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WJR September 2002 reports

September 30, 2002

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

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

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

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

September 27, 2002

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

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

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

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

September 26, 2002

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

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

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

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

September 25, 2002

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

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

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

September 24, 2002

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

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

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

September 23, 2002

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

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

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

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

September 20, 2002

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

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

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

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

September 19, 2002

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

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

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

September 18, 2002

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

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

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

September 17, 2002

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

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

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

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

September 16, 2002

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

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

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

September 13, 2002

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

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

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

September 12, 2002

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

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

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

September 11, 2002

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

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

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

September 10, 2002

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

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

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

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

September 9, 2002

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

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

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

September 6, 2002

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

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

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

September 5, 2002

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

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

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

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

September 4, 2002

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

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

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

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

September 3, 2002

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

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

European markets are down round two to four percent. Our futures are pretty ugly and have been sliding all morning. Adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down about 17, Dow futures are down 152 and the Nasdaq futures are about 20 points below fair value.
WJR October 2002 reports
WJR August 2002 reports

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