What In The World Is Going On?

In the last quarter we saw the market move 200 points or more 18 times. We saw it move over 400 points four days in a row. What is causing such gyrations? Surely the U.S, economy is not that volatile. While the economy is struggling, it is not careening as wildly as the equity markets.

The reason for the volatility can be summarized in one word: Europe. For over a year Europe has been dealing with a mounting sovereign debt crisis. The focus has been on Greece, but Italy, Spain and Portugal are also under scrutiny and France may not be far behind. The problem is that these countries, particularly Greece, will have difficulty paying their bills as they come due. Since many banks in Europe hold bonds issued by these countries, the fate of the banks is in doubt as well. This is what is being referred to as the contagion effect.

There are several obvious solutions to the problem, but none are very satisfactory. For instance Greece could default on their debt. But, because of the contagion effect, no one is quite sure where that would lead, and furthermore, it would set a precedent for bad behavior in the European Union, and many countries don’t like that prospect, particularly the Northern European countries.

Greece could be excused from the EU. Even that does not avoid default, and in addition it would be very difficult to do.

The likely outcome will be that the EU collectively will have to guarantee every bank in Europe and every country from insolvency, but that is unpopular too as it would be like you being asked to guarantee your neighbors, or partners, or fellow board members debts. Furthermore, the longer this crisis […]

October 24th, 2011|Categories: Comments from Bill|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on What In The World Is Going On?

Will Obama Keep On Truckin’ With Agenda?

William RutherfordWhile president focuses on health care, voters’ actions suggest they’re more concerned with the economy

Nearly a year ago, Vice President Joe Biden notoriously asked, “Why are we focusing on health care when the economy is the problem?” Apparently Obama didn’t get the memo.

In the Scott heard around the world, previously unknown Massachusetts state Rep. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) drove his dusty, old pickup truck to victory in knocking off the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate seat previously held by Ted Kennedy. Elected in the bluest of the blue states, Brown is the first Republican elected to the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts in 38 years. German news source Der Spiegel pronounced: “The World Bids Farewell to Obama.” Elected just a year ago in a stunning victory, President Barack Obama now finds himself facing declining approval ratings and upheaval. He promised change, but voters did not like what they perceived as European style socialism. With the nation suffering through the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression, exit polls from his presidential election showed that two-thirds of the voters cited the economy as their number one concern, and fewer than 10 percent mentioned health care. Since taking office, Obama has focused on health care. Obama, in his first year in office, gave 158 interviews and 411 speeches – more than any other U.S. president; perhaps more than all of them put together. Yet the Democrats have now lost the governorships of Virginia and New Jersey, and a Senate seat in Massachusetts.

In the meantime, the Brookings Institution says the largest and fastest growing population of poor people in the U.S. is in the suburbs. […]

April 6th, 2010|Categories: Daily Journal of Commerce|Tags: , , , , , |Comments Off on Will Obama Keep On Truckin’ With Agenda?

Bill Rutherford Quoted In Dow Jones

Consumer Staples, Health Care Seen As Recessionary Havens

by Mary Ellen Lloyd, Dow Jones Newswires; 704-948-9145; maryellen.lloyd@dowjones.com

A year into the U.S. recession, the smart money on Wall Street says traditionally defensive sectors such as consumer staples, health care and telecommunications remain among the best bets.

That’s because it is businesses like drugstores, food producers, managed-care companies, and beer and cigarette makers that tend to do well despite tough economic times, according to several market strategists, money managers, economists and fund data managers.

“You’re dealing with industries and companies that provide necessities – everything from toothpaste to stents to pharmaceuticals to cereal,” said Brian Belski, Merrill Lynch’s U.S. sector strategist.

And some not-so-basic items can feel like necessary luxuries for folks during times of stress. “People tend to drink and smoke more during recessions and slowing times in the economy and the stock market,” Belski said. […]

December 18th, 2008|Categories: Bill Quoted|Tags: , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Bill Rutherford Quoted In Dow Jones

Bill Rutherford Quoted In Business Week

Inside Wall Street: Bring on the Cranes and Road Graders by Gene Marcial

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_48/c4110insidewal446718.htm

The Dow Jones industrial average has plunged some 41% since its record close at 14,164 on Oct. 9, 2007—for a $1.7 trillion loss in market capitalization. And the broader Dow Jones Wilshire 5000-stock index has lost 46%, or $9.1 trillion. The huge sell-off is causing some strategists to figure that the market has already priced in a recession. Not only that, “it also has posted the worst performance entering a recession in over 60 years,” notes Jeffrey Kleintop, chief market strategist at LPL Financial. While volatility is likely to continue, history suggests additional significant downside is unlikely. “The stage is set for an eventual recovery, led by the early cyclical sectors,” predicts Kleintop. It’s well-known, he adds, that powerful gains in the stock market come well before the end of a recession. […]

Bill Rutherford Quoted By CNNMoney.com

CNNMoney.com

Dow sheds 486 points: Post-election worries about the weak economy are front and center.

by Alexandra Twin, CNNMoney.com senior writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Stocks fell sharply Wednesday, with the Dow sliding as much as 513 points, as Barack Obama’s historic victory gave way to renewed worries about the struggling economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) lost 486 points or 5%. The blue-chip average lost as much as 513 points earlier. The Standard & Poor’s 500 (SPX) index lost 5.3% and the Nasdaq composite (COMP) gave up 5.5%.

Investors were taking a classic “buy the rumor, sell the news” response to President-elect Barack Obama’s victory over John McCain, said Bill Stone, chief investment strategist at PNC Financial Services Group. […]

Market Update

Yesterday the market just had its second largest up day ever; up 889 points. This rise came in spite of historical lows in the consumer confidence index (backward looking and volatile) and a nationwide drop in home prices of 16.6% (a real threat to the economy). The Fed is yet to weigh in with a rate cut which will almost certainly happen today. In the meantime, the Fed has increased the money supply by 25% in the last three weeks, a truly astonishing number.  The rally occurred toward the end of the day, with banks stocks getting a big lift in the last two minutes of trading. No doubt this was short covering and therefore not a sustainable rally.  Volume was very heavy (a good sign).

I do not know if this is the market bottom, although the October 13 bottom has now been tested twice and held both times.  I frankly expect at least one more test of the bottom, and of course any more BIG bad news could send the market lower.  (There is plenty of bad news in the market valuation already, news that a few weeks ago would have been considered big bad news, but has now become commonplace-the market has become inured to a degree). […]

October 29th, 2008|Categories: