this morning, Fannie Mae beat estimates by a penny and did indeed say that 2002 should be a good year for them.< br>
Looks like a lower open on the way today. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 3½, Dow futures are down 15, and the Nasdaq futures are about 9 points below fair value.

January 11, 2002

Ford Motor is front and center this morning as they announce their revitalization plan. But if you ask Wall Street, even the rumored 20,000 job cuts and 1.8 million vehicle reduction in annual capacity may not be enough. Ford stock lost over 6% yesterday. It's trading at $15.20 in the pre-market this morning.

We haven't heard much from Alan Greenspan lately. He'll pop up in San Francisco today, giving a speech at about 1:45 this afternoon. We may get some indication whether interest rates will be coming down one more time at the end of the month.

The December Producer Price Index will be out in just about 5 minutes. The consensus calls for a decline of 2 tenths of a percent.

Japan was down about 1 percent overnight, European markets are mixed at this hour. Our morning futures indicators have been pretty quiet all week and today's no exception. All the major indexes are within a few points of fair value, so unless we get a big surprise in the PPI number, we should have a pretty flat market at 9:30.

January 10, 2002

We had a nice day going yesterday, on some positive remarks out of Cisco and Oracle. But in the final hour of trading, the market had second thoughts. The Nasdaq, at one point, was up about 2 percent, but by 4 o'clock, all the indexes were solidly down.

We'll get the December sales reports for the big chain stores today. In general, so far, so good. J.C. Penney same store sales were up 3.7%. Costco has announced that same store sales were up 7% over last December. Wal-mart same store sales were up over 8%, Pier One says comparable store sales were up over 9% last month.

The Justice Department is opening a criminal investigation into the Enron debacle. This is a story that will keep a lot of lawyers busy for many years to come.

Futures have been improving over the past hour, but right now it looks like a quiet, but mildly positive open for stocks. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 1, Dow futures are up 5, but the Nasdaq futures are about 6 points above fair value.

January 9, 2002

Earnings reports are starting to trickle in. No big surprises so far. The big focus of the morning is workforce reduction, and unfortunately, this morning that news centers in Detroit. General Motors will again offer early retirement, as they try to drop 10% of the salaried workers. Ford, of course will announce their latest cuts Friday morning. Outside of the car business, Merrill Lynch is cutting another 9,000 jobs and taking a charge of more than 2 billion dollars.

If you've owned stock in a fuel cell company during the past couple of years, there's probably not a roller coaster in the world that can scare you. The Bush administration's announcement of economic support for fuel cell development is sparking fuel cell stocks higher this morning. Plug Power, for instance up 28% yesterday, Ballard Power up 15%.

Looks like the Nasdaq will continue to outperform the broader market this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 4, Dow futures are up 25 and Nasdaq futures are about 18 points above fair value.

January 8, 2002

AOL Time Warner held its conference with stock analysts late yesterday. Everybody was expecting an earnings warning for 2002 --- and they got one, as AOL said it does not see a big economic rebound in the cards. They say that they're looking for a 5 to 8% rise in revenue next year. Estimates had been about 9%. AOL is also taking a first quarter charge of 40 to 60 billion dollars to "reflect market declines" since the merger of AOL and Time Warner. That 40 to 60 BILLION that's magically going to disappear from the books. That's the >
Same store sales at Sharper Image were off 4% last year, but during the last 5 days before Christmas, sales were 10% HIGHER than a year before, and they say that's an encouraging sign for 2002.

The futures are indicating a decent market at 9:30 this morning. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 3 points, Dow futures are up 26 and Nasdaq futures are about 10 points above fair value.

January 7, 2002

We finally get back into the swing of things this week, with the Holidays behind us. And quite frankly, the last few weeks have been pretty much an ongoing party for stocks. In fact, since September 21st, the S&P 500 is up 21%, the Dow is up 25% and the Nasdaq is up 45%.

We have a day full of meetings on tap. President Bush meets with Alan Greenspan today, perhaps to get some stock tips. Lucent will be meeting with a new CEO. AOL/Time Warner management meets with stock analysts late today, reportedly to trim back their earnings guidance. The rest of us will be meeting with our wardrobe consultants, to figure out what to wear to the Auto Show.

No big economic reports due today. The 4th quarter earnings season will kick off tomorrow, as it always does, with the report from Alcoa.

The futures have spent the last couple of hours drifting higher, as we look toward the market opening at 9:30. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 2, Dow futures are up 20 and Nasdaq futures are about 16 points above fair value.

January 4, 2002

One year ago today the Federal Reserve went into action. Today, eleven rate cuts later, there's not much ammunition left in the stockade. The question is not if - but when - the economy gets some traction.

Semiconductors. That's where the traction was yesterday. The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index was up over 8%. A lot of that is based on an upgrade of Intel and a potential merger for Micron Technology.

In about 15 minutes we'll get the big economic report of the week. The Employment numbers are expected to reflect an increase in the unemployment rate to 5.8%. While increases in unemployment are not good - really not good if you're one of the unemployed - the economy usually starts to recover from recession well before unemployment starts to decline.

The futures are waiting for that unemployment number as well. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P and Dow futures are flat, and Nasdaq futures are up only about 5 points or so.

January 3, 2002

There's a lot made about the importance of market direction on the first day of trading. As the first session goes, so goes the week.....As the first week goes....so goes January, As goes January, so goes the year. Obviously, a lot remains to be seen. But we got off to a much better start yesterday than we did a year ago. A year ago, the Nasdaq lost 7% on the first day of trading and the Dow was off over 1 percent. Yesterday we rallied in the last hour to post a 52 point gain on the Dow and pick up about 1 ½ percent on the Nasdaq.

One potential psychological downer is on the way today. The employment consulting firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas will report on Job cut announcements today. Yesterday's ISM index was a sign of hope for manufacturing businesses, but it's likely that even if this recession is ending, the jobless rate will climb for a while.

Dow Chemical warned this morning that they won't hit their fourth quarter earnings forecast.

We're looking for a mildly positive market at 9:30 this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P and Dow futures are pretty much flat, but the Nasdaq futures are 14 points or so above fair value.

January 2, 2002

Alright. Let's try this again. For the second year running, the major stock indexes took it on the nose in 2001. For the year, the Dow lost 7%, the S&P lost 13% and the Nasdaq lost 21 per cent.

We will be gearing up slowly today after the holiday. There are only two economic reports due. The first report used to be known as the National Association of Purchasing Managers Index. We have a new name for the new year. It's now the Institute of Supply Management Index. It's expected to be up for the second month in a row, but still not strong enough to signal an expansion in the manufacturing.

December auto sales figures will also be released today. It's expected that they'll be down a bit from November, but still running at a very high level, due to all the special financing deals.

Looks like we'll have a quiet start to trading this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are flat, Dow futures are up about 40 and the Nasdaq futures are 10 points or so above fair value.

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

November 30, 2001

The biggest scheduled news for the markets today is the release of an economic number that at this point - only an economist could love. Actually, it would probably take a pretty lonely economist at that. The third quarter Gross Domestic Product is expected to be revised to a decline of nine-tenths of a percent versus the originally announced decline of 4 tenths of a percent. What difference? This is the number a lot of people used to look at to define whether the economy was in a recession of not. But at this point, with unemployment streaking up and manufacturing still in the doldrums, nobody's really arguing semantics anymore. The important information is, when will the economy start to turn. We get information on that front at 10 o'clock with the Chicago Purchasing Manager Index.

Outside of those releases, there's not much on the agenda today. Japan was up slightly, Europe is mixed.

Our futures have been pretty darn boring overnight. On the sur>

November 29, 2001

The meltdown of former energy trading powerhouse Enron accelerated yesterday. Enron, which was an 80 dollar stock on Valentine's Day, traded yesterday for about 60 cents. So if you don't have any Enron, be happy - but pay attention. There will be a lot of moaning and groaning and litigation from Enron employees who may be losing their jobs at the same time they've lost a significant part of their retirement savings because they had tons of Enron stock inside their 401(k) plans. Make sure to pay attention to just how much of YOUR investment portfolio is tried up in shares of any one stock. Many 401(k)'s restrict your ability to sell company stock that was bought with company matching funds. But as a general rule, try to make sure that no ONE stock makes up more than 10 to 15% of your total portfolio.

The October Durable Goods report comes our in 10 minutes, and we're expecting about a 2% increase, following a very weak September report.

Our futures have been sliding downward since 5 this morning, but were still looking at slightly positive numbers at this point. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 3, Dow futures are up 25 and Nasdaq futures are 9 points above fair value.

November 28, 2001

T he Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index threw a bucket of ice water on the Dow Jones yesterday. The index, which was expected to come in at 86.5 actually fell to 82.2. That's the fifth straight month that the index has declined. The other major Confidence survey, the one from the University of Michigan has been rising lately. Why the difference? The Conference Board survey focuses more heavily of employment questions, and evidently, we're getting to the point where a lot of people can find jobs, but almost everybody knows somebody who can't. On the positive side, the Conference Board's index of consumer expectations for the future, say six months out, rose from last month's level.

Texas Instruments has reaffirmed its outlook for the current quarter. Earnings reports are due today from Brocade Communications and H&R Block. Overseas, the Japanese market took a 3% hit, most European markets are off 1 to 2%.

Our futures have been sliding downward since 4 this morning and at this point are pretty close to the same levels we saw at this time yesterday. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 6, Dow futures are down 46 and Nasdaq futures are 13 points below fair value.

November 27, 2001

In case you've been feeling a little out of sorts - maybe your investments are down, maybe your business is hurting, maybe you've lost your job - well, now you know why. Yesterday the National Bureau of Economic Research declared that the U.S. economy is officially in recession and has been since March. And here you thought it was just you having some sort of mid-life crisis. Interestingly, the last time we had a recession, it was so shallow that it was over by the time it was officially announced. Not many people believe that the current recession is over, but the stock market sure seems confident that upturn is less than six months away.

We'll see how confident the rest of us are at 10 o'clock this morning with the release of the Consumer Confidence index. A level of 86.5 is expected. Anything significantly higher than that should spark another rally. Kmart announced a quarterly loss of 25 cents. That's a little better than expected, although same store sales were down 1.5% from last year. Gross margins were up slightly.

The futures are a bit ugly right now, but lookout for the numbers coming out at 10 o'clock. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 7, Dow futures are down 45 and Nasdaq futures are 13 points below fair value.

November 26, 2001

Not a lot of big news on the docket today. We'll get rolling again tomorrow with existing home sales and Consumer Confidence numbers. Consumer Confidence came shining through at Wal-Mart over the weekend. On Friday alone, Wal-Mart sold one and a quarter billion - that's billion with a "b" --- dollars worth of stuff. Evidently, not everybody is out of work yet, or if they are, they still intend to buy Christmas gifts.

Most indicators of traffic at the shopping malls shows a slight decline from last year, but the statistics we've seen so far are somewhat contradictory, and when you consider the strength of last year's Christmas season, things look not half bad, given what we've been through since September 11th.

Lucent stock is going through something not so good in pre-market trading after rating downgrades from a couple big brokerage firms.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei stock index finished above 11,000 for the first time in three months.

The futures have been slip sliding away for the past hour or so. They're still positive, but not by much. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 2, Dow futures are up 6 and Nasdaq futures are also 5 points above fair value, after being up a fair bit earlier this morning.

November 21, 2001

The past few months, it seems that whenever we expect a nice quiet day in the market, something dramatic happens in the real world. So it as at the risk of tempting fate to deliver a big surprise today --- it sure looks like a nice quiet day is on tap. A lot of traders will make it a short workday today, and earnings season it all but wrapped up. The only particularly interesting number due out will come from the University of Michigan. The monthly Consumer Sentiment index will be announced at 10 o'clock. Even that news is expected to be unchanged from last month. The weekly jobless number will be released in about ten minutes, that's a day early, as the number filing first time unemployment claims is again expected to rise.

After the close last night, the world's largest biotechnology company, Amgen, told analysts that next year's earnings may well grow by 20% versus the 12% growth that is expected this year. Amgen's up over 5% in premarket trading.

The futures are negative this morning, and they've been slipping steadily since 5 o'clock this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 3, Dow futures are down 24 and the Nasdaq futures are about 9 points below fair value.

November 20, 2001

Remember the great bull market? Well, at least technically --- it's baaaaack. The classic definition of a bear market is a 20% decline in stock prices. Conversely, a new bull market is signaled by a 20% rise in stock prices. Yesterday the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed more than 20% above its September 21 level. Not to beat an old drum, but those investors who stuck by their long-term strategies and did not dump out of stocks in the wake of September 11th have seen their portfolios come back and then some, in only eight weeks.

Interesting comments from the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco yesterday. He predicted that the economy, and real estate values, may continue to slip this quarter and next, with things not getting better until the second quarter of 2002. Whether he's right or not, it gives hopes to those looking for another interest rate cut in December.

The futures are negative this morning, but they've been rallying for the past two hours. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are only down 3 ½ , Dow futures are down 36 and the Nasdaq futures are about 5 points below fair value.

November 19, 2001

Oil prices are again in free fall. Brent Sea Crude was under 17 bucks a barrel for a time this morning. Look for cheaper gas at a station near you. A big merger was announced yesterday, with Phillips Petroleum buying Conoco for about 15 billion dollars. Don't get too excited if you own Conoco - there's no premium to Conoco's closing price on Friday.

Lowe's earned a little more than expected last quarter, and they project pretty significant future growth. Same store sales were up 4%. Analysts expected only a 2% increase.

It's no secret that the housing market was shaken in September. Now we'll see just how much of that shake up has continued, as the October housing start number comes out in ten minutes.

Japan was up about three quarters of one percent overnight, European markets are generally up between 1 and 2 percent.

Fair value for the futures is pretty much equal to the cash market this morning, so what you see is what you get. And if nothing changes in the next hour, what we're gonna get is a rally at 9:30. S&P futures are up 6, Dow futures are up 60 and the Nasdaq futures are 17 points above fair value.

November 16, 2001

Certain things in life go hand in hand. Some businesses complement other businesses. So it should be no surprise that yesterday, in one day, we saw better than expected earnings from Krispy Kreme - AND a successful initial public offering for Weight Watchers. As long as one prospers, the other should do pretty well.

We actually had a rash of good earnings reports yesterday. The bean counters at Starbucks met estimates and say that 2002 will perk up from here. Dell Computer beat the consensus estimate by a penny and confirmed their guidance for the current quarter. Dell made less money than last year because of declining computer prices, but they continue to gain market share.

Nobody's really worried about inflation anymore, but just out of habit, the government will release the October Consumer Price Index in about ten minutes. The overall rate is actually expected to DECLINE by 2 tenths of a percent, with the core rate expected to be up about a tenth of a percent.

In front of that number, it looks like another good market at the get go. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 6, Dow futures are up 39 but the Nasdaq futures are 8 points above fair value.

November 15, 2001

One of the more surprising developments of the past two months has been in the oil market. Brent crude oil is trading at $18.45 this morning. That's down by almost half over the past year and down almost 15% from just last Friday. OPEC is trying to raise that level by cutting production, but non-OPEC players, like Russia, continue to tell OPEC to stock it in their collective ear. It sure is good news for the U.S. consumer and the U.S. economy at a time we can use all the good news we can get.

A few more retailers and Dell Computer report earnings today. We'll get another publicity splash from Microsoft today as they release X-Box, their new video-game system.

We've been losing steam in the futures all morning, and if that slide continues, we may get off to a soft start this morning. At this point, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 2, Dow futures are up 13 but the Nasdaq futures are 7 points below fair value.

November 14, 2001

Yesterday, no big earnings disappointments, no bad news out of the Greenspan speech, and the Taliban continuing to use the West Coast offense. It was all good news for stocks, and we had a strong day across the board.

Although earnings season is pretty much over, Hewlett-Packard reported earnings about an hour ago, a day ahead of schedule. And at first blush, the numbers were better than expected. Hewlett reported earnings of 18 cents per share, versus an expectation of 8 cents. That's down from 41 cents last year, but beating expectations by that much are giving stock futures a boost. Another surprise this morning, as Tiffany, a retailer you might expect to be hit hard by economic uncertainty, beat estimates by 3 cents. They also expect the fourth quarter to be about flat with last year.

Unless we get an unpleasant surprise from the October Retail Sales report at 8:30, we'll be heading up at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 7, Dow futures are up 43 and the Nasdaq futures are particularly strong, 26 points above fair value.

November 13, 2001

The possibility that terrorist action took down that Airbus A300 in New York yesterday sent the stock market spiraling downward at the open yesterday. At one point the Dow was off almost 200 points. But as people became more confident that the crash was an accident, stocks bounced back and finished mixed on the day. The only sector that really took a beating, was, of course, the airline sector. AMR, the parent of American Airlines, was down about 9% after being down over 22% at one point yesterday.

