A slew of negative events including disclosure of the New York Stock Exchange chairman’s outrageous compensation package, memories of 9/11, favorable treatment for mutual fund “timers”, and a less than stellar August retail sales report sent stocks mildly lower last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average snapped its five week win streak as it lost 32 points (-0.34%) and closed at 9471. The NASDAQ, which scored an 18-month high on Monday (1888.62), dropped 3 points (-0.16%) and closed the week at 1855.
The percentage of bullish investment advisors also returned to a neutral 54.1%, down a touch from last week’s bearish 55.5% reading. The put/call ratio remained a neutral 1.63, up from last week’s neutral 1.50 reading. For the week ending September 10, 2003, U.S. equity mutual funds had inflows of just $94 million compared to inflows of $4.2 billion the previous week.
THE COMPASS PORTFOLIOS
No changes again this week. The long duration since portfolio changes have been prescribed has meant that both the intermediate and short-term trends have been consistently positive. It is important for all investors to recognize that objectively prescribing portfolio changes sometimes necessitates doing only what is necessary, even if that means making no changes at all. This concept flies in the face of traditional brokerage which often prescribes changes only to generate commissions. The Compass Wealth Management Process often recommends that doing nothing is exactly the right thing to do! Change for the sake of change is not consistent with the quantitative wealth management process, nor is it consistent with the fiduciary oath present in each client’s investment services agreement. How great it is to whole heartedly recommend and engage is a process that has this wonderful concept at its core!
Economists and small-business owners are increasingly optimistic about the strength of the economy, but they’re still uncertain about job growth and inflation, according to two surveys released Monday. Thirty-five economic forecasters surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics in its quarterly outlook said they expected the economy to grow at a 2.6 percent pace in 2003 and at a 4 percent pace in 2004. That’s up from average forecasts of 2.3 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively, last May.
Retailers are expecting to ring up their best holiday sales gains in four years, the National Retail Federation said Tuesday. The NRF, which represents the retail industry, said sales for the crucial November and December shopping period are expected to grow 5.7 percent from last year to about $217 billion, the biggest increase since an 8.2 percent jump in holiday sales in 1999. Holiday sales grew just 2.2 percent to $205.6 billion last year, the worst Christmas for retailers in a decade as consumers shied away from spending freely amid an economic recession and a weak jobs market. Retailers can post half or more of their annual sales and profits during the eight-week holiday selling period. Low interest rates and inflation, as well as the tax cuts, put more money into consumers’ wallets and boosted spending this year, economists and analysts say.