Fri04252014

Business & Real Estate

A game plan for the market

Checking market volatility after its biggest weekly advance since last July, it might be time to review where investors have been and where they are now. The heart of the earnings-reporting season has arrived, with stocks at an impasse and biotechnology and Internet commerce impacting the market.

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Are we finally in a market correction?

Reviewing the volatile events of last week, with the market up one day and down the next, the Nasdaq composite index suffered its worst decline since 2011. So, are we in a secondary correction that begins to look like a bear market?

With the market down again Friday, a correction could be ahead in the range of 6 to 8 percent. We are due for one, and it will probably occur during the summer when the Federal Reserve begins tapering its bond-buying program and if corporate profits reach all-time highs and stocks are still expensive.

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Is April a good month for investors?

The weather the first week of April wasn’t all sunshine, but for the past 50 years on Wall Street, April is known as the best-performing month. With the Dow Jones industrial average down 0.7 percent in the first three months of 2014, investors are hoping the fourth month lives up to its reputation.

Brushing aside widespread concerns about lower corporate profits and high stock valuations, the Dow Jones transportation average and the S&P 500 began April at new all-time highs. Even the Dow industrials rallied within a few points of the Dec. 31 all-time high of 16,576.66. Investors should consider anything above those numbers another bullish trend.

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Dow trading in wide range again

After two days of downward volatility by Cisco Systems Inc. and IBM Corp., the Dow Jones industrial average traded in a narrow range last week. The Dow gained well over 110 points early Friday, but it was back to zero by noon.

Both of these Town Crier “50” stocks fell more than 1 percent to lead the Dow’s losing components. With Cisco, IBM, Microsoft Corp. and other companies aging, is there a changing of the guard in the technology industry?

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Investors not pleased with events

With U.S. stocks lower Friday but up 1.5 percent for the week, investors remain concerned about tensions between Russia and the West. Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen’s suggestion that interest-rate hikes would not occur until six months after quantitative easing ends has been a positive influence, but the market is still floundering.

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Is the stock market peaking?

As the end of the first quarter approaches, it is obvious that stocks haven’t moved much other than downward. The Dow is down approximately 1.5 percent and the S&P 500 is up slightly. After Thursday’s closing at -231.19, the talk is whether the market has peaked. Investors seem to be ignoring rising tensions in Ukraine and better-than-expected U.S. economic data.

Our exposure to the stock market relies on two things: the direction the market moves and the opportunities available in individual stocks. While finding attractive growth stocks has become difficult, a diversified portfolio continues its ups and downs, with severe losses held to a minimum.

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Stock market confuses investors

The Dow Jones industrial average goes up one day and down the next, confusing investors. The S&P 500 closed at another all-time high Thursday, and the jobs market provided encouraging news.

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