Hopefully today we'll get back to more mundane market news, like earnings reports and an Alan Greenspan speech. We have plenty to choose from. Greenspan will speak at Rice University. BEA Systems, one of the bull market darlings reports earnings today along with a batch of retailers. WalMart and Home Depot each estimated 33 cents per shares profit for the quarter. Each made 33 cents per share for the quarter. WalMart sales were up 15% on the year. J.C. Penney also met estimates.

On the positive news from Afganistan, the futures have been strong all morning. It looks like we'll have a very strong market at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 9, the Dow futures are up about 77, and the Nasdaq futures are about 24 points above fair value.

November 12, 2001

In many obvious ways, war hurts stock prices. In some less obvious ways, war can help stock prices. But if you look back over the history of wars this century, it seems that U.S. stocks go pretty much as the war goes. If the war goes well, so go stocks. And, with the war appearing to go rather well last week, we had a good week for stocks. Maybe coincidence, but maybe not. The Dow and the S&P rose 3%, while the Nasdaq went up almost 5%.

Not much on the agenda today. No big economic reports are due until Wednesday, and not a lot of earnings reports due out today.

The bond market is closed today, but stocks will trade.

Overseas markets are off 1 to 2% this morning. Our futures have been improving slightly over the past couple of hours. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are flat, the Dow futures are down about 15, and the Nasdaq futures are about 5 points below fair value. It looks like a boring open to what may well be a pretty quiet market today.

November 9, 2001

Another spike in oil prices this morning. Brent Sea crude is up 6% to 21 bucks and change. Word is that Russia will back the proposed OPEC production cutbacks. That's a big change in policy and not particularly welcome news for any of us.

The Dow and the S&P gained a little bit yesterday. We had a pretty significant rally cooking, until the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee released the minutes from their October 2nd meeting. While the Fed recognized likely short-term economic weakness, they were thinking that the downturn will be relatively short, and hinted that by early next year, they may have to start RAISING interest rates. Don't those guys understand the wonders of zero percent financing?

The October Producer Price Index rolls out in nine minutes. It's estimated that prices actually declined three tenths of a percent last month.

The futures are up a little, but are not showing any real direction in advance of that PPI number. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 2, Dow futures are flat and the Nasdaq futures are 4 points above fair value.

November 8, 2001

European interest rates finally coming down. The Bank of England and the European Central Bank, finally recognizing that things around the world are slowing down a bit, both cut rates this morning by ½ of 1 percent.

There has been talk for a while that OPEC is planning to cut oil production by a million barrels a day. Overnight Saudi Arabia said that the cut might have to be 1½ million barrels. That report shot prices up to around 20 bucks a barrel. Of course, in order to make a cutback stick, OPEC will have to get non-OPEC countries, like Russia, to restrict their output, and get their own members to stop cheating on their production quotas, which has always been an issue.

Wal-Mart with a big 6.7% jump in same store sales for October. Last year's increase was about half of that. Costco same store sales were up 6%.

We've got a rally coming at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 9, Dow futures are up 51, and the Nasdaq futures are 22 points above fair value.

November 7, 2001

It's been easy to second-guess Alan Greenspan and his buddies on the Open Market Committee over the past couple of years. But yesterday, it appears that they looked at the jobs data, the manufacturing data, and they voted unanimously for the only action that made any sense. They cut short-term rates by another half percent to 2%. Although the market had been down most of the day fearing the worst, it turned positive on the news and we finished with another strong day.

However, after the market closed, we got some less than wonderful news from Qualcomm. They missed their quarterly earnings by 2 cents, and estimated next quarter's revenue growth at only 5 to 10%. That's knocked about 9% off Qualcomm's price in pre-market trading.

Third quarter productivity figures come out in six minutes. The estimate is for a slight decrease in productivity from the second quarter.

A little profit taking coming at the open this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 5, Dow futures are down 52, and the Nasdaq futures are 12 points below fair value.

November 6, 2001

Now granted, expectations were low. And granted, when you look at total results, Cisco Systems did report a quarterly loss last night. However, excluding special charges, the pro-forma numbers from Cisco showed a four-cent profit - that's two cents better than expected. Revenues actually increased from last quarter, and the book to bill ratio, an indication of future revenues, is positive. Now that doesn't mean that all is well again with networking stocks. However, things could have been worse, and if we get a few more major players to regain their footing, well people won't be parking cash in 2% money market funds for long.

Speaking of two percent money market rates - that may be generous rate by next week depending on Mr. Greenspan's mood at 2:15 this afternoon. The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee will cut short term rates for the tenth time this year today. It will be at least a quarter point move, and if the Fed is paying any attention to the manufacturing and jobs data, it will be a half percent cut. The fed fund futures are pricing in a 65% chance of a half point cut.

The futures are slightly positive this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 1½ , Dow futures are up 12, and the Nasdaq futures are 5 points above fair value.

November 5, 2001

An interesting statistic from the month of October. Among S&P 500, the four stocks with greatest gains in market capitalization during the month of October: Microsoft, Cisco Systems, IBM and Intel. Sounds a little like the good old days of 1999? One of those companies, Cisco Systems, reports earnings after the market closes today.

Disney will also report earnings this week, and they got some good news from over the weekend. Monsters, Inc. set an opening weekend box office record for an animated film. The sold 63½ million dollars in tickets. Monsters is a product of a Pixar-Disney partnership.

This will be a big week for interest rate decisions. The Fed meets tomorrow, of course, and is expected to cut short term rates by as much as another half-percent. On Thursday, the Bank of England and the European Central Bank are both expected to cut interest rates.

Japan was up overnight. Europe is good shape this morning, and our futures reflect that. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 9, Dow futures are up 62, and the Nasdaq futures are 23 points above fair value.

November 2, 2001

The news of potential settlement in the Government's case against Microsoft sparked a rally yesterday morning that just kept going and going and going. Auto sales are sure going and going and going. General Motors sales for October were up over 31%, Ford was up over 34%. The big rush, of course, is to take advantage of 0% financing. The big question is whether or not there will be anybody left to buy cars next year, when using other people's money will presumably cost something again.

Outside of cars, manufacturing activity contracted big-time in October. The National Association of Purchasing Managers index fell yesterday to its lowest level in 10 years. That could be a precursor of today's jobs report. Eight minutes from now the October unemployment rate will be released. Look for the loss of 300,000 jobs, many of which will be manufacturing jobs, and an unemployment rate north of 5%.

Don't look now, but Brent Crude Oil is trading below 20 bucks a barrel this morning.

Foreign markets are up slightly. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 7, Dow futures down 45, and the Nasdaq futures are 12 points below fair value.

November 1, 2001

The federal government has evidently decided to reverse course and spend more resources in the years to come trying to break up al-Qaida rather than trying to break up Microsoft. We don't know the details, but there is reportedly an agreement between the Justice Department and Microsoft that will put and end to the federal Government's part of the case. There is no indication that the 18 states Attorneys General, who still view Microsoft as an evil-doer, or at least a very deep pocket, will go along with the settlement.

Yesterday's first estimate of third quarter Gross Domestic Product was a negative 4 tenths of a percent, but not as negative as the minus 1 percent that was expected. As a result, the Dow was down, the Nasdaq was up, and the S&P was virtually unchanged.

Standard and Poors cut DaimlerChrysler's credit rating a notch yesterday to BBB+ from A-.

Foreign markets are down slightly. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures and Dow futures are again today within a couple points of fair value, and the Nasdaq futures are 13 points above fair value.

October 31, 2001

According to the Conference Board, Consumer Confidence fell like a cluster bomb in October. The dive to 85 was ten points more than expected, and the worst reading in 7 years. And if you liked that news, you'll love what's coming today. The first estimate of third quarter Gross Domestic Product will be released in eight minutes. Expect a decline of 1 percent or more, due in large part to a slowdown in consumer spending. That would be the worst drop since 1991.

The news isn't getting any better on the jobs front. In France, Alcatel will shed 10,000 workers. In the U.S., Fidelity Investments will let 2% of its workforce go. CVS will shut 200 stores and layoff 300 employees.

Abode Systems warned about 4th quarter and next year's earnings last night. Abode Stock is down over 19% in pre-market trading.

Tokyo was down for the fourth session in a row. European markets are mixed. S&P and Dow futures have been hovering near fair value all morning. Nasdaq futures are 15 points above fair value, but the GDP number at 8:30 could shake things up quite a bit.

October 30, 2001

The big local story, of course the executive shake-up at Ford Motor. This is a story that's been pretty much anticipated by the market. Ford stock is not showing much movement in pre-market trading. Yesterday Ford lost about 2.7% and GM, on the news of the Hughes Electronics deal, lost almost 6%.

Yesterday's market action surprised a lot of people who had gotten the impression that late afternoon rallies were suddenly a birthright of U.S. investors. The 3 to 4 per cent drop off we suffered carried over to foreign markets, as Asia dropped about 1 per cent. Europe is down about 1.5 to 2.5% so far this morning.

At 10 o'clock, the October Consumer Confidence number will be released by the Conference Board. Last week we had a surprise uptick in the September University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index, this report will be watched closely to see how the consumer is coping. Procter & Gamble beat estimates by 2 cents this morning, Verizon is lowering 4th quarter and annual estimates slightly, due to the September 11th attacks.

Looks like we may have another mess on our hands at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 11, Dow futures are down 91 and the Nasdaq futures are 23 points below fair value.

October 29, 2001

A moderately big surprise over the weekend. Echostar is the apparent winner in the bidding for GM Hughes Electronics, even though over 20% of the financing for the deal is still not exactly nailed down. The deal values Hughes at a 20% premium to Friday's closing price. The final chapter to this book will be written by the regulators. It's far from certain that this deal, which would produce a near monopoly in satellite broadcasting, will be approved.

Lockheed Martin is another winner in pre-market trading, up about 7% after winning the Pentagon's Joint Strike Fighter contract last Friday.

Oil prices moved up about 2% this morning. OPEC will be meeting later today, and will presumably cut output to try to get prices up to about $25 bucks per barrel. Oil prices have declined by 25% since mid-September.

Tokyo was down overnight. European markets are down 1 to 2 percent at this hour. Futures have improved but they're still pretty weak. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 8, Dow futures are down 67 and the Nasdaq futures are 13 points below fair value.

October 26, 2001

We went from a triple digit loss to a triple digit gain yesterday as another late day rally drove the market. Some people have pointed to the passage of the anti-terrorism bill as the reason for the rally. That may or may not have had an impact. The more important thing to note is that we have had a series of these late day rallies. It's the sign of a market that wants to go up - there appear to be more buyers than sellers in spite of all the lousy earnings news and potential terrorism threats.

Two big economic numbers will be released at 10 o'clock this morning, when we get the September new home sales data and the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index. New home building drives appliance sales, furniture sales, and lots of other business activity. It's expected that new home sales slipped in September, the question is the degree of the slippage. The estimated decline is 4%. The U of M number is also expected to slip a bit. Again, it will be a matter of degree, not direction that will be important.

Amgen beat estimates last night, JDS Uniphase lost more money than expected.

Adjusted for fair value, our futures are slightly negative, but no really clear indication for the market open just yet.

October 25, 2001

Today is what Microsoft hopes will be the first day of the next great personal computer upgrade cycle. Microsoft's new operating system, Windows XP is officially released today. XP is really a consumer-oriented upgrade to the Windows system. A recent survey indicated that only 16% of businesses contacted expected to upgrade to XP. So, the jury's out on how big this will be, but with PC prices continuing to drop, this may be the excuse a lot of consumers and small businesses need to upgrade their systems.

Dow Chemical met estimates, but lowered guidance for next quarter. EDS beat estimates and confirmed their outlook for 2002, so some good news from EDS. Chiron also beat estimates last night.

This morning the European Central Bank again left interest rates unchanged, once again making believe that all things economic are just fine, and that all we have to worry about is inflation. Tokyo briefly rose through the 11,000 level overnight for the first time since August.

Our futures are weaker this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 5½ , Dow futures are down about 44 points and the Nasdaq futures are 29 points below fair value.

October 24, 2001

The FTC is at it again. Acting on behalf of sailors everywhere, the FTC has blocked the purchase of Seagrams's liquor business on the grounds that the merger would result in only two producers of rum sold in the United States. So, rather than risking inflation in the prices of tropical drinks, the FTC is blocking that sale.

Most of the earnings reports continue to match estimates, but the outlook for the rest of the year and next, to the extent companies are willing to hazard a guess, isn't all that great. Compaq missed their number by a penny, and lowered expectations for the next couple of quarters. AT&T matched estimates, but said that revenue from consumer long distance will fall 25 to 30% next year. Kodak met lowered estimates, and will cut 4,000 more jobs.

There was another rumor floating around in Europe that Osama bin Laden had been captured. There's no confirmation of that - it's just a rumor, but it did drive European stock prices up this morning.

Our futures are up this morning on the heels of the European performance. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up almost 7, Dow futures are up about 43 points and the Nasdaq futures are 13 points above fair value.

October 23, 2001

The futures took a pop up as we talked yesterday morning, and the market just kept marching forward the rest of the day. The Nasdaq, with its 37 point gain is now above where it stood before September 11th.

A lot of companies announcing earnings this morning, as we hit the peak of earnings season. Daimler Chrysler saying that they had a good third quarter and will report full year earnings in line, but at the lower end of the range of estimates, Johnson Controls beat estimates this morning by 3 cents. Lear beat estimates by 2 cents per share.

In fact, the vast majority of companies this morning meeting or beating estimates. A couple exceptions, ExxonMobil missed by 2 cents, Lucent Technologies lost almost 9 billion dollars, that's 4 cents a share more than expected, although they say they'll break even by next year. After the market closes today, Amazon.com, Compaq and AT&T will report.

Asia was mainly up overnight, and outside of Russia and Poland, all European markets are gaining ground today. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 8, Dow futures are up about 40 points and the Nasdaq futures are up 14 points above fair value.

October 22, 2001

Earnings and anthrax will be driving stock prices again this week, and we'll have plenty of earnings to consider. About a third of the S&P 500 report this week. Conoco beat estimates by 7 cents this morning. Lexmark met estimates this morning but warned about the next quarter and will be cutting 12% of its workforce. SBC missed estimates by a penny and will be cutting several thousand jobs.

So far, the actual earnings reported have been running better than analysts were led to expect, but the number of companies warning about their fourth quarter numbers is running far higher than normal. Of course, some of that is gamesmanship, so that the estimated number can eventually be beaten, but it's not likely that many companies are seeing a strong uptick in business just yet.

At 10 o'clock we'll get an economic number that could look a little scary. The September Index of Leading Economic Indicators, which had seen some improvement through the summer, will probably be down by a half percent or more.

No clear direction in the overseas markets overnight. So far our futures are fairly weak. Adjusted for fair value, S&P are down 4, Dow futures are down 22 although the Nasdaq futures are only down about 3 points.

October 19, 2001

We could really use a day of news stories that don't include the word "anthrax." But we may just have to hope for a Consumer Price Index report that doesn't include the word "inflation." A big factor in everybody's thinking about next year is the hope that interest rates stay low and that government stimulus kicks in. That could leave the door open to a pick up in inflation. So, while no one is expecting a nasty number for September's CPI, anything over two tenths of a percent would not be good news. That report will be out in ten minutes.

Big bunches of earnings came out yesterday. So far, over 200 of the S&P 500 have reported, and on the whole, the number of companies missing their estimates are a lot lower than average. Of course, lowered expectations plays a big part in that. SPX missed estimates by a nickel. Visteon lost 8 cents more than analysts expected.

This morning Nokia reported in line with earnings, but their profit margins were better than expected.

Once again, most European markets are down about 2%. And so far our futures aren't looking all that good. Adjusted for fair value, S&P are down 3, Dow futures are down 30 and Nasdaq futures are 9 points below fair value.

October 18, 2001

We started with a nice rally yesterday, but the anthrax reports from Washington and New York infected the market, and for the first time in a while, there was no afternoon rally to bring the market back. Technology stocks had the biggest turnaround, with the Nasdaq losing over 4%. The earnings reports that had been surprisingly positive until yesterday also turned sour. Texas Instuments beat lowered estimates by a penny, losing 3 cents per share, but predicted 10 to 15% decline in revenue next quarter. Siebel Systems missed their number for the first time ever, missing already lowered estimates by 2 cents a share. A lot of Siebel's orders close in the last few weeks of the quarter, and obviously, September 11th didn't help them a whole lot.

General Motors checked in this morning with profits of 85 cents per share, that's down from $1.55 last year, but a nickel more than analysts expected. Lots more earnings coming today, including Microsoft, Boeing, Nortel.

Most European markets are down about 2% this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P are up 2, Dow futures are up over 20 and Nasdaq futures are 4 points above fair value.

October 17, 2001

A lot of companies warned about this quarter's earnings. One company that did not warn was IBM. Last night IBM was a little light on revenue, but they beat earnings estimates and affirmed their guidance for the fourth quarter. IBM up about 4% in pre-market trading. Intel matched earnings estimates although revenue was down 25% from last year, Kraft Foods, the top North American food producer reported profits up 24%. That's a penny ahead of estimates. AOL Time Warner beat estimates by 4 cents per share. Citigroup met estimates and Pfizer beat estimates by a penny.

As expected, Ford Motor lost 28 cents, that compares with a 50 cent profit in the same quarter last year. Dana matched lowered expectations with a loss of a nickel per share, but they are cutting 15% of their workforce and cutting their dividend to a penny from 31 cents. There's also a report that Merrill Lynch may cut 10,000 jobs, that's also 15% of their workforce.

A good rally shaping up at the open, especially in tech and telecom stocks. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 10, Nasdaq futures are up about 31, and the Dow is looking to open up about 80 points.

October 16, 2001

Another late afternoon rally pulled us even yesterday, and it looks like we may get some early follow through this morning.

Big-time earnings numbers roll out today. After the regular market closes today, Intel and IBM both report earnings. Both are expecting a modest decline in profits from the same quarter last year. Caterpillar and Johnson & Johnson also reporting today. Unisys beat estimates by 2 cents, but warned that the fourth quarter will be far lower than estimates. United Technologies met estimates, they're cutting 5,000 jobs. Fifth Third Bank beat by a penny. Delphi met estimates of a nickel a share, but that's down from 26 cents last year.

GM and Ford both had their credit ratings cut by Standard & Poors yesterday.

Most Asian markets rose overnight. European markets are up 1 ½ to 2 percent, and our futures have been mainly on the rise since the European markets opened, although they've leveled off in the past hour.

Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 3, Nasdaq futures are up about 22, and the Dow is looking to open up about 30 points.

October 15, 2001

The anthrax scare on Friday knocked the stock market around a bit. However, once again, a late day rally cut a lot of the loss by the close of trading.

We may need one of those late day rallies again today. Asian and European markets are off 1 to 2 %, a big earnings warning from the Dutch firm ING, and Bethlehem Steel will reportedly file for bankruptcy protection today.

Half of the Dow Jones 30 Industrials report earnings this week, and about 40% of the S&P 500 also fess up. Presumably, the flood of earnings warnings we've already had will take the sting out of those third quarter numbers. Projections for the rest of the year will really be the focus of attention. Global Marine and Fannie Mae beat estimates by a penny this morning. Eaton beat estimates by 3 cents, and did not warn for the fourth quarter. Later today, Oracle holds its annual meeting.

A report on August business inventories comes out in 10 minutes, no matter what that report says, we're likely to head lower at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about 9, Dow futures are down about 71, and the Nasdaq futures are almost 25 below fair value.

October 12, 2001

Okay, it's time to take a deep breath. We'll never be able to go back to life way it was before September 11. But your stocks have. The S&P 500, the Nasdaq and the Wilshire 5000 open this morning higher than they closed September 10. So - if you're one of those people whose investment allocation was inappropriate on September 11, your portfolio has been given a Mulligan. Sit down over the weekend and do some planning for the future.

More decent earnings news yesterday. General Electric met estimates. Juniper Networks made 10 cents a share versus a 7 cent estimate, and they gave us some hope that this quarter is going along well. Juniper stock was up almost 45% in after-hours trading. A&P reported a smaller than expected loss. Compaq got a big contract with the U.S. Postal Service.

In ten minutes we get the September Producer Price Index. Expect an increase of one tenth of a percent or less.

The futures are mixed this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 3, Dow futures are down about 7, but the Nasdaq futures are almost 14 above fair value.

October 11, 2001

Well it's been a month since the terrorist attacks. If you held the S&P 500 stocks on September 10 and did nothing but hold them during the past month, how much would your investments have lost? One percent. And oh, by the way, we went up two percent yesterday alone. So the mistake was not being invested in stocks September 10th, the mistake would have been selling September 20th.

If you've been living on your dividends from Ford Motor stock, you may want to pass on that second donut this morning. In a move that many people expected, Ford's board has cut the dividend in half. That'll save about a billion bucks a year.

The earnings parade continues today, and quite frankly, the reports we've gotten so far aren't as dire as many expected. Accenture and Costco beat estimates by a penny. Yahoo made a penny for the third quarter in a row. That met expectations. Later today, General Electric, Dow Jones and Juniper Networks will report.

No interest rate cut from the European Central Bank this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 3, Nasdaq futures are up 17, and it looks like the Dow could rally 30 points or so at the market open.

October 10, 2001

We seem to have a market that is really looking for some good news. Motorola's earnings report last night wasn't exactly anything to write home about - a loss of 7 cents per share, a special charge of 2 billion dollars, expected losses of 5 to 8 cents per share in the current quarter. Yet, Motorola is trading up in the premarket, evidently because it said that its telephone handset business has returned to profitability.

We have had a few companies beat estimates overnight. Lam Research, Harley Davidson and SunTrust Bank have all beaten expectations. Good news for American Express yesterday, as a court has ruled that Visa and Mastercard member banks can't be denied the opportunity to offer other credit cards, like American Express or Discover.

Bad news for Microsoft, though. News has leaked out of a potential fine from the European Union Commission. It's not a done deal, but the Commission could fine Microsoft up to 2 ½ billion dollars for allegedly anti-competitive practices.

Oil stocks up in Europe, on the possibility of a cut in production out of OPEC. Just like yesterday, our futures are all within a few points of fair value. Not much direction for the market open at this point.

October 9, 2001

More layoffs on Wall Street this morning. Credit Suisse First Boston is going to cut a billion dollars in costs, eliminating 2,000 jobs in the process. That, unfortunately will not be the last of those types of announcements.

Earnings season shifts into second gear today. After the market closes we'll get the quarterly reports from Motorola and Harley-Davidson. Lam Research and Pepsi Bottling also reporting in today.

Yesterday was obviously a nervous day for the market. Some excitement in technology stocks, especially semiconductor stocks, helped hold the major averages pretty much in place. Advanced Micro Devices in unveiling a new chip today. The new Athlon XP chip will run at over 1 ½ gigahertz and compete with Intel's Pentium 4.

Almost every European market is up slightly this morning. Kind of a so-so outlook from the futures this morning. S&P, Dow and Nasdaq futures are all within 5 points of fair value.

October 8, 2001

Well, here we go. The military action that started yesterday in Afghanistan will certainly overshadow things like earnings reports and economic data this week - although there will be a steady stream of reports rolling out, starting tomorrow.

The last time the bombs flew, back in 1990 at the outset of Operation Desert Storm, the stock market took off like a rocket. Of course, this time around, concerns about further terrorist attacks on U.S. soil are likely to keep a lid on investor enthusiasm.

The bond market is closed today for Columbus day, but stocks will trade. Overseas, Japanese markets were closed overnight. All other major stock markets are down. Hong Kong lost 3%, Indonesia lost 4%. Most European markets are down 1 to 2 %, which isn't all bad, given the circumstances.

We will head south at the 9:30 this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 10, the Dow futures are down 122, but the Nasdaq futures are only 22 points below fair value.

October 4, 2001

A surprisingly strong rally was led by technology stocks yesterday afternoon. Cisco Systems set off the rally, reaffirming analyst estimates that they'll make 2 cents per share in the first quarter. Now, that's not exactly blockbuster performance, but it was enough to send the Nasdaq up about 6%.

The other big story driving the market yesterday was word that the economic stimulus package coming out of Washington might be as much as 75 billion dollars. The Bank of England cut interest rates a quarter percent this morning.

The parade of earnings warnings continues this morning. Corning warned again last night. They'll take a billion dollar writeoff, cut 4,000 jobs and idle two plants in November and December. Knight Trading and Global Crossing also warning this morning. Strangely enough, Mariott met their estimate for the quarter, although they warned that the fourth quarter profit will be roughly half what analysts expected.

Asia and Europe both up nicely overnight. We should get off to a good start today. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 6 ½ , Dow futures up 32 and the Nasdaq futures are 21 points above fair value.

October 3, 2001

As expected, Mr. Greenspan and Company lowered the federal funds rate to 2 ½ percent yesterday and the market - well, seemed to have a mind of its own. We went down for about a half hour after the announcement, and then rallied for a pretty nice gain on the day. That gain may go away in short order this morning.

Nortel Networks, the Canadian company that was a shining star a couple years ago, but a black hole ever since warned again about future revenue, future earnings and future jobs. They'll cut 20,000 more jobs - that's 30% of their remaining workforce.

Pharmaceutical companies have been by and large a safe haven during the past couple of years. But word out of Eli Lilly is less than positive this morning. Lilly says they will miss next quarter and next year's estimates. Evidently, generic Prozac sales are really putting a crimp in sales of the full-priced version.

Futures were weak this morning, but they've really dropped off since the Greyhound bus story broke. Adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are down 11, Dow futures are down 102, but the Nasdaq futures are 18 points below fair value.

October 2, 2001

Remember President Kennedy? The last time the fed funds rate was 2 ½ percent, Jack Kennedy was President. Betting is that at 2:15 this afternoon, we'll be back at 2 ½ percent, as the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee will cut rates for the ninth time this year. We should see even the highest yielding money markets paying well under 3 % in short order.

It looks like this whole idea of taking advice from a cow isn', , , , ,, , t working out so well, . A m, ajor, broker, age firm today lowered its outlook for computer ma,, , ker Gateway, predicting a loss of the quarter. Compaq Computer also issued a warning yesterday. They'll lose a nickel or so this quarter - analysts were expecting a profit.

If you're holding a ticket to ride on SwissAir, you may now refer to yourself as a "non-secured creditor". SwissAir has filed for creditor protection, jet fuel shipments to SwissAir have been cut off and some of their planes have been impounded.

Futures are not promising this morning, but they have improved in the last hour. Adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are down 3, Dow futures are down 40, but the Nasdaq futures are only about 7 points below fair value.

October 1, 2001

Well, it's October. Not exactly a month that people associate with great stock market performance. But, if it's any consolation, October has historically been about average compared with other months. The worst month for stocks? That would be September.

Last week the Dow actually rose almost 7 ½ percent, its best week i, n about 17 years. The Nasdaq was up over 5%. However, a lot of that m, ay have resulted from money managers rebalancing portfolios - buying stocks to readjust portfolio allocations in light of the stock swoon the week before.

Federal Mogul filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this morning, a result of asbestos liability claims. That stock closed Friday at 65 cents per share.

Casino owner Mirage warning about earnings this morning, one of many warnings to come in the next couple weeks. One business has evidently not been hurt by the events of September 11th. Krispy Kreme this morning reaffirme, d their third and fourth quarter estimates, so even as the economy contracts, the waistline expands.

It could be a sloppy start at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are down 6, Dow futures are down 95, but the Nasdaq futures are only about 13 points below fair value.

September 28, 2001

It's the last day of the quarter, and it's been a three month stretch that we really could have done without. The Dow Jones and the S&P 500 have lost 17% of their value, the Nasdaq has lost almost one third. A looming question is how investors will react when their 401(k) statements arrive in a couple of weeks.

Yesterday afternoon at about two o'clock, we saw a big surge in volume and a nice rebound in stock prices that had been slip sliding away most of the day. A lot of the rally may have been caused by pension funds and other institutions buying stocks to rebalance their portfolios. But whatever the reason it was a welcome relief.

NEC and Sony out with big earnings warnings today, and statistics just released show that luxury hotel revenues , were down over 70% in the week following September 11.

There's not much debate anymore about whether or not we're in a recession, but just for the record, the final Gross Domestic Product number for the second quarter comes out in ten minutes.

Stock futures have been strong this morning. Adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are up 9, Dow futures are up 35, but the Nasdaq futures are 15 points above fair value.

September 28, 2001

No big earnings reports are expected today, but don't be surprised to hear more earnings warnings. Those warnings were the main culprit yesterday as we gave back about 2.5% on the Nasdaq and 1% on the Dow.

A big-time warning from Communications Equipment maker Sonus yesterday. It wasn't long ago that an article on a national business magazine questioned the business methods that Sonus was using to allegedly "puff-up" revenues. Well, yesterday Sonus admitted that they're looking to lose 5 to 7 cents per share this quarter, rather than making the expected 1 cent per share. Sonus stock lost almost 60, % of its value yesterday.

If you remember Baltimore Gas and Electric, which morphed into Constellation Energy, which became Orion Power, well you're paying way to much attention to the power industry. But in any event, Orion is now being bought by Reliant Resources at about a 40% premium.

European markets are doing well this morning. Adjusted for fair value, Our futures are mixed, but have been slipping during the past hour. Adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are up 3 ½ , Dow futures are up 3, but the Nasdaq futures are 28 points below fair value.

September 26, 2001

The market bent, but didn't break yesterday. At one point the Dow was down almost 100 points, but managed to close with a gain. In fact we've had two days in a row of across the board gains in the major indexes - that I believe is the first two day winning streak in almost two months.

Almost lost in all the other bad news of the last two weeks, we are heading into the heart of "earnings warning season", and if you thought we were in for some warnings before September 11, you ain't seen nothing yet. This morning, Textron, a conglomerate that specializes in helicopters - you would think maybe not a bad play in this environment - they will lose 25 cents this quarter and estimate a 60 cent loss next quarter, versus profits of 71 cents and a dollar five last year. Renaissance Cruise Lines is folding up shop altogether. Expect a steady stream of bad earnings news for the next three weeks.

Of course next week we have another Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting. The fed futures are pricing in an 84% probability of another half-per cent cut in short term rates.

European markets had some pretty good gains this morning, but they have started to slip in the past hour. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 4, Dow futures are up 8, and the Nasdaq futures are 10 points above fair value.

September 25, 2001

Yesterday wasn't just a breath of fresh air in the American stock market, it was like the first warm day of spring. The question is, will we get more snow before it really warms up?

Ever since their blockbuster merger, AOL/Time Warner has held to estimates that their revenue would rise by 12 to 15% this year. Well, they've finally fessed up that things won't be so rosy, and are now est, imating 5 to 7% growth. They've also lowered their estimates for 2002. A lot of analysts had already lowered their own projections for the company, so the stock might not be hit badly, however, AOL/Time Warner is down over a buck in pre-market trading.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence number comes out at 10 o'clock this morning. They survey period does include some post-September 11th responses, so we may get at least a partial indication of current consumer sentiment.

As we look forward to 9:30 this morning, the futures are painting an interesting picture. After being substantially in the red early this morning, the futures have rallied very strongly since 5 o'clock. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 4, Dow futures are up 17, and the Nasdaq futures are 7 points above fair value.

September 24, 2001

We're looking at something we haven't seen in what seems like about a month --- green arrows across the board in the futures.

Last week gave us the worst point loss ever in the Dow Jones Industrials, and the worst percentage loss in 61 years. Word is that insurance companies were dumping stocks to raise cash to meet cla, ims, foreign investors, hedge funds and institutional managers may have been selling. But it looks like the average American sat tight. Trim Tabs reports that last Monday and Tuesday 7.8 billion dollars left stock mutual funds, but two weeks earlier, August 28 and 29, 8 ½ billion flowed out.

At 10 o'clock this morning, we get the reading on leading economic indicators for August. That normally would be a pretty important number. Isn't it interesting how many things that were pretty important two weeks ago are now, well, pretty irrelevant.

Asia up overnight, Europe up this morning, and adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 33, Dow futures are up about 319 points, Nasdaq futures are 52 points above fair value.

September 21, 2001

Well the speeches are in, and so far, the markets aren't impressed. President Bush's speech was unifying, Alan Greenspan's testimony was reassuring about the long-term prospects for the economy. But this morning, foreign markets have sold off sharply. The London Exchange was actually evacuated because of a bomb threat - not exactly the type of thing that instills confidence.

, How about some good news? Nike beat earnings estimates by 4 cents per share, and made favorable comments about next year's business. Later today Morgan Stanley Dean Witter will report earnings. The brokerage industry has been hit especially hard this week.

The futures have traded in a range between very bad and awful this morning. A couple of hours ago, the Dow futures were suggesting a 600 point decline. The futures have come off of those lows, but they are still very weak. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 30, Dow futures are down about 400 points, Nasdaq futures are 44 points below fair value.

September 20, 2001

Another point of interest for individual investors...the market this week has shaken a lot of people, and a lot of people are thinking of selling stocks and funds based upon the daily news. American Airlines and United Airlines, two stocks that immediately come to mind as stocks that have been hurt. They are down 33 and 39% from their prices before the attacks. However, if you had bought United at the opening price on Monday, as of last night's close you would be ahead by 3%. If you had bough, t American, you would be up 25%.

Overseas markets have followed suit overnight, most down 1 to 2%. British Airways announced layoffs today, as the airline recession spreads overseas. Alan Greenspan speaks to the Senate Banking Committee today, and of course the President's address to Congress should have an impact on tomorrow's market.

As for today, the futures were weaker a couple of hours ago, but they're still not pretty this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 21, Dow futures off about 200 points and Nasdaq futures are 27 points below fair value.

September 19, 2001

We had a pretty good rally going until late in the day, when semiconductor and computer hardware stocks led us down to a disappointing, but not horrible closing level.

This morning, the news is more of the same. More layoffs, as Boeing will lay off 30,000 employees. Earnings warnings, as Eastman Kodak is saying that they'll miss their quarter. And corporate stock buybacks. Put together, corporations have announced their intention to buyback about 30 billion dollars worth of their own stock. Those buybacks wi, ll certainly help shore up stock prices. But just because a buyback is announced, doesn't mean it start immediately. More than that, a lot of announced buyback are never completed. So we're really in wait and see mode on those plans.

The Federal Reserve's Beige Book, a survey of economic conditions will be released at 2 this afternoon. So far this morning, the futures not giving us much direction. S&P, Dow and Nasdaq futures are all within a couple points of fair value.

September 18, 2001

Heavy volume yesterday without big technical problems, and there was no panic selling. We lost about 7% in the first hour of trading, and basically went nowhere for the rest of the day as our market adjusted to levels overseas markets.

A couple of lessons from yesterday's trading: retail investors did NOT bail out of their stocks yesterday. Retail action was reported to be positive by many brokers. Secondly, if at the market open, you bought some of the stocks that went way up yesterday, you lost money on the day. Raytheon was up 27% on the day, but closed 11% down from its opening price. , L-3 communications was up 38% on the day, but down 5% from the open. Same story for Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and others. The lesson? For every buyer there is a seller, and if you are trying to buy stocks based upon already public information, the price you pay reflects that information. If you want to profit from the future growth of a business, you have to be invested BEFORE the news breaks, not after.

There's a big fair value adjustment when you look at the futures this morning, and unfortunately, the open looks even weaker than the nominal futures indicate. Adjusted for fair value S&P futures are down 13, Dow futures down 123 and the Nasdaq futures are 18 points below fair value.

September 17, 2001

This will no doubt be one of the most interesting days in stock market history. There is no doubt that net-net, the terrorist attack of last Tuesday and the terrorist threat going forward are not good for efficiency, productivity, confidence - in short not good for economic progress. However, that doesn't mean that capitalism will crumble or that we are unable to fight back.

Some stock, prices will surely be hurt today, and some sectors may not recover for a long time. Airlines, insurance, travel and entertainment related issues will go down. Buying may lift oil stocks, companies that make security systems and devices, as well as computer system consultants, as many companies review their need for secure back-up systems.

Individual investors, especially if they invest through mutual funds should remember that if they place an order to buy or sell, the day's closing price is the price you get. So by selling - or buying - early in the day does not lock in the price you'll get.

Dozens of companies have announced stock buyback programs, as rules against certain types of buybacks have been lifted. There is a lot of talk about a "patriot rally" as investors may buy stocks in blatant defiance of the terrorist attacks. Just a minute ago the Federal Reserve cut interest rates by 50 basis points.

We have no equities futures market this morning. The Globex futures will open at 9:30. Overseas, Tokyo declined 5%. But in Europe, most markets, which had declined in early trading, started to rally about 6:45 this morning. At this hour, m, ost major European markets are up. Germany is actually up 1 ½ percent.

September 14, 2001

Once again today, there will be no trading in domestic stocks. Tomorrow, system testing will begin at the New York Stock Exchange, and if all goes well, stock trading will resume in New York at 9:30 Monday morning.

The bond market did trade yesterday, and trading was brisk and orderly. No panic, no overreaction. Japanese stocks closed up 4%, and European markets are down between 2 and 4% at this hour.

Cisco Systems will buy back 3 billion dollars worth of its own stock. Expect to hear more buyback announcements, especially if stocks decline next week, as companies will look to support the market.

Predicting day to day movements in stock prices in this environment is, of course, impossible. However, there are some things you can expect. Recession in the U.S. is now very likely. The words "budget" and "surplus" will probably not show up in the same sen, tence very often in the future.

However, interest rates will be coming down, and coming down a lot. However, so is a massive rebuilding effort and some significant military action, both of which are usually good news for stock prices.

September 13, 2001

There will be no trading in U.S. equities today. The markets will reopen either tomorrow, or perhaps more likely on Monday. The bond market will trade. The Chicago Merc will open in a few minutes, the open has been delayed due to very tight security.

The stabilization that started yesterday continues. Tokyo was flat overnight, European markets are generally positive at this hour.

A bunch of U.S. companies, including Cisco Systems, General Electric, Wells Fargo, Sprint PCS, have announced that they are contributing millions and millions of dollars to the relief effort, ten million alone from GE. There is a growing feeling that given the time we now have to reflect on the situation, when the markets open, investors may well feel that the best way that they can contribute - the way they can help a return to confidence --- is to stand firm with their investment positions. Not only is it good investment policy to not sell out of fear, it ma, y now be regarded as good patriotism as well. Don't be surprised if we get another cut in interest rates in very short order as well.

September 12, 2001

Obviously, after yesterday, we are in uncharted waters. We now have a crisis in confidence on a number of fronts. However, it will not necessarily cause a crisis in the financial markets. That depends on what our political leaders do now. The banking system remains open. The Fed is providing all the cash that is needed. We will have at least this two-day break in securities trading, yesterday and today, for everyone to absorb the long-term impact of these events. So, when trading resumes it is more likely to be based on information rather than emotion.

Yesterday European markets dropped between 5 and 10%. Japan was down over 6% overnight. So far today, European markets have by and large stabilized. Historically, next day stock prices after previous war and terrorist situations are weak. However, three months down the road, the value of financial assets are typically higher. Of course that will depend on what our political leaders do next.

So, what should investors do? Hopefully, all investors have a sound financial plan in place. Tha, t means, of course, that the money you need for the next six months is in cash equivalents already, and the next three to five years of cash need is secured. If that next six months of liquidity is not there, you may want to provide for it. However, dumping all your financial assets out of panic is seldom a good strategy, and I doubt that it's a good idea right now.

September 11, 2001

We started the day in a big hole yesterday and only partially dug our way out. The S&P 500 did gain almost 7 points, but declining stocks outnumbered advancers almost 2 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange.

This morning, news from Pfizer. The big pharmaceutical maker reaffirmed their profit guidance for the rest of this year and next. The next three weeks will be filled with preannouncements, as we are entering what's known as "earnings warning season" for the third quarter. The more pessimistic those reports, the bumpier ride we'll have going into October.

Three Federal Reserve officials spoke yesterday about the economy. Unfortunately, when you look at all they had to say, it's pretty clear that no one has a firm handle on the timing of an economic turnaround. The next Federal Reserve Open Market Committee mee, ting is October 2.

The futures have improved in the past hour, and we're looking to rally at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 9, Dow futures are up 75 and Nasdaq futures are 21 points above fair value.

September 10, 2001

The employment report last Friday morning was a blockbuster, or maybe we should call it a stock-buster. The unemployment rate rose to 4.9%, far higher than expected. If that rate continues to rise at anywhere near the same speed, the fear is that consumer spending will weaken, and consumer spending has been the sole bright spot in this economy during that past year and a half.

Taking their cue from our market, Japan lost 3% overnight, and most European markets are off 2 to 3 percent.

There aren't a lot of big economic reports on the calendar until late in the week, and only a handful of earnings reports on the way. A lot of Federal Reserve Bank Presidents will be speaking throughout the week, but right now the Fed fund futures are pricing in a 100% probability of another interest rate cut in October, and a 50-50 chance of a second cut before year end.

The futures are have been dropping like a stone since 4:30 this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 17, Dow futures down 146 and Nas, daq futures are down 22 points. Look out below at 9:30.

September 7, 2001

We really needed some good news from Intel's mid quarter report last night, and we got - well - calling it good news would be a stretch, but Intel says that revenue for the quarter will be within the very large range of guidance they had previously provided, although it will be in the lower part of the range.

Yesterday was a mixed bag of news. Microsoft won't be broken up, but Motorola warned about earnings again, as they have every quarter for the past year, and the market was in no mood for it. TRW will be restructuring their automotive businesses and cutting their dividend in half. TRW off about 16% in the after hours trading yesterday.

Our direction for this morning's market will probably be established in less than 10 minutes. A drop of 40,000 non-farm jobs is expected to be announced, along with an unemployment rate of 4.7%. It sure wouldn't hurt to have one or both of those numbers come in better than expected. Watch the average national wage number too. It's expected to go up 3 tenths of a percent.

The futures are mixed at this hour. Adjusted for fair value, S&P and Dow futures are down a couple points or so, and the Nasdaq futures are 9 poin, ts above fair value on the Intel news.

September 6, 2001

News just released from Walmart. Walmart same store sales up 7.2%, Sam's Club up 6.1%, that's better than expected. Last night Microsoft and Caterpillar both said that they'll meet earnings estimates this quarter. Okay, now the rest of the news....... Mariott says that business travel is lousy, with no turnaround in sight. Their August revenue was 7 to 10 % below last year. Overseas the London market is at a 34 month low, France at a 2 year low.

After the market closes today Intel will give its guidance for the remainder of the current quarter. Three weeks ago, Cisco gave us a pretty tepid mid-quarter update, and the market took off. So, it could be a case that any good news will be great news, but most analysts are not expecting a lot of good news from Intel tonight.

The futures are not promising at this hour. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about 8, Dow futures are down 43 and the Nasdaq futures are 18 points below fair value.

September 5, 2001

The end could be in sight for the manufacturing slowdown, or so it seemed at 10 o'clock yesterday. The National Association of Purchasing Manager's Inde, x , came in stronger than expected. The overall number still reflected a contraction in manufacturing, but several pieces of the index were positive, including the new orders component. The stock market took off on the news, possibly fueled by some traders covering short positions. About 2:30 in the afternoon things reversed course, and while the Dow still closed up it couldn't quite get back to 10,000 and the Nasdaq took a 2% whack.

That negative momentum was picked up overseas. Most overseas markets are down between 1 and 2 percent. A lot of weakness in tech and telecom stocks in Europe. The big number for today will be the revised 2nd quarter U.S. productivity results. Expect a revised productivity increase of 2%. That announcement coming in about 10 minutes.

The futures started to slide about 4:30 this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about 2 ½ , Dow futures are down 31 and the Nasdaq futures are 3 points below fair value.

September 4, 2001

When does 2 plus 3 make 1? When you take the second largest and third largest PC makers in the world and put them together, they become the biggest. Hewlett-Packard is buyi, ng Compaq Computer for 25 billion in stock. You know, everyone's been waiting for a few big companies to come out and say that "things are getting better." Sometimes it's better to watch what they DO rather than what they SAY. When companies expect things to pick up, they may well go out and "pick up" market share by buying other businesses at bargain prices.

Not only is Hewlett buying Compaq, two other big deals this morning. Devon Energy buying Anderson, a Canadian company at a 51% premium, and Santa FE International is buying Global Marine at a 17% premium.

Later today, we get August Car Sales numbers, and the National association of Purchasing Managers Index. The Chicago Purchasing Managers number was strong on Friday, if that carries over to the National number, it should give stocks a boost. The futures have weakened a lot in the past few hours, but they still point toward a higher market open at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures up 3, Dow futures up 41 and the Nasdaq futures are 9 points above fair value.

August 30, 2001

More trouble in tech-land this morning. Yesterday, after the market closed, Sun Microsystems warned that the, y will not be making a money this quarter. Weak demand for servers and the slowdown in Europe are spelling trouble. In fact, European Central Bank may finally be ready to admit that things are slowing down. The ECB cut interest rates a quarter of a percent about a half hour ago. Speaking of Europe, just when Microsoft looked to be out of the regulatory woods, the European Commission --- remember them from the breakup of the GE / Honeywell deal? The European Commission is expanding their investigation of possibly anti-competitive business practices by Microsoft. That news is not likely to help Microsoft stock today.

July Personal Income and Consumption numbers coming out in 10 minutes, but unless we get a big surprise, it looks like another lower opening this morning.

Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are flat, Dow futures up a few but the Nasdaq futures are 12 points below fair value.

August 29, 2001

They say that no news is good news. For the stock market yesterday, very little news made for a mess. The market was mixed until the Consumer Confidence number was released at 10 o'clock. Consumers are evidently not as confident about the current economy, but their confidence i, s rising about the future. Now on the sur>
Today's big news? Again, it's more of a "what happened" number rather than a "what's coming" number. The revised 2nd quarter Gross Domestic Product number is expected to show zero growth for the second quarter. That number will be released in 10 minutes and may well set the tone for the rest of the day.

Gateway announced details of their restructuring. 5,000 folks, or 25% of Gateway's workforce will be looking for work somewhere else.

Adjusted for fair value, futures are lower at this hour, S&P futures down 2, Dow futures are down 13 and Nasdaq futures 8 points below fair value.

August 28, 2, 001

The market hovered modestly higher all day yesterday until the last half hour of trading, then sold off a little, but all and all, it wasn't a bad day after the big run-up on Friday. Yesterday was the fourth lightest trading day of the year on the New York Stock Exchange.

Only one economic indicator coming today. At 10 o'clock the reading on Consumer Confidence is expected to tick up slightly from last month.

After the bell yesterday office furniture maker Herman Miller warned that their current quarter is heading for the circular file. Less spending by businesses and heck, less businesses out there buying furniture, Herman Miller now expects earnings for the quarter of 2 to 7 cents. Analysts were expecting 21 cents. Herman Miller stock off over 13% last night after that announcement.

Sun Microsystems downgraded by a major brokerage house this morning. Asia off a little, Europe flat this morning. That futures have barely moved all morning but are pointing toward a mixed opening. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures down 1, Dow futures are up 6 and Nasdaq , futures 8 points below fair value.

August 27, 2001

Friday's gains were the biggest in six weeks. The Dow shot up 2% and the Nasdaq was up over 4%. Is this the start of something big? Well, don't bet the farm. Summer Fridays are always a little suspect, because of light trading volume. And according to Connecticut Research firm Birinyi and Associates, over the past 10 years there have been 23 weeks with trading patterns similar to last week's. The most likely result for the following Monday? 61% of the time, the Monday market finished only slightly positive, with less than a half-percent gain.

The message in Friday's rally? It was triggered when Cisco Systems said it saw signs that business was "stabilizing." Imagine what the market will do when two or three big companies actually see business "improving."

More job cuts in the news. Toshiba and Hitachi reportedly set to let 40,000 workers go. JP Morgan Chase will have a third round of layoffs and Manpower says that 4th quarter hiring in the U.S. will be the weakest since the last recession ten years ago.

Asia and Europe up about 1%. Futures have been slipping most of the morning, but are still positive. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 1, Dow futures are up 25. Nasdaq futures are 2 po, ints above fair value.

August 24, 2001

After the market closed Cisco Systems announced that while they can't predict the future - which is interesting because a year and a half ago everybody thought they could - Cisco said that orders during the first few weeks of the current quarter were in line with projections. And then they muttered the four magic words - "our business is stabilizing." Look for those words at a business near you during the next few months. Cisco is up about 80 cents in premarket trading.

Kmart reported a loss of 4 cents yesterday. That was in line with estimates, but same store sales were only up about 1%. So, the stores sure look a lot better, but the earnings turnaround everybody's been waiting for is could still be a little ways off.

At 8:30 we get the July Durable Goods report, New Home Sales at 10 o'clock. But outside of that, a lot of traders may head for the beach a little early today.

Japan was up a little overnight, Europe is in rally mode. W, e , should rally at the open on the Cisco announcement. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 5 1/2, Dow futures are up 47 and Nasdaq futures are 28 points above fair value.

August 23, 2001

This is one of my favorite days of the quarter. We get earnings reports from Krispy Crème AND the World Wrestling Federation. No real connection there. It's just fun to talk about companies where what you see is what you get. Krispy Crème, which contains some natural ingredients (unlike the World Wrestling Federation) once again beat expectations, making ten cents per share, versus a 9 cent estimate. They say that they will continue to expand in 2002, opening 40 new stores, with projected profits of 42 cents per share.

