Thursday, September 1, 2011

Will September be August Part II?

It was definitely a wild and rocky August.  Looking at the "Top 20" charts for all-time Dow point gains and losses shows us this much:
  • August 4th was number eleven on the losses chart (-512.76)
  • August 8th was number six on the losses chart (-634.76)
  • August 9th was number ten on the gains chart (+429.92)
  • August 10th was number nine on the losses chart (-519.83)
  • August 11th was number eleven on the gains chart (+423.37)
August ninth also had the 20th largest intraday point swing of all time (639.94).  The price of gold topped $1700, then $1800, and was briefly over $1900 before dropping back down.  Let us also not forget Standard & Poor's decision to take away the coveted "AAA" from our government.

While August 2011 did end with some positive days for the markets, don't expect this to continue throughout September.  Recent indicators already suggest the economy is back at 2009 levels.  This will create more uncertainty for the markets, meaning more sideways movement.  Those "Top 20" charts may have some new entries on them by the time this month ends.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Change Is A-Comin'...

Haven't posted anything in a while (except for the previous Random Blathering).  Fact is, I've been working on expanding The Affordable Portfolio.  It's been my dream to make TAP more than a blog.  The blog just seemed to be a good jumping off point.  I'll still post an article here and there, just not as often.

"It's Not 2008," BUT...

The talking heads at CNBC and Fox Business have developed a disturbing habit.  Lately they want to bandy about the same phrase over and over again: "This is not 2008."  True, last time I checked my calendar, it said "2011".

Of course they are referring to the year of the housing collapse, the debacle that really crippled our economy.  Banks were lending money to people so they could buy houses they shouldn't have been buying to begin with.  The banks weren't happy with just collecting payments on the resulting mortgages, so they bundled them up and sold them to each other.  The payments slow to a crawl, pandemonium breaks out.  The mortgage bundles are now worthless.  They litter the financial landscape to this day after several long-standing institutions have disappeared from the face of the earth.

The recap above is over-simplified, but since this is a Random Blathering, I am trying to keep this post short.  The point I am trying to make is this:  Sure, it's not 2008 anymore, but we are still feeling its effects in 2011.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

ConocoPhillips Stock Purchase Plan

This next Portfolio Pick is a stock that can be bought from the company.  Many companies today offer shares of their stock this way.  Their fees can be cheaper than if you had bought from a broker.  This is one of them.  I introduce to you the ConocoPhillips Stock Purchase Plan (COP).

Station selling ConocoPhillips branded gas.  Photo taken by the author.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Ally Bank No Penalty CD

Cash is king.  Every portfolio should have some portion of it dedicated to cash.  That is why for my latest Portfolio Pick I'm going to highlight the Ally Bank No Penalty CD.

Ally Bank advertisement featuring the No Penalty CD.  Video embedded from Ally Bank's YouTube channel.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Blues In The Key Of AA+

It's official:  the country is being run by Standard & Poor's.  It's not being run by somebody in the Oval Office, nor 535 squabbling and bickering politcos, but some division of a major publishing company.  Replacing the third "A" with a "plus" will definitely have an impact on this nation for years to come.

Will Moody's ally with the S&P and form a cartel?

Following The Bouncing Dow

It definitely was a bizarre end to a bizarre week.  "Buyers vs. Sellers" was the theme for the day.  When the dust settled, the Dow finished higher.  I don't think the buyers won this round.