Stock Valuations

On Wednesday, after a few down days in a row, we tried to sift through the various clues to decide whether the selling we saw was investors taking some profits, or whether we were seeing the start of a more serious sell-off based on lowered earnings guidance and the prospect of unemployment running higher than the current consensus of 9%. 

Your Daily Profit

Retail sales numbers are out for December. Obviously, they weren’t good. Sears stores reported a 12.8% drop in sales. The Limited saw sales fall 10%. One of the few retailers to actually grow sales, Wal-Mart, still missed analyst expectations. Wal-Mart grew sales at a 1.7%, when analysts were expecting growth of 2.8%

Now, I’m not sure what analysts were basing their expectations on, but it’s clear they were too optimistic. I wonder if investors were as optimistic.

Reader Mail

As you can imagine, I’m thrilled that people have made some money from Daily Profit stocks. And I want to point out, also, that I’m not in any mood to hold stocks long-term. With the markets stuck in trading ranges and the economic picture still very unclear, I believe it’s prudent to take profits when they’re available.

Happy New Year

Economically-speaking, we’re closing out 2008 on a down note. December consumer confidence dropped to the lowest level in 41 years.

2008 Predictions

Two more days and we’ll put 2008 behind us. 2008 set a number of stock market records, none of them good. I came across a Business Week article highlighting some of the worst predictions for 2008.

Reader Mail

I hope everyone had a great holiday. There’s nothing like a few days off work to connect with friends and family and recharge the batteries. Next week, we all get back to a regular schedule. And there’s a lot of work to do as we look forward to 2009. But before we get to that, here’s the next round of reader mail I promised you last week.

Commercial Real Estate

First it was residential loans, now commercial loans may be the next to go. A real estate analyst group called Reis Inc. is saying that if commercial rental income drops 5% from current levels, the risk of default for commercial real estate loans will triple.

Reader Mail

It’s been too long since I printed your comments and answered your questions in Daily Profit. After I finished cutting and pasting the most relevant, I came out with 5 pages of reader mail.