If you own a Gateway computer, the computer may still work, but if you own a Gateway bond, it's now junk. Standard and Poors has downgraded Gateway's debt to junk status.

Yesterday was a day for the semiconductor stocks. On news of that improved book to bill ratio, semiconductor stocks shot up over 3 and a quarter percent yesterday. Overall we tacked a hundred points on the Dow and a perc, ent and a half on the Nasdaq. But, you know the market this year - if we're up one day - well, you know the rest of the story.

Japan was down overnight, Europe is mixed. Adjusted for fair value S&P, Dow and Nasdaq futures are all solidly under fair value. It looks like a weaker open for the market at 9:30.

August 22, 2001

The Fed said that the slowdown's not dead. The market saw red. As expected, the Fed cut short-term interest rates a quarter percent yesterday, but investors keyed on what the Fed said. In a statement that was virtually identical to their June statement, they said that economy is NOT yet showing great signs of strength, and the door is still open to further rate cuts.

As we mentioned yesterday, General Motors stock has taken a beating since Ford Motor warned about earnings for the rest of the year. Well last night, after the market closed, GM said - hey - enough is enough - we're not Ford, our third quarter earnings will come in better than expected - so get off our case. Not surprisingly,, GM traded up over a buck in the after-hours trading last night.

A glimmer of hope for semiconductor stocks - the July book to bill ratio is reported at .67. That's up from .54 in June. So, chip-makers are still getting less in orders than they are shipping out, but the ratio is getting better.

Don't look now - but the Nasdaq is in another bear market. Last night's close left it down over 20% in the last three months, but it looks like all the major averages will get off the mat at 9:30 this morning. Adjusted for fair value S&P futures are up a point 5 1/2, the Dow futures are up 48, and the Nasdaq futures are about 18 points above fair value.

August 21, 2001

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained nearly 80 points yesterday, on a day that saw Dow component General Motors lose about 3 and a half bucks. That GM loss is worth about 20 points on the Dow, so overall, a pretty good day.

Since the market closed yesterday, two big earnings reports: Agilent Technologies lost less money than expected last quarter, but warned that the rest of the year won't be as good as expected, they're c, utting 4,000 jobs. Staples met expectations, but said they aren't seeing a lot of near term upside and as a result, they're cutting back expansion plans.

Don't expect anything dramatic in front of the Federal Reserve announcement at 2:15 this afternoon. Absolutely everyone this side of the international space station is expecting a quarter-point reduction in interest rates. So, the most important part of the Fed announcement won't be the cut, it will be what the statement regarding what the Fed expects the future to hold.

Looks like we're going to drift a bit ahead of that announcement. Adjusted for fair value S&P futures are up a point, the Dow futures are up 16, and the Nasdaq futures are about 3 points below fair value.

August 20, 2001

We had a bunch of encouraging economic news last week. But a depreciating dollar, the earning warning from Dell Computer and all the news from Ford Motor were just too much to overcome. One brokerage firm this morning is questioning how long Ford can maintain its current dividend - keep an eye on that one.It's Alan Greenspan front and center tomorrow. We should get another ¼ percent cut in short term interest rates. But, just as is the case with corporate earnings reports, market reaction may focus less on what the Fed does, and more on what it , says about the future. That announcement comes at 2:15 tomorrow afternoon.

Lowe's beat estimates by a penny this morning. They made 42 cents for the 2nd quarter, versus 36 cents last year. Yes, there are some businesses that ARE making more money than they did last year.

Japan's losing streak hit four overnight, the Nikkei was of over 1 ½ percent. Europe also down this hour. Our futures started to rally at about 6:30 this morning. Adjusted for fair value S&P futures are down just a smidgen, but the Nasdaq futures are about 2 points above fair value.

August 17, 2001

If you are a salaried employee at the Ford Motor Company, you may not have to wait until Christmas to get your next "package." Ford will cut up to 5,000 white collar jobs through a "Voluntary Separation Program." Ford also says it now sees 2001 earnings at 70 cents per share. The consensus estimate was $1.20. Over and above that 50 cent shortfall, they will take another 50 cents in charges by year end in connection with that early retirement program.

Analog Devices met estimates this morning, but said they will be cutting jobs by year, end. Boeing also announced 600 job cuts this morning.

Hewlett Packard beat estimates, and said that things may be getting better. Dell Computer, on the other hand, met estimates, but warned about the rest of the year. So far this morning, the market looks to believe Dell more than HP. Adjusted for fair value, the futures aren't as bad as they look at first glance, but they're still not a pretty picture. S&P futures are down 7 1/2, Dow futures are down 42, and the Nasdaq futures are about 25 points below fair value.

August 16, 2001

In fifteen minutes, the government will release two bits of economic information that may come to the aid of a pretty listless stock market. The July Housing Starts are thought to have declined very slightly from the June level. Housing demand has held up very well through the downtown of the past 18 months, so that number is an important one.

And of course, one of the most important factors in interest rate policy is the inflation rate. The July Consumer Price Index will also be released at 8:30. Look for a tenth of a percent decrease overall and a two tenths of a percent increase in the core rate. The Federal Reserve Open Market Com,, mittee meets next week for what will almost certainly be another cut in short-term interest rates.

Yesterday the major indexes took another drubbing, but it really wasn't THAT bad a day, as the advance/decline line held up pretty well. The big hurt of the day was laid on the Nasdaq, which lost over 45 points. Later today, earnings from Kmart, Dell, Ciena and Hewlett-Packard.

Futures have improved a bit during the last two hours but are still a bit negative. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 4, Dow futures are down 16, and the Nasdaq futures are about 14 points.

August 15, 2001

The itty bitty rally we started with yesterday petered out as the day dragged along. Last night a few big companies reported earnings. BEA Systems beat estimates by a penny, but warned about the remainder of the year. Applied Materials also beat estimates, Network Appliance matched expectations. AOL/Time Warner was hit with a rumor about an earnings shortfall and impending layoffs yesterday. AOL lost about $3 to $40 on the day

Later today, we'll hear about our Industrial Production and Capacity U, tilization. Expect declines in both.

Don't forget to file your tax return! If you took an automatic extension of time to file of April 15, today's the deadline to file, unless you formally request an additional two-month extension.

European markets are quiet day in fact a lot of overseas markets are closed for Assumption day. And the U.S. futures have been pretty quiet this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 3, Dow futures are up 18, and the Nasdaq futures are about 4 points.

August 14, 2001

At 8:30 this morning, the report on July retail sales. A decrease of 2/10 of a percent overall and, excluding autos, a rise of 1/10 of a percent is expected. Speaking of retail sales, Walmart met estimates on 37 cents pre share this last quarter. Home Depot made 39 cents. That beat estimates by 2 cents. And speaking of auto sales, this may get a little tougher for the domestics car makers. The Bank of Japan overnight announced a surprise easing of monetary policy. Interest rates, of course, are already virtually zero in Japan. Now the Japanese Central Bank is planning to flo, od the system with yen, making it even cheaper for Japanese consumers to consume and Japanese exporters to profit. The Japanese stock market was up almo, st 4% overnight.

Tyco cutting 11,000 jobs, that's 6% of their payroll. Citigroup cutting about 1 ½ percent of their workforce, that's 3,500 jobs.

Europe is up across the board this hour, and barring a disaster in the retail sales number we'll start the day with an itty bitty rally on Wall Street. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 3, Dow futures are up 9, and the Nasdaq futures are about 9 points above fair value.

August 13, 2001

Another call from a major investment firm this morning may give us a little boost at 9:30. Just past 7 this morning, Goldman Sachs upgraded its outlook for certain semiconductor and telecommunication stocks. That turned a negative futures market around pretty nicely, especially for the Nasdaq.

Mark this day on your calendar, the first Bridgestone/Firestone lawsuit gets going today. Could be a lot time before that story goes away. One legal dispute settled this morning, as Ford has settled a Californina lawsuit over allegedly defective ignition switches. Nationwide, that could mean the recall of 5 million vehicles.

A lot of big names report earning, s later this week, and of course, we're a week away from another Fed meeting. Japan's Nikkei is at another 16 year low, falling so fast it's actually closing in on the Dow Jones. The Nikkei now under 11,500. Europe is up a little this hour. Adjusted for fair value, futures are mixed. S&P futures are up 1, Dow futures just turned down about 10, and the Nasdaq futures are about 11 points above fair value.

August 10, 2001

The stock market was a lot like a duck in the lake yesterday, paddling furiously below the sur>
The big number of the day will be the Producer Price Index at 8:30 this morning. Economists are expecting a decrease of 4 tenths of a percent overall and and rise of 1 tenth of a percent in the core rate. The lower these numbers are, of course, the more room the Federal Reserve has to continue lowering interest ra, , tes. At this point the Fed Futures contracts are pricing in an 80% probability of another ½ percent interest rate cut by November.

That three billion dollar judgement against Philip Morris in California was cut to $100 million by a judge in California yesterday. Phillip Morris still plans to appeal to get its reduced even further.

Europe is up 1 to 2 percent today. Adjusted for fair value, futures are slightly positive. S&P futures are up 2 1/2, Dow futures are up 10 and the Nasdaq futures are about 3 points above fair value.

August 9, 2001

Yesterday was a day we really could have done without, as far as stocks were concerned. The Federal Reserve's Beige Book was released. It reported that the weakness in manufacturing has started to spread to other businesses, like office space, trucking and shipping. Now, if you live in an area that has no office buildings, maybe you haven't seen scores of "For Rent" signs lately. But, for anyone who has been looking around a bit, this Beige Book revelation should not be big news. Unfortunately, the market did not react well, as we lost 3% on the Nasdaq and 165 points on the Dow.

If you're looking for some good news today --- Solectron, the world's biggest electronics contract manufacturer , is buying C-Mac, a Canadian company, for about 2.7 billion U.S. dollars. Why is this good news? Well everybody is waiting for companies to come out and tell us that things are getting better. Sometimes it's a good idea to ignore what they say and watch what they do. If we get some pickup in merger activity, it is likely a good sign for the future.

Japan was a mess overnight, Europe is down 1 to 2 percent. Adjusted for fair value, futures are mixed. S&P futures are down 3 1/2, Dow futures are up 6 and the Nasdaq futures are about 8 points below fair value.

August 8, 2001

A nice surprise yesterday morning - an uptick in U.S. worker productivity helped the Dow Jones to a 57 point gain. But we may be giving it all back at the open this morning.

Last night, after the general market closed, Cisco Systems matched estimates of 2 cents per share in earnings. Cisco stock bubbled up when the number was released to about $19.60 per share. But when the company started talking about expectations for the future, things took an ugly turn. About ten minutes past 5 yesterday afternoon, the stock took some lumps as the company suggested that the internet equipment business has not bottomed, a, nd may not bottom for another 3 to 6 months. Cisco trading this morning at about $18.40 per share.

Good news for Boeing - a $2 billion order from China for 737s. Later today, earnings from Waste Management and Clorox.

The Cisco news and a negative outlook from Emulex will get us off on the wrong foot this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 7, Dow futures are down 55 and the Nasdaq futures are about 13 points below fair market value.

August 7, 2001

The story on Intel's projected price cuts yesterday morning set the stock market off on the wrong foot, and it never really got any better. Unfortunately, we have more of the same this morning. A brokerage firm downgrade of just about the entire semiconductor industry has the futures pointing to a lower opening.

Quarterly productivity numbers, one of Alan Greenspan's favorite economic indicators, will be released later today.

Procter & Gamble out with earnings; they beat estimates by a penny. After the market closes tonight, the big report of the day - Cisco Systems reports earnings. Two cents per share is expected, but the issue for investors will not be what the earnings have been. We'll be listening for any guidance a, bout the future.

Asia down, Europe down, and futures are a little weak this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 4 and the Nasdaq futures are about 20 points below fair value.

August 6,2001

There's some potentially good news if your planning to buy a computer for Christmas, but it may not be such great news if you own stock in Intel or Advanced Micro Devices. There's a research report out this morning saying that Intel will slash prices on their microprocessors a few weeks from now. Some of those cuts could be as much as 50%. Intel is down over a buck in premarket trading.

A few weeks ago General Motors told EchoStar Communications to forget it - go away - GM was not interested in selling Hughes Electronics to them. They would talk exclusively to News Corp. Well, they're back. EchoStar this morning is offering over 30 billion dollars in stock for GMH. That's about an 18% premium. Don't hold your breath on this one, though. Remember - it's an all-stock offer. GM presumably is looking for cash out of any sale of Hughes.

No big earnings or economic reports expected today, it should be another light day for volume.

The futures, are a little weak this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 2 1/2, Dow futures are flat, but the Nasdaq futures, on that Intel report, are about 16 points below fair value.

August 3, 2001

The stock of the morning is Sensormatic. This morning, news that conglomerate Tyco is offering 24 bucks a share for Sensormatic, that's a 2.3 billion dollar deal. Sensormatic closed below $15 last night, but is trading in the premarket at about $23.

Two major earnings reports this morning. Disney beat lowered estimates as did Ethan Allen.

The big news of this day hits at 8:30 this morning, when the government reports the July unemployment rate and the increase or decrease in non-farm jobs. The consensus estimate of economists is a decline of 50,000 jobs and a rise in the unemployment rate to 4.6%. But, there is an unusually large variation in the range of estimates. Yesterday's unemployment claims data seemed to suggest that the jobs market was getting better, but a lot of economists are calling for a decline in payrolls of 100,000 or more. If that indeed is true, you can bet on more interest rate cuts to come.

The futures are taking a wait and see attitude in front of those numbers, Adjusted for fair value, S&P an, d Nasdaq futures are down only a point or so, the Dow futures are about 20 points below fair value.

August 2, 2001

A lot of stuff going on this morning. About an hour ago, the Bank of England unexpectedly cut interest rates a quarter percent, citing weaker economic conditions. But apparently everything across the channel is just fine -- the European Central Bank held rates unchanged.

Overnight, shares of PMC Sierra surged over 10%. Why? That stock is being added to the S&P 500 to replace Quaker Oats, which was up over 13% yesterday. Why? As we discussed yesterday morning, the FTC did give Pepsi the OK to buy Quaker.

In fifteen minutes, last week's jobless claims number will be released. Look for an increase of about 20,000 claims. That number is always a little squirrelly this time of year because of auto factory changeover.

Europe generally higher this morning, Japan up 3.7% and Taiwan way up over night, on the strength of the semiconductor stocks that did so well here in the U.S. yesterday.

Unless we get a big surprise from the jobless claims at 8:30, we're going up at the market open. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 12, Dow futures up 93 and the Nasdaq futures 28 points ab, ove fair value.

August 1, 2001

It's summer, a lot of traders are on vacation, trading volumes are light. So, you can't read too much into a couple good days for stocks. Still -we'll take it. The futures are indicating a solid opening and they've been gaining strength since 5 o'clock this morning.

One of the reasons is likely a blanket upgrade of the semiconductor chip stocks be a major brokerage firm. It was a similar downgrade last fall that really seemed to tip off the big market decline. So, watch those Nasdaq stocks today.

Earnings reports continue to trickle in. Only one miss this morning; Cigna, the big insurance company missed estimates by 4 cents.

Later today, the Federal Trade Commission may rule on the Pepsi/Quaker Oats merger. The National Association Purchasing Managers Index for July comes out at 10 o'clock. That index measures the health of our manufacturers. It's no secret that the manufacturing sector is contracting - the question is whether the rate of that contraction has stabilized. The expected level for the Index is 44.5.

Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 4, Dow futures up 12 and the N, asdaq futures 30 points above fair value.

July 30, 2001

We'll clean up most of the rest of corporate earnings reports this week. By the end of the week, 90% of the S&P 500 will have reported. So far, lowered expectations have largely been met, but guidance for future profits has been less than exciting.

If fast laptop computers get you excited, today may be your day. Intel will reportedly roll out a 1.3 gigahertz Pentium 3 chip for laptop computers, just in time for that Microsoft XP rollout in the fall.

Speaking of Microsoft, they're a little upset that AOL Time Warner is looking to acquire AT&T Broadband. Microsoft is looking to block the deal, saying that it would give AOL a dominant position in the cable business, and Microsoft knows a couple things about dominant positions in important lines of business.

Disney reports earnings today. No big economic reports are due. Japan closed overnight at a 16 year low.

Futures are fairly quiet, but slightly positive. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 1, Dow futures up 16 and the Nasdaq futures 9 points above fair value.

July 20, 2001

This concept of odd/even, , watering of the lawn seems to have spread to the stock market. With your lawn, it's one day green, one day brown. With the market this week, it's been one day green, one day red. Yesterday was a green day, but today, it looks like the water's been turned off.

A bunch of big problems today: Microsoft reported last night. Microsoft has historically been very cautious about their guidance -- they have consistently put a damper on their predictions of future earnings. Well, after getting everybody excited last week about better than expected sales in the past quarter, they say that the next quarter's earnings will be less than analysts expect.

One of the bright spots for all of us during the past few months has been the dramatic decline in oil prices. Don't look now, but OPEC says they are poised to take action to boost oil prices, and that's about the last thing we need right now.

DaimlerChrysler returned a worldwide profit. The Chrysler unit still lost money, but far, far less than they lost in the previous quarter.

We're likely to sell-off at the open. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 7,, Dow futures off 65 and the Nasdaq futures 34 points below fair value.

July 19, 2001

Earnings reports rolled in yesterday, pretty much as expected. But companies that think business will get better soon are few and far between. It's that lack of earnings visability that kept stock prices in the dumper.

We tried to rally a few times yesterday during Alan Greenspan's testimony before the members of the House of Representatives. Mr. Greenspan was pretty straightforward in his comments. He said that the Fed was just about done cutting rates, but will cut again if necessary, and he was again remarkably patient with a number of questions from some House members who well let's say, must have majored in histrionics as opposed to economics.

Last night, IBM hit its quarterly earnings, but was very cautious about the rest of the year. Nokia reported this morning at the high end of expectation, said that they don't have much of a clue what the rest of the year holds, but they think that 2002 will bring growth of 20 to 25% because of the rollout of more advanced 3G phone systems.

Lots of earnings reports on the way today, including Microsoft and Sun, Microsystems. Adjusted for fair value, the futures are weak again, although the Nasdaq looks to be in much better shape than the Dow or the S&P so far.

July 18, 2001

The beautiful thing about summer are those laid-back days when not much seems to happen and you can just take it easy. Today is not one of those days. Hundreds of companies report earnings today, including IBM, which reports after the market closes. The Consumer Price Index and Housing Start numbers for June will be released in 15 minutes and Alan Greenspan will testify before the House of Representatives at 10 o'clock this morning. Outside of that, not much going on.

Ford Motor reported a loss for the quarter of 30 cents per share exclusive of charges, 41 cents including charges. What charges, you say? A 2.1 billion dollars for tire replacement and potential liability costs from the Firestone problem. Those results are about 4 cents a share better than expected.

Johnson Controls beat estimates by a penny, Delphi hit its number on the nose.

Last night, Intel and Apple computer both beat earnings estimates. Intel said , that they see improvement in the next six months, mainly due to the full rollout of the Pentium 4 chip and hopes that Microsoft's Windows XP will prompt a lot of new computer sales. But profit margins are likely to continue shrinking.

Futures are weak again, but there may be a lot of changes in direction as today unfolds. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures down 11, Dow futures off 58 and Nasdaq futures 23 points below fair value.

July 17, 2001

Earnings all over the place this morning. Unisys met estimates but warned about the rest of the year. Fannie Mae and Kodak met estimates, Pfizer and Knight Ridder beat estimates by a penny. Merrill Lynch beat lowered expectations by 2 cents. International Paper beat estimates by 7 cents. The only big misses of the morning were Wells Fargo, with a loss of 5 cents and Phillips Electronics over in the Netherlands, posting a big loss.

Locally, of course, the big earnings story of the day is General Motors. GM stock has been on a run, up over 30% since the end of March. GM reported profits of $1.26. That's down from $2.93 last year. However, it beats consensus estimates of $1.14 profit per share.

In about an hour, Indu, strial Production and Capacity Utilization figures will be out. The recession in manufacturing is no big secret to people around here, and that Capacity Utilization number could be the worst we've seen since 1983.

Futures are weak again, but they're not all that bad. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 1 1/2, Dow futures down 6, Nasdaq futures are about 6 points below fair value.

July 16, 2001

This week, it's all about expectations. Companies have set expectations so low (through all the earnings warnings) that most of this week's news should be good news. Earnings will start rolling in like the tide starting today. Sixteen of the Dow 30 Industrials report this week, and don't expect a lot of companies to disappoint.

So far this morning, Citigroup, Eaton, Bank of America and Continental Airlines all beat estimates. Continental was the big surprise, beating estimates by 16 cents. That's the good news. The bad news is that they made 74 cents on the quarter, down from $2.46 last year.

In fifteen minutes, we get the May report on business inventories. Expect that inventories declined by one-tenth of one percent. A bigger decline would be good news for stocks.

Futures are sligh,, tly under water this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are flat, Dow futures down 4, Nasdaq futures are about 13 points below fair value.

July 13, 2001

It's Friday the 13th. Do you feel lucky? Last Friday the 13th, back in October, we saw triple digit gains in the Dow and the Nasdaq. Yesterday we saw triple digit gains in the Dow and the Nasdaq. Today? We'll have to wait and see.

The market rally yesterday was pretty impressive. Almost two stocks rose on the New York Exchange for every one that fell. The Dow rose over 3%, the Nasdaq over 5 ¼ %, and most of it was on the back of the Microsoft news we talked about yesterday. General Electric met estimates yesterday, and that helped. But, this was a pretty strong rally on pretty unimpressive news. Imagine what might happen if two or three big companies actually said they thought things were improving.

Kimberly Clark with their second warning in two months this morning and I, nternatio, nal Paper cutting more jobs - both blaming the strong dollar. AMD, Rambus and Juniper Networks all meeting or barely beating severely lowered expectations overnight. Asia was down overnight, Europe is mixed and all US stock index futures are within a couple points of fair value. No clear indication for the market open, but we get the June Producer Price Index in 15 minutes. A negative number there would help.

July 12, 2001

It's going to be party time at 9:30 this morning, and it's been awhile since we've had reason to party. Last night Microsoft said they expect to make their earnings number a week from today, and that revenues will beat estimates by a hundred million dollars or so. Granted, a hundred million on top of 6 ½ billion is not earth shattering, and just MEETING estimates isn't any great shakes. BUT - given the seemingly endless stream of earnings warnings we've had during the past month - this is a big time breath of fresh air and the market's going up at the open.

Actual , earnings reports are starting to flow, and you have to assume that most companies that are have bad news have already warned. Motorola beat estimates, although they missed their revenue number. Enron beat estimates, as did Harley Davidson, Dow Jones, First Union and Yahoo!

Adjusted for fair value, the futures are on a roll. S&P futures are up 12, Dow futures are up 83 and the Nasdaq futures are 69 points above fair value.

July 11, 2001

The early rally in the market faded quickly yesterday, and stocks took a pretty good drubbing. Corning did not hold its early gains and lost almost a buck on the day. The Nasdaq fell over 3% as earnings warnings continued to pile up.

So what up for today? Warning that revenue this quarter will be light by about half a billion dollars, Compaq is shedding another 4000 employees, Emerson sees third quarter earnings off 11%, Comverse Technology warning for this quarter, next quarter and the next quarter, and Doubleclick saying that things may not pick up in the internet advertising business until the middle of next year. Allstate, Newell Rubbermaid, Safeco and Chubb all also warning.

Is there any good news out there?, Oh sure. Pepsi Bottling Group beat estimates by 2 cents. That's about it. Earnings reports coming from Yahoo and Motorola later today.

Europe down about 1% across the board. Adjusted for fair value, the future are a little weak - S&P futures are down 4, Dow futures down 33 and the Nasdaq futures are 2 1/2 points below fair value.

July 10, 2001

It could be that the company known as "Corning" may officially change their name to "Warning". They are cutting another 1,000 jobs, closing three plants, eliminating their dividend for the first time since 1945 and warning about earnings for the rest of the year. Corning said after the bell last night that things may not get any better for the next 12 to 18 months. That's about the eight zillionth warning from Corning this year. So how's Corning trading is the pre-market trading? It's up 15 cents.

So keep an eye on Corning today. If stocks in a sector that has been beaten up already do not go down further on bad news, we may be seeing a floor for that sector's prices.

One big merger today, it's in the energy sector; Amerada Hess is buying Triton Energy for 2.7 billion, dollars.

Asia and Europe were pretty flat overnight. The futures here have been moving up for the past couple of hours. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 3, Dow futures up 10 and the Nasdaq futures are 21 points above fair value.

July 9, 2000

At last. We finally get to focus on something other than earnings warnings. Comcast has made a hostile offer to buy AT&T Broadband for stock and debt totaling about 58 billion dollars. This story will be a long one. First of all, AT&T shareholders have to agree to it. Then, the regulators will get involved. This deal would make Comcast the number 1 cable company in the country, so you know the FTC and FCC guys will want to get involved. AT&T stock is trading even in the pre-market at 22, but today is the day AT&T is spinning off AT&T Wireless to its shareholders. If you adjust for the spin-off, AT&T should trade at about 16 bucks. So, 22 is a significant premium to that.

Don't forget how to get to the grocery store. It looks like Internet grocer Webvan is heading toward the final checkout lane. They fired 15% of their remaining employees Friday.

Asia and Europe all off overnight, but the US , futures are positive after looking pretty weak all morning.

Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are flat, Dow futures are up 15, but the Nasdaq futures up 11 1/2 points.

July 6, 200, 1

Beware of the TLA's. The three letter acronyms. Last night, earnings warnings from a bunch of three-letter-acronym stocks; AMD, BMC and EMC are going to knock stocks for a loop this morning. What's surprising is not necessarily that these companies are going to miss analyst estimates. The surprising part is the MAGNITUDE of the misses. AMD estimates profits at 3 to 5 cents. Analysts expected 27 cents. EMC expecting a nickel per share; estimates averaged 17 cents. BMC only expecting half the profit per share that was estimated.

It's becoming pretty clear that the SEC's regulation FD, which was int, ended to stop leaks of inside information is serving to leave everybody almost totally in the dark until warnings are issued like they were last night. So, nobody's getting the advance scoop, but this kind of lack of information is sure making stock investing a more volatile business.

In fifteen minutes the June Unemployment Report is released. The unemployment rate is expected to reach 4.6%, that would be the highest rate since May of 1998.<, br>
U.S. futures way off this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 9, Dow futures are down 44, Nasdaq futures off by 29 points.

July 5, 2001

A big earnings warning from British telecom company Marconi this morning. They'll miss their earnings number by half. A glass half empty, half full story from Compuware. Their quarterly earnings will beat estimates, but revenues will fall short of expectations.

On Tuesday, European regulators officially blocked the General Electric / Honeywell merger. As we discussed a couple weeks ago, this is not good news for stock prices, but the real dan, ger lies in any trade barriers that our friends in Congress may cook up in response. This morning there are reports that some Senators want to hold hearings on the matter. Keep an eye on that one.

And, if you own one of Apple's Power Mac G4 Cube computers, you may have a collector's item. Apple has suspended the high-end PC due to chronically anemic sales.

U.S. futures are weak this morning, but not as weak as they were in the 5 o'clock hour. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 6, Dow futures are down 38, Nasdaq futures off by 15 points.

July 3, 2001

We started with a mixed market yesterday, and it pretty much stayed that way all day. The Dow finished up, the Nasdaq down.

After the close last night, over two dozen earnings warnings, as companies that were counting on closing a lot of business before the end of last month fessed up - it just didn't happen. A lot of software companies rely on those end of quarter contracts. And software makers led the parade of warnings. Internet Security Systems, Rational Soft, ware, E.phiphany all warned last night. Dupont also said that they'll miss their number by a bunch.

The Purchasing Managers Index was weak yesterday, but was better than expected. Nothing major on tap today - factory orders for May come out at 10 o'clock and the OPEC meeting starts in about 45 minutes. No change in oil output is expected.

Get out the barbecue, the stock market closes at 1 o'clock today. The futures are a little weak at this point. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 1, Dow futures are down about 21 and Nasdaq futures are down about 14 points.

July 2, 2001

Nasdaq trading was just a mess on Friday, as the electronic exchange nearly shut down in mid-afternoon. It was the end of the quarter, it was Russell Index rebalancing day, it was about the worst time possible for a glitch. Reportedly the problem was caused by a technician running a diagnostic test. In any event, they promise that they won't miss a beat this morning. Maybe they installed a defibulator over the weekend.

It was actually a pretty good quarter for stocks. The Dow finished up 6.3%., That's the Dow's best quarter since 1999. The S&P rose 5 ½% and the Nasdaq went up over 17%. The Nasdaq 100 was up over 20%. Most of those gains, of course, came in April.

One minor warning, from Parker Hannifin, over the weekend. But we may have the big bad news behind us as ACTUAL quarterly earnings reports start rolling in later this week.

The futures pretty flat this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P are even, Dow futures are down about 6 and Nasdaq futures are up about 8 points.

June 29, 2001

We had a nice day from the get-go yesterday as stocks moved up across the board on pretty good volume. The Appeals Court ruling overturning the break-up remedy in the Microsoft case really didn't impact stocks a great deal, but it sure didn't hurt.

Today will be an interesting day for people who invest in stocks of smaller companies. The Russell indexes will be readjusted today. The Russell 1000 will add 15 to 20 , companies to its roster, the Russell 2000 may add over 500 companies. Mutual funds that invest according to those indexes will be doing a lot of buying and selling to rebalance their funds. That should add a good bit of volume and some interesting price changes in small, and midcapitalization stocks.

Three warnings this morning, but nothing dramatic. Agere Systems, Dow Chemical and PMC Sierra all warning. PMC, however, is actually trading up this morning in pre-market trading.

The futures are ever so slightly positive this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P and Dow futures are virtually flat. Nasdaq futures are up about 4 points.

June 28, 2001

The market was looking for one of two things from the Fed yesterday. Either a ½ percent interest rate cut, or, if only a quarter point cut, some word from the Fed that economic conditions are improving. Well, the market got nothing. Everything in the Fed's statement indicated that things aren't getting any better in the economy - the statement was virtually identical to the statement from the last meeting, yet we only got a quarter percent cut.

So apparently, Mr. Greenspan still is still trying to kill the beast, the beast's not dead, but maybe the hunter,, , , is getting low on bullets and hopes that the beast will just kinda get scared and go away.

We're into the last two trading days of the quarter, so a lot of money managers will be "dressin, g up" their portfolios for display in their quarterly reports. ConAgra beat estimates by 3 cents. Fedearl Express beat estimates by 12 cents this morning. Nike beat estimates by a penny, but warned about the next couple of quarters.

Not much of a fair value adjustment this morning. In the futures, what you see is what you get, and the gettings has been good since about 6:30 this morning. S&P futures up 8, Dow futures up 62 and the Nasdaq futures are up about 33 points.

June 27, 2001

The fireworks start in the stock market at 2:15 this afternoon. That's when Mr. Greenspan and Company will announce whether interest rates go down ¼ percent or ½ percent. In the big picture, >
Interest rates have been cut six times in succession fo, ur times in the past thirty years. According to calculations from Birinyi Associates, stocks in almost all major indexes and in a majority of industries traded LOWER three months after the 6th rate cut. HOWEVER, a year after the sixth cut, stocks of vi, rtually every industry group went higher, the S&P 500 averaged a 19% gain, the Dow Jones 18.5% and the Nasdaq over 24%.

Is it different this time? Well, it's different EVERY time. But, there's no question that lowering interest rates will at some point in the future help this economy and probably kick-start the stock market.

The futures are pretty uninteresting this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P, Dow and the Nasdaq futures are all within a few points of fair value.

June 26, 2001

Paul, can I get MacMurray's job for a while? I feel like a Detroit weatherman in January - there's just not a lot of good news to report, and the cold weather just keeps on coming.

A warning this morning from Merrill Lynch. They're going to miss their number by , a bunch. Merrill down about 9% in the pre-market. Last night, Applied Micro warned - and that's pulling down most of the chip stocks this morning. Other warnings from Robert Half and Cheap Tickets overnight. International Paper is cutting 3,000 jobs..... oh, let's talk about something else.

The May Durable Goods number comes out in 15 minutes, the M, ay Consumer Confidence Index will be out at 10 o'clock as well as New Home Sales. The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting today and tomorrow - they'll be watching those numbers. Consensus is that the Fed will cut ¼ of a percent. Although they certainly don't want to overdo it, I think there's a significant chance that we'll get another half-point cut, do to the weakness in manufacturing and all the job cuts.

The futures are telling us that if you have to watch TV today, the Disney Channel may a lot more fun than CNBC. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 15, Dow futures are down 79 and the Nasdaq futures are 43 points below fair value. In other words, overcast with a 100% chance of thunderstorms.

June 25, 2001

, It won't shake the markets today, but IBM says that using silicon germanium technology, it has developed a transistor that will be able to drive microchip to a speed of over 200 gigahertz. That's a lot faster than anything out there now. More communications stuff will getting smaller and faster in the years to come.

Twice every year Alan Greenspan's wacky bunch gets together , for a two-day meeting. The last two-day party of the year starts tomorrow. Hopefully, interest rate cut excitement can overshadow whatever earnings warnings are on the way this week. We haven't had anybody fall out of bed this morning, but make no mistake - there will be more warnings before the quarter ends on Friday.

Washington Mutual buying Dime Bancorp this morning. That should give a lift to regional bank stocks.

Asia was weak overnight, but Europe is generally positive. Futures in pretty good shape so far. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 5, Dow futures are up 31 and the Nasdaq futures are 24 points above fair value.<, br>

June 22, 2001

The Nasdaq has a three day winning steak going, but we'll need a little help to make it four. Last night - what else - earnings missed and earnings warnings. The big one was Micron Technology. Analysts were expecting a loss of 15 cents per share from that memory chip maker. Micron reported a 53 cent loss. Big miss. But, about half of that number was an inventory writedown. While inventory writedowns are not a good thing, a wr, itedown is an accounting convention. Those memory chips are still hanging around and will probably not be thrown in the trash. Bottom line, the number looks horrible, but the stock may not sell off as much as you might think. In fact, Micron is unchanged in premarket trading this morning.

Not so for software maker Symantec. They warned yesterday and the stock is off about 25%. There's a rumor going around that IBM might warn about earnings soon - so far no official word on that. Merck lowered their estimates for the year this morning by a couple cents.

Futures area weak this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are off 4, Dow futures down 47 and the Nasdaq futures are 5 points below fair value.

June 21, 2001

We had a pretty entertaining tug of war in the stock market yesterday. We switched back and forth from big losses, to big gains and back and forth again as the market couldn't decide whether to pay more attention to earnings warnings or Alan Greeenspan.

Disappointing earnings from software maker Verity last night as well as earnings warnings from Exodus Communications, and Sanmina. LSI Logic is cutting its workforce by another 3%. It's hard to find any good news is technology right now.

Even a hot non-technology stock, H&R Block warned that the rest of the year might not be so rosy. Block stock has been on a roll this year, thanks to that mess of a tax bill Congress passed last month.

Last week's jobless numbers come out in ten minutes. The European Central Bank left interest rates unchanged this morning. Of course the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meets next week to decide on the >
No apparent direction for stocks this morning, U.S. futures all within a few points of fair value.

June 20, 2001

Warning, warning, warning, Will Robinson. Danger, danger, danger. Overnight, a bunch more warnings, especially with technology stocks. Tellabs, a telecom equipment maker admitted that life in the telecom business has changed. They now hope to break even, versus a 39 cent per share profit last year, and analyst estimates of 29 cents. Tellabs is down 18% this morning.

Other bad news overnight included a warning from Asyst Technologies, a warni, ng from German chip maker Infineon, a production cutback from Japan's biggest chipmaker Toshiba. All the chip makers are likely to have a lousy start to the day. On top of all that, it looks like the GE/Honeywell merger is dead - killed off by , European regulators. Let's just hope that we won't see some knee-jerk regulatory reaction out of Washington in response.

Alan Greenspan is giving a speech at 10 o'clock this morning, and maybe that will take the market's mind off these warnings, but then again, maybe not. U.S. futures are weak this morning, as you would expect. Adjusted S&P futures are down 3, Dow futures are down 20 and Nasdaq futures are 23 points below fair value.

June 19, 2001

After another bad tech day yesterday -- the Nasdaq fell below the 2000 level -- we really needed some good news from software maker Oracle - and we got it. Not that the news about the quarter gone by was ALL that good. Yes, earnings were a penny better than expected, but rev, enue was down almost 3% from last year. The good news was that their CFO says he "feels" that business has bottomed, is on the way back, and may be back to normal by the end of the year. Now that's not "great visability", but it's the closest thing to a positive statement we've heard out of anyone lately, and this morning's market will be strong as a result.

Plenty of earnings reports on the way today. Ja, bil Circuit, Best Buy, Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers all report, and you have to believe that if they had incredibily bad news, it would be on the table already.

Looking at the futures this morning, there's a big spread between the futures and cash, and even though the futures look strong, they're even stronger adjusted for fair value. Adjusted S&P futures are up 11, Dow futures are up 63 and Nasdaq futures are 54 points above fair value.

June 18, 2001

Paul, it's a new week, and we're going to approach it with a whole new attitude. Last week, and last Friday in particular - not a lot of fun. The Dow lost over 3% last week, the Nasdaq Composite lost over 8% and the Nasdaq 100 over 10%. But, that was then and this - well it's Monday.

We're just about week away from another inte, rest rate cut, and in the meantime, we'll just have to hope that the earnings news gets better and the earnings warnings slow down a bit. There have been 743 pre-annoucements this quarter, and 65% have been negative.

Today we get earnings from a couple big tech companies. Solectron, the electronics manuf, acturing company is expected to report earnings of 13 cents per share. After the market closes this afternoon, Oracle, the big software maker is expected to announce that it earned 14 cents for the quarter.

No big economic news is due today - or for that matter - this week, so earnings reports and interest rate cut speculation will be the center of attention.

Adjusted for fair value, the futures are mildly positive. S&P futures are up 2, Dow futures are up 13 and Nasdaq futures are 8 points above fair value.

June 15, 2001

Look out below. There's not much good news out there this morning. Warning after warning about current quarter earnings have been rolling in. Last night, JDS Uniphase warned about a 7 cent loss versus an expected 5 cent profit. This morning, Nortel warned about a current loss of 48 cents a share. They were only expected to lose 6 cents. Adobe warned about the res, t of the year, International Rectifier warned - and there's a rumor this morning that Microsoft might warn.

If that weren't enough, the European Competition Committee and General Electric may be at an impasse on the GE/Honeywell merger. That has ramifications well beyond the deal - in that it's a case of Europe denying the will of two U.S. companies to merge.

It's going to be a wild day for stocks. On top of all the warnings and the international political problems, we get the Consumer Price Index in 15 minutes, Indust, rial Production numbers in an hour, the U of M Consumer Sentiment Index at 10 o'clock - AND it's a triple witching Friday - so stocks should be in for a wild ride.

Adjusted for fair value, the futures are just plain ugly. S&P futures are off 9, Dow futures are down 55 and Nasdaq futures are 39 points below fair value.

June 14, 2001

Earnings warnings continue to cast a pall over the stock markets. Through yesterday, 64% of all pre-announcements have been negative this quarter. That's less than the 69% of last quarter. But there's still no indication that economic conditions are turning up just yet.

Heinz matched estimates for the quarter, but warned for the res, t of the year. Pepsi and Texas Instuments reiterated their earnings guidance. At 8:30, we get the May Producer Price Index and the Jobless Claims number for last week.

General Electric is having problems getting the Honeywell acquisition past European regulators. This isn't a huge deal for the overall market UNLESS the U.S. government gets involved on behalf of GE. That could spark fears , of a trade war - and trade wars don't do anybody much good.

Asia was mixed last night. European markets are down between 1 and 2% this morning. Adjusted for fair value, the futures are weak in advance of all those numbers 15 minutes from now. S&P futures are off 2, Dow futures are down 34 and Nasdaq futures are 21 points below fair value.

June 13, 2001

Yesterday was a very interesting day for stocks. The earnings warning from Nokia came exactly 24 hours ago really knocked stocks around in early trading. In the first hour yesterday, 26 of the 30 Dow Jones stocks were down. But the turnaround in the afternoon was so broad based, only one of the Dow stocks lost ground after 10:30 yesterday morning.

Today's big news, absent any more big surprise warnings, is the May retail sales report. That comes out in about 15 minutes. Expect a 3 tenths of a percent , increase, 1 tenth of a percent excluding auto sales. Although strong retail numbers historically pull stock prices down on the day of release, this time around a stronger than expected number will probably give stocks a boost. That's , because the market's big short term worry is not inflation, but recession.

Asia was flat last night. European markets are mainly up this morning. Adjusted for fair value, the futures are mixed. S&P futures are off a point, Dow futures are up 7 and Nasdaq futures are 2 points below fair value.

June 12, 2001

There aren't as many people signing up for that Direct-TV service as had been expected. That was the news from Hughes Electronics overnight. Hughes still expects its second quarter cash income to be near the top end of what was expected, but that subscriber slowdown news maybe a problem for GMH today. They're down about 6% in the pre-market. Affymetrix with a warning yesterday. They're down about 22% this morning.

The warnings just kept on coming yesterday. We're closing in on 500 negative earnings pre-announcements. That's far more than last year, and it's not nearly over. The question is - how much has the market "priced in" the bad news to come.

Unfortunately, there's not m, uch else to focus on today - there's a Bear Stearns technology conference going on - some computer executives will be speaking there. A Federal Reserve Governor will be speaking in New York later today. But overall, , any market moving news will be coming at us out of the blue.

Japan was down 3% last night. Europe is also weak. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 5, Nasdaq futures are down 41, but the Dow futures are down about 45 points.

June 11, 2001

Friday turned out to be, well just a weird day for stocks. Trading volume was very light, trading was actually stopped for most of the morning session on the New York stock exchange because of a software problem. Hopefully we're a bit more back to normal this morning.

There's nothing big on the calendar for today - but there's plenty coming in the week ahead. There are five big initial public offerings coming to market this week, the biggest of which is Philip Morris' partial spinoff of Kraft Foods. The market for initial public offers has been pretty anemic for the past year, and it will be interesting to see how the deals this week are received.

One major brokerage firm changed their reco, mmendation on Ford s, tock , this morning. Ford is up a buck or so in the pre-market. And, of course, we're heading into the middle of "earnings warnings" season - so things could change in a hurry for the stock of any company that puts itself in the spotlight.

No big movement overseas overnight. The U.S. futures are pointing to a slightly lower opening this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down a point, Nasdaq futures are down a point and the Dow futures are down about 31 points.

June 8, 2001

In the most anticipated meeting in the chip world since Frito met Lay, Intel met with analysts last night. They said that earnings are on track with expectations and that they see good times ahead for the personal computer industry. Assuming that they know what they're talking about - always a big assumption when people start predicting the future - this could be a bit of the "visability" we've been looking for since December.

However, one big warning this morning - Juniper Networks says quarterly revenue will miss expectations by some 50%. Earning will be way off expectations. They'll cut up to 9% of their s, taff. Juniper down about 15% in pre-market tr, ading.

If you like internet access without paying big monthly fees, your few remaining choices became one fewer yesterday. NetZero and Juno are merging, as they struggle to survive the America Online/Microsoft Network onslaught.

No big economic reports or earnings reports scheduled today. But at the open, it looks like the Juniper warning will kill the Intel rally this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 6, Dow futures are down 25, Nasdaq futures 7 points below fair value.

June 7, 2001

The big news overnight came from California - that land of clear logic and rational thought. A Los Angeles jury awarded a smoker more than 3 billion dollars from Philip Morris. They concluded that the smoker never knew that cigarettes were bad for him, nobody ever told him otherwise, now he has cancer and that entitles him to 3 billion dollars. Presumably he will take that money and build some electrical power plants to bail out everyone else in the state who never knew that you have to have power plants to generate electricity. Nonetheless, Philip Morris is down 3 dollars in pre-market trading.

A warning from Broadcom last nig, ht - their qua, rter is not shaping up as well as analysts expected. The big story of today is likely to be Intel. They will talk to analysts after the general market closes. It's their first regularly scheduled mid quarter update. Many are expecting that their news will be less than wonderful - of course that expectation may already be reflected in the stock's price.

Futures are slightly negative this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up ½ point, Dow futures are down 10, Nasdaq off about 6 points.

June 6, 2001

The earnings warnings we feared this week - well, they just haven't happened. That's starting to get people believing that yes, the worst may be behind us. Yesterday, even Lucent reaffirmed their earnings guidance - and heck, when Lucent doesn't warn about decreasing expectations - well that's news. Lucent also set to offer early retirement offers to as many as 15,000 U.S. managers.

One interesting twist yesterday was the President Bush's call for an investigation into alleged dumping by foreign s, teel companies. There are a bunch of big U.S. steel companies operating with bankruptcy protection right now, and any protectionist import measures may help , the steel industry short term. The other side of the coin, industries that use steel - like maybe the auto industry --- may see their costs rise. Steel stocks shot up yesterday.

Don't look now, but since the lows this spring, the Dow is up 19%, and the Nasdaq is up 36%.

Futures are pretty flat this morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down a point, Dow futures are down 13, and the Nasdaq futures are up about 9 points.

June 5, 2001

The now world-famous Tiger Woods effect worked again yesterday. So far this year, Tiger has won four times - the Dow and the Nasdaq have risen four times - and most of those times the advances were pretty good ones. That goes hand in hand with the Paul W. Smith effect - every time you've broken 90 the Dow has gone to 15,000.

No big golf tournaments to watch today, but the only people who make more money than Tiger Woods -the OPEC oil ministers - are getting together today to d, ecide whether to pump additional oil this month. That oil would make up for oil Iraq says it won't be sending to market because of their latest , tiff with the United Nations. Word is that OPEC will fill the gap temporarily, but will schedule an emergency meeting next month to formally reconsider the situation at that time.

First quarter productivity figures come out in fifteen minutes. Productivity has been slipping of late, and that's not a particularly good signal.

Futures are mixed but on the whole positive this morning, in advance of that productivity number. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 2 1/2, Dow futures are down about 7, but the Nasdaq futures are up 22 points.

June 4, 2001



This is a good time for everybody to look in the mirror. Decide whether your're a trader or an investor, and act accordingly. The economic backdrop is starting to look good for long term stock investing. The employment numbers that were released last Friday actually show a DECREASE in the unemployment rate, which was a surprise, and may portent that the econm, oic slowdown doesn't have long to to go.

Alan Greenspan spoke over the weekend, and empha>
On the other hand, stocks could be on a short term roller coaster as earnings warnings season continues. Oracle was expected to warn on Friday, and they didn't - but Intel has a conference call scheduled for Thursday. It's getting to the point where they not only schedule the quarterly earnings - now even the warnings are getting scheduled ahead of time. So look for a volatile week ahead.

So with so much near term danger - what do the futures show? We could actually get a rally at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up 5.5, Dow futures up 45, and Nasdaq futures up 22 points.

June 1, 2001

The parade of earnings warnings continued last night. Another computer chipmaker, Altera, said its second quarter revenue will be down 25%, rather than the 20% that analysts expected.

But forget about warnings, forget about the weather, forget about every other statistic you care about - at 8:30 this morning the Labor Department reports employme, nt information for the month of May, as well as the average hourly wage. These are almost always market moving numbers and a lot of speculation this morning that some surprises are in store. Th, e consensus outlook for jobs is a decline of 17,000, but there are some who say the economy may have lost somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 jobs in May. That kind of number would indicate that the economic slump may start to impact consumer spending. Although that would give the Fed the green light for more interest rate cuts, at some point, business activity has to accelerate to generate better profits.

The futures are weak. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 8, Dow futures are off about 41 points, Nasdaq futures 16 below fair value, but all that can change dramatically in 15 minutes.

January 31, 2003

Assuming that no one of any importance says anything of much importance about Iraq (and that's an important assumption) today's big news for the stock market today may come at 9:45. That's when the University of Michigan releases the final number on January Consumer Sentiment. It's expected to come in between 83 and 83.5. That would be a slight downward revision from the preliminary 83.7.

On the earnings front, Wendy's matched estimates. Disney, Manor Care and Aflac all beat estimates. In fact, only about 15% of companies reporting so far this quarter have missed their estimated earnings numbers. That's not bad, but until the war clouds clear, we're in for a bumpy ride.

The futures are indicating a wait-and-see attitude in front of that U of M number. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down a point, Dow futures are up 11, and the Nasdaq futures are less than a point above fair value.

January 30, 2003

One hundred billion dollars. One hundred BILLION dollars. To anybody, with the possible exception of Congress, that's a lot of money. Well, one hundred billion is how much AOL Time Warner wrote off in 2002 after they announced last night a 45 billion dollar writedown. Most analysts were expecting a write-off of 10 to 20 billion. So, AOL stock will likely take a bit of a pounding today. It's down about 10 percent in pre-market trading.

The big economic news of the day will be the announcement at 8:30 of the 4th quarter gross domestic product number. It's expected that the economy grew at a rate of one-half of one percent to one percent last quarter. Any big surprise will move stock prices at the open. Of course, if you really want to know market moving news, try to find out what Saddam Hussein's up to today.

