More by the Same Author
2013-04-23 Ugly Week All Around Bombings, Explosions and Selloffs by John Buckingham of AFAM
It was a miserable week, what with the Boston bombings, lockdown and shootout, the horrific fertilizer plant explosion in Texas and the ricin-laden letters sent to elected officials providing vivid reminders that we still live in a dangerous world. True, the week ended about as well as it could as Friday night’s incredible drama in Watertown brought some closure in Boston and the come-from-behind victory for the Red Sox on Saturday was right out of Hollywooda three-run go-ahead home run after Neil Diamond leads Fenway Park in a rendition of Sweet Caroline!
2012-11-26 Buying Treasuries and Avoiding Stocks Not the Way to Go by John Buckingham of AFAM
While we know better than to make too much out of a low-volume rally, especially during a holiday-shortened trading week, it was interesting to hear what The Wall Street Journal had to say one week ago at this time. As the publication helped ready investors for the week ahead, one story advised folks to head toward the safety of U.S. Treasury securities: "Expect safe-haven Treasurys to draw demand at the expense of stocks in the coming weeks, bucking a seasonal trend that has often favored riskier assets."
2012-10-08 Pliable Statistics by John Buckingham of AFAM
As Mark Twain once said, Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable. More examples emerged last week in support of that center box quotation from this months edition of The Prudent Speculator. Indeed, Fridays monthly jobs report provided plenty of fodder for both the Obama & Romney election campaigns as the former was able to trumpet the eyebrow-raising dip in the unemployment rate to 7.8% (calculated from a survey of 60,000 individual households) while the latter could point to the less-than-stellar creation of only 114,000 jobs during September.
2012-07-24 Friday Decline Ruins a Solid Week in the U.S., AAII Flashing a Buy Signal by John Buckingham of AFAM
What was shaping up as a fine week ended with a really crummy Friday that included the horrific movie-theatre massacre in Colorado and, on an entirely different plane, yet another act (the Spanish region of Valencia asked for government help, while Madrid again lowered its economic projections) in the long-playing European sovereign debt crisis that caused yields on the 10-year Spanish bond to move further above the important 7% threshold.
2012-07-09 Mixed Picture for the Consumer, ISM Numbers Weak Data on Factory and Service Sectors by John Buckingham of AFAM
While the major market averages ended in the red, though only modestly so, there was plenty of volatility in a holiday-shortened trading week that was replete with the release of quite a few economic statistics.
2012-06-25 Market Breadth Pretty Good, Save for Thursday by John Buckingham of AFAM
It would have been a nice week if it wasnt for the big plunge on Thursday as that days 250-point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average interrupted a solid stretch in which market breadth had been quite favorable. In fact, the other four days last week saw more advancing stocks than declining stocks, looking at the New York Composite Daily Breadth statistics from this weekends Barrons Magazine.
2012-06-12 Europe Is Near Term Driver of Market Movements by John Buckingham of AFAM
Though the dates do not coincide, as there is a lag in the Investment Company Institute data, last weeks rally in stocks was accompanied by word that for the first time in seemingly forever, mutual fund investors actually put more money into domestic equity funds than they took out, while the reverse was true for bond funds. Because it is only one week and Memorial Day was part of those ICI numbers, we hesitate to say that the tide is finally turning in terms of investor sentiment.
2012-05-29 Europe Is Near Term Driver of Market Movements by John Buckingham of AFAM
Plenty of uncertainty surrounds developments in Europe, so Ive chosen to pen this Memorial Day version of our Market Commentary on Monday afternoon rather than the usual Sunday evening. Of course, had the U.S. stock markets been open today, we might have seen a modest advance, given that the equity futures were suggesting that gains of some 40 or 50 Dow Jones Industrial Average points would be in the cards when trading resumes.
2012-05-21 Facebook IPO Not a Flop; Underwriters Priced it Right by John Buckingham of AFAM
he social media giant ended its first day of trading up a measly 23 cents, or 0.6% from its $38 offering price, and technical difficulties at Nasdaq delayed the opening of trading and impacted market activity throughout the day, I give kudos to the underwriters for actually pricing the deal as best they could to match the relatively limited supply to the unprecedented demand. Certainly, Facebook could eventually grow into its lofty valuation, but it is eye-opening to think the disappointing first day of trading still left the company with a $100 billion+ market capitalization.
2012-05-07 Mixed Data and Patience is a Virtue by John Buckingham of AFAM
The labor report issued by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that nonfarm payroll employment rose by 115,000 in April, and that the unemployment rate dropped to 8.1%. The improvement in the jobless rate came about only because 342,000 folks left the workforce, so there was little cause for cheer, even though the rate stood at 9.0% in April 2011 and 9.9% in April 2010. Employment increased in professional and business services, retail trade and health care, but declined in transportation and warehousing, while the private sector added 130,000 jobs and government payrolls fell by 15,000.
