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Daily Reports @ WJR

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WJR November 2001 reports

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,, 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.

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.
WJR December 2001 reports
WJR October 2001 reports

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