Right now, in front of that GDP announcement, there's a whole lot of nothin' going on. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down a point, Dow futures are up a point, and the Nasdaq futures are dead even with fair value.

January 29, 2003

The Dow Jones tacked on 99 points yesterday. That 99-point gain will likely be nothing but a fond memory by about 9:40 this morning. The State of the Union speech didn't leave much to the imagination regarding the prospects for war with Iraq, and we all know what those prospects have been doing to the market lately.

But, there may be some help on the way. The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee wraps up its two-day meeting when they announce at 2:15 that short-term interest rates aren't going to change. The only point of interest is whether or not they'll change their outlook for the future. Many think that they will go from a balanced outlook to one that leans toward another rate cut in the future.

Kraft missed estimates, Manpower beat estimates, but both warned that the current quarter is not shaping up so well. Verizon reported in line with estimates. Later on AOL/Time Warner and Altria (that's the new name for Philip Morris) report.

The futures are well off their lows, but they're still not a happy sight. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 10, Dow futures are down 101, and the Nasdaq futures are 11 points below fair value.

January 28, 2003

Stocks prices were once again pinned between Iraq and a hard place yesterday, as anticipation of war sent prices down again.

There are plenty of other things to focus on today. We have the State of the Union speech tonight, a two-day Fed meeting starting today and another batch of earnings reports. The earnings announced so far this morning have been pretty good. Pepsi Bottling, Pulte Homes, Wyeth, Biogen, Dupont, Procter & Gamble, Level 3 Communications all beat estimates. SBC and Merck met expectations,

The preliminary December Durable Goods number rolls at 8:30, and at 10 o'clock, we'll get New Home Sales and Consumer Confidence numbers. In short, we're going to get information overload today, and at this point, the markets don't seem to know quite what to make of it all.

Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are flat, Dow futures are up 18, and the Nasdaq futures are one point above fair value.

January 27, 2003

The folks at Lear continue to advance relentlessly. Lear beat estimates by 7 cents per share for the quarter gone by, earning a dollar seventy six per share. They also raised their guidance for the year to come. Lear is projecting a profit of between $5.20 and $5.40 per share. Expectations were for $4.96 per share.

Earnings are due a bit later from American Express and Freddie Mac.

The Blix report on the Iraqi weapons inspections will be released in a bit more than two hours, and stock markets around the world are running for cover in advance. European markets are down, on average, between 3 and 4 percent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average could start the day below the 8,000 level for the first time since October. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are almost 11, Dow futures are off 112, and the Nasdaq futures are about 12 points below fair value.

January 24, 2003

Stocks that pay dividends have been popular since the President's tax package was proposed. Of course, if you buy a stock in a company that pays a dividend, it's really good if that company keeps paying a dividend. CMS Energy, which yesterday had a dividend yield of over 8 percent, has a dividend yield of zero this morning. They've suspended the dividend and are warning that 2002 and 2003 results will fall way short of analyst estimates.

Overnight and this morning the earnings continued to roll. Starbucks, Amazon.com and Qwest Diagnostics beat estimates. Amgen met estimates, and Corning missed by a penny, as did Raytheon, after you adjust for special items. Raytheon is expecting higher than expected profits in 2003. Of course, in the defense business, war is a good thing, so it could be an interesting year for Raytheon.

The futures look okay on their >

January 23, 2003

It used to be that a bad earnings report from AT&T could single-handedly send the stock market swooning. Oh, how times have changed. AT&T missed their earnings target by a nickel per share this morning and the stock futures --- didn't move. What HAS been moving the futures overnight has them moving up. Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, PeopleSoft, Nokia, Network Associates all with solid results for the quarter gone by. Of course, forecasts for 2003 are murky, at best, but on the whole, it looks like we'll finally get off to a good start at 9:30.

It looks like the accounting firms may dodge a major regulatory bullet. The SEC is reportedly backing off on some tougher rules for the auditors, like the separation of audit and tax consulting work.

Today will pretty much wrap up big earnings reports for the week. One economic report to watch; at 10 o'clock the December Leading Indicators are expected to be absolutely flat. Any big plus or minus number will move the market in the same direction.

Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up almost 5, Dow futures are up 48 and the Nasdaq futures are about 13 points above fair value.

January 22, 2003

The nice rally we had right after the first of the year could officially go up in smoke by the end of the trading day today. Yesterday started weakly and just got worse as the day wore on, as all 30 companies in the Dow Jones Industrials lost ground.

Earnings reports, on the whole, have been pretty good, but with a war presumably weeks away, nobody is giving investors forecasts with any degree of confidence. No forecast, no confidence, no buyers. And that may well be the case the rest of the month no matter how much a company earned last year.

This morning, in case your keeping score, Motorola beat estimates by 3 cents but warned about a slow first quarter, Eastman Kodak missed by 3 cents and warned about a slow first quarter. Pfizer beat estimates by a penny and Schlumberger missed by 6 cents per share. Tyco reported earnings in line with estimates.

Not much doubt about where we're going at the open. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down almost 5, Dow futures are off 41 and the Nasdaq futures are about 9 points below fair value.

January 20, 2003

We expected Ford Motor to make a little money in the fourth quarter, and they made a little more than we expected. Profits were eight cents per share versus 7 cents. Eaton Corporation also reporting in this morning. They made 98 cents for the quarter. That beat estimates and compares with 65 cents for the same quarter last year. Citigroup also beat estimates this morning by a penny, as did 3M. 3M also raising their estimated earnings for 2003. Later today, earnings are due from Harley Davidson and Motorola, among others.

In fact, this week we'll get reports from 8 of the Dow Jones 30 industrials, 128 of the S&P 500 and 30 of the Nasdaq 100. We'll see if those earnings can get any attention away from Iraq, North Korea and Venezuela.

European markets turned lower during the past couple of hours. Our futures were positive earlier, but have been sliding and right now futures on the S&P, the Dow and the Nasdaq are all within a short stone's throw of fair value.

January 17, 2003

Here's the short story on earnings reports. General Electric met estimates. Delphi beat estimates by a penny, IBM beat estimates by four cents, Microsoft beat estimates on a 10 percent revenue increase AND announced a 2 for 1 stock split AND announced that they'll start paying a 16 cent per share dividend on a pre-split basis. The market should love all of this right?

Phooey.

Until the pending war in Iraq is out of the way, no one can reliably say that business is going to get a lot better real soon. THAT's what traders are looking for. Until we get it, it looks like we'll be dancing one step forward and one step back.

The preliminary January Sentiment survey from the University of Michigan will tell us how consumer confidence is holding up. That number comes out at 9:45.

Until then, the market will likely sell off. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down almost 7 points, Dow futures are down 47 and Nasdaq futures are about 19 points below fair value.

January 16, 2003

So far, we've heard about earnings from a little more than 10% of the big guys. And so far, the ratio of positive versus negative earnings surprises this quarter is very similar to the first quarter of last year. Only about 15% of companies are reporting disappointments. But what the market is focusing on, as always, is what companies are forecasting for the year to come. And, quite frankly, nobody seems all that confident.

This morning everybody's putting their two cents in. Comerica's earnings for the quarter were $1.18 per share. That beat estimates by two cents. Johnson Controls also beat estimates by two cents. Not to be outdone, United Technologies also came in two cents ahead. General Motors with about four different earnings numbers this morning. It looks like they beat estimates by 14 to 18 cents, depending on which number you use.

Later today, lots of news. The Consumer Price Index is released at 8:30 this morning. Earnings on the way from Microsoft, IBM, Sun Micro and a host of others.

The futures are off their best levels of the morning, but right now, it looks like a slightly higher open for stocks. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 3 points, Dow futures are up 17, and Nasdaq futures are dead even with fair value.

January 15, 2003

Intel reported their fourth quarter numbers last night, and it was another good news/bad news story. Intel's margins were above expectations at 51.7%, and their earnings beat estimates by 2 cents per share. So what's not to like? Well if you were planning to sell some stuff to Intel this year, understand that they are cutting their capital spending budget for 2003 by 20 percent. Intel is trading in the pre-market up just about 11 cents per share.

The December Producer Price Index is expected to have risen by 3 tenths of a percent. We'll find out for sure in ten minutes.

Earnings are due later from Apple Computer and Yahoo. Bank of America beat estimates by 6 cents. National City Bank and Fifth Third Bank met estimates. ADP met estimates, but cut their guidance for 2003. Dupont, just about 10 minutes ago, with a slight cut in their earnings guidance.

The futures are lower, but they've improved over the past half hour. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about a point, Dow futures are down 33, and Nasdaq futures are less than a point below fair value.

January 14, 2003

After all the speculation, the actual report on December Retail Sales rolls in about ten minutes. The consensus view is an increase of about 1 ½ percent, but a big piece of that may be due to a surge in auto sales. Outside of cars, retail sales are expected to be up only about one half of one percent.

One big earnings report on the way today and technology stocks are being bid up in advance of it. Intel reports their fourth quarter numbers and holds a conference call later today.

Some disappointing news from BP -- that's British Petroleum. They are warning that margins on their refining operations were not up to snuff last quarter. BP shares are down a couple percent in Europe.

Speaking of Europe, their markets are up once again. Our futures have been drifting downward all morning, but at this point they still point to a slightly higher market at 9:30. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 2 ½ points, Dow futures are up about 28, and Nasdaq futures are almost 6 points above fair value.

January 13, 2003

There's a storm of economic data and earnings reports on the way starting tomorrow. So, I guess that makes today the calm before the storm.

The storm at AOL/Time Warner has thrown the captain overboard. Steve Case announced last night that he will remain on the Board of Directors, but he's walking away from his role as Executive Chairman in May. AOL shares are up about 4 percent in the premarket. The stock is, of course, about 80 percent off its high.

There's more oil coming to market. OPEC announced an increase of 1 ½ million barrels of output per day, but the move was so widely anticipated, oil prices are down only very slightly this morning.

Embattled Tenet Healthcare releases earnings later today.

The Japanese market was closed overnight. Most European markets are up nicely, and it looks like we'll get off to a good start at 9:30. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up more than 7 points, Dow futures are up about 71, and Nasdaq futures are almost 14 points above fair value.

January 10, 2003

All those tax proposals, most of which will probably never come to pass really stirred the market this week. But the big economic number of the week comes out in about ten minutes. The December jobs report really has the potential to move stock prices this morning. You may remember that the November jobs report was surprisingly weak, as the unemployment rate shot up to 6 percent. While most economists expect it to stay right there in December, there's always the chance that November was an aberration due to seasonal hiring factors. Should the rate drop back below the 6 percent mark, we could get some good action at 9:30.

If you're a drug company, you can make big profits off a blockbuster drug, but watch out when it comes off patent. Schering-Plough it off about 10% in Europe this morning. Evidently sales of antihistamine Claratin hit a wall when an over-the-counter version became available in December.

The futures have been improving most if the morning and are slightly above fair value, although the jobs report at 8:30 should really set the tone for the morning. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up more than 2 points, Dow futures are up about 12, and Nasdaq futures are up about 8 points above fair value.

January 9, 2003

It looked like the coast was clear as we got through earnings warning season without a lot of bombshells. But earnings season kicked off with a big sucker punch yesterday. We knew that things we bad in the aluminum business, but Alcoa missed estimates by a mile. They are cutting 8,000 jobs and the market cut about 10% off the price of Alcoa shares yesterday. That, on top of bad news from Gateway about fourth quarter sales sent stock prices lower throughout the day yesterday.

There are a smattering of earnings reports due today, but things really get rolling next week. This morning, Accenture, the old Andersen Consulting, met estimates. But they say that 2003 looks flat to up only slightly.

JC Penney says they will meet estimates for the fourth quarter.

The futures took a little bump for the good about a half hour ago, and it looks like we might gain a little ground at 9:30. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up more than 5 points, Dow futures are up about 33, and Nasdaq futures are up about 12 points above fair value.

January 8, 2003

Earnings warning season wrapped up yesterday with a little rash of bad news from Gateway, Men's Warehouse and Mandalay Bay. We also have word from medical device maker Guidant that 2003 should be flat with 2002 due to increased competition in the stent market from Johnson and Johnson.

Johnson Controls with no warning this morning. In fact they say that is looks like 5 to 10 percent sales growth this year and earnings in line with forecasts.

All things considered, we came through the pre-announcement season with relatively few bombshells. The actual earnings parade kicks off, like it always does, with the report today from Alcoa. Expected earnings for the quarter gone by at about a quarter per share. Sun Trust Bank beat estimates earlier this morning by 2 cents per share, and Forest Labs, which has been a very strong stock during the past three years will split its shares 2 for 1 after the close tonight.

The futures are lower, but they're not as bad as they look at first glance. After you adjust for fair value, the S&P futures are down less than 2 points, Dow futures are down about 24, and Nasdaq futures are down about 4 ½ points.

January 7, 2003

You can forget about earnings, and consumer confidence and business capital spending. This will apparently be the week the market responds to political speeches. Whether it's the Democrat's "stimulus" package announced yesterday, or the Republican's "growth" package, which will be officially discussed today, although mostly of its details have been leaked already, stock prices have been stimulated to the best three day start any trading year has ever had.

Now before you start counting all the taxes you'll save under either plan, keep in mind that these proposals rarely make it through the legislative process in any form even remotely similar to the original version. Even with the Republican majority in the Senate, it's hard to believe that a total exemption of dividends from tax is a realistic possibility. Nevertheless, stocks of companies that have been dividend yield generally did very well yesterday.

We had a little rally in the futures last hour, but that's faded away and we're still looking at a weaker open at 9:30. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P are down about 5 ½ , Dow futures are down 33, and Nasdaq futures are down about 3 points.

January 6, 2003

The kids go back to school today. That's not just your kids or mine. After two severely interrupted weeks, the thundering herd returns to Wall Street today. Whether that herd is mostly bulls or mostly bears is the big question.

The big news this week will be the jobs report on Friday, and, of course, President Bush's speech tomorrow at the Chicago Economic Club.

The big driver of the market's rise last week was the ISM Manufacturing Index on Thursday that reported a much bigger than expected surge in manufacturing orders. The ISM Service industry index will be released at 10 o'clock this morning. It's expected to come in at a level of 55.8, which is down from November.

Some European markets closed today for the Epiphany Holiday. Most European markets that are open are down on the order of 1 to 1 ½ percent. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P and Nasdaq futures are both down a point or two. At this point it looks like very slightly lower start at 9:30.

January 3, 2003

Well Happy New Year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had its best first-day-of-the-year point rise ever yesterday. The Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were all up between 3 and 4 percent. Volume was still pretty light, but all those green arrows were a welcome sight. Blame it mostly on that ISM Index we talked about yesterday. At a reading of 54.7, versus an expected 50, it was the first time in four months that the index reflected an expansion in manufacturing activity.

Now that the Holiday season is over, it's time to put the wraps on earnings-warning season. Last night Home Depot said that December same store sales at Home Depot may be off 10 percent from last year. Suffice it to say that Home Depot stock will be off more than a dollar from the close last night. Radio Shack also warning this morning that earnings for the fourth quarter may miss estimates. They say 59 cents per share is likely. Analysts were looking for 65 cents.

Not much direction out of the box this morning. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are flat, Dow futures are down 22, that's due mainly to Home Depot, and the Nasdaq futures are about 2 points below fair value.

January 2, 2003

Trading volume will continue to be light today, as a lot of traders won't be back at their desks until Monday. But, unlike Monday and Tuesday, it looks like we may get off of a decent start.

There's at least one potential bump in the road. At 10 o'clock, the December ISM Index will be released. That's a measure of manufacturing activity. It's expected to come in at a level of 50. That means that that was absolutely no growth or contraction in U.S. manufacturing activity in December. Any reading substantially above or below that "break even" level should move stock prices in the same direction.

But absent any big surprises, by four o'clock today stocks may be UP on a year-to-date basis. It's been a long time since we've been able to say that. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are up about 7 points, Dow futures are up 69 and the Nasdaq futures are 10 points above fair value.
WJR February 2003 reports
WJR December 2002 reports

Daily Reports @ WJR

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

Watch The Video

  • Starfire Investment Advisers on Analyzing The Risk Of Stocks After The 6.9% Drop

    Starfire Investment Advisers on Analyzing The Risk Of Stocks After The 6.9% Drop

Featured News

Financial Briefs

Contact Info

Starfire Investment Advisers, Inc.
3000 Town Center Suite 2235
Southfield, MI 48075-1191

Phone: 248-352-2211 x 223
Fax: 248-352-4535
Email: ronh@starfireinvest.com