2012-04-24 The Weight of AAPL and Mixed Data in the U.S. by John Buckingham of AFAM
Last week was quite an interesting week, with investor darling Apple Computer shedding another 5.3% of its value after losing 4.5% in the week prior, the latest economic numbers generally coming in a bit weaker than expected and first quarter earnings reporting season getting off to a solid start. Happily, though there was no shortage of daily volatility, the major market averages all ended in the green, which rebounded by 1.4%. While Apple is not a Dow component, it presence in the Russell 3000 and the S&P 500 did not help those indexes, each of which turned in returns of less than 0.7%.
2012-04-03 Disappointing Ending to a Great Quarter, No Reason to Alter our Bullish Stance by John Buckingham of AFAM
Though we were reminded the last couple of weeks that equity prices dont simply go straight up and we know that a 3% to 5% pullback is overdue, we remain optimistic about the long-term prospects for our broadly diversified portfolios of undervalued stocks. Our rationale remains unchanged. Economic data has been improving (Q4 GDP Growth came in at 3.0%, while Gross Domestic Income increased 4.4%). Valuations are generally not rich, especially considering the incredibly low interest rate environment and the strength of corporate balance sheets.
2012-03-27 Investors Still Not Showing Stocks Much Love, U.S. Numbers Pretty Good by John Buckingham of AFAM
Given that the equity markets have been overdue for at least some sort of a pullback, we cant complain too much about the modest three-day selloff that occurred midweek, especially when stocks bounced back nicely on Friday. True, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell over 150 points on the week, but losses in the other major indexes were generally smaller and with the equity futures on Sunday night signaling that trading in the new week will get off to a decent start, we might argue that last weeks action was a pause that refreshes as opposed to a warning shot across the bow.
2012-03-20 New Normal Still Part of the Vernacular by John Buckingham of AFAM
Have to say that I chuckled a bit when I read in Saturdays New York Times that most professional investors think that a black swan event is possible, even as a black swan was described as an unlikely event that too few people plan for! The comments accompanied a piece entitled, A Forecast for Low Returns, in which several investment pros put forth the argument that people should plan for single-digit investment returns for the next five to as many as 20 years.
2012-03-06 The Recovery of the US Economy Continues by John Buckingham of AFAM
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 13,000 on Tuesday for the first time since May 2008. While there is no significance to the number from where we sit, The LA Times devoted front-page real estate in Wednesdays paper to the accomplishment and The WSJ ran a story titled, Dow, on A Tear, Leaps to 13000. One might think that the media coverage would perhaps provide a little prodding to get back into the market for those sitting on the sidelines, but the 3% pullback on the week in the Russell 2000 small-cap stock index suggests instead that many saw it as a reason to reduce risk.
2012-02-27 In Dividends We Trust Payout Ratios Low By Historical Standards by John Buckingham of AFAM
Dividends, dividend and more dividends. It would seem that everywhere we look these days, we find investment professionals singing the praises of dividends. And why not, given that interest rates continue to rest (and I do mean rest) at microscopic levels, while the yields on most of the major equity market averages exceed that of the 10-year U.S. Treasury. More importantly, perhaps, there is plenty of room for payouts to increase going forward given that the percentage of annual earnings distributed to shareholders for S&P 500 companies stood at a record low level of 30% in 2011.
2012-02-15 Winning Streak Ends On the Last Day of the 6th Week, the Markets Rest, Still Relatively Positive by John Buckingham of AFAM
Hard to complain about Fridays relatively modest pullback as we knew the equity market five-week winning streak would eventually have to come to an end and the ever so slight gains for each of the previous four days of the week meant that the performance for the full week was not so bad. While the markets were long overdue for a breather, the main catalyst for Fridays drop was concern that this weekends austerity vote in Greece would not go as planned, setting the stage for a default of the countrys debt next month.
2012-01-24 Contrarian Concern Too Much Bullishness? by John Buckingham of AFAM
While we expect volatility to remain elevated this year, and we have to concede that the markets have come a long way quickly, we see no reason to alter our 1400 year-end S&P 500 price target. Of course, that level actually might be a little low, considering where we stand today, but we focus our attention on the companies in which we are invested. After all, we own businesses like International Business Machines (IBM - $188.52), Intel (INTC - $26.38) and Microsoft (MSFT - $29.71), all of which posted impressive Q4 results last week, and not index funds.
2012-01-18 A Little Cold Water Thrown on the Recovery by John Buckingham of AFAM
The economic data out last week was hardly terrible, but the positive momentum seen in the past couple of months was slowed as the Commerce Department reported that higher prices for imported oil and a 7% drop in exports to Europe caused the U.S. trade deficit to expand sharply in November.
2012-01-09 Lots of Bulls, Few Bears by John Buckingham of AFAM
The market goes down and investors become bearish, the market goes up and they become bullish. Seems like folks will one day wise up as buying stocks on sale should make shoppers more excited than waiting to pick them up after theyve advanced, but this is evidently not the time to break the spell. While we do worry that the rally, albeit modest, in stocks heading into Q4 earnings reporting season, which kicks off this week, could succumb to a little selling (buy the rumor, sell the news), we remain upbeat in our view for the equity markets in 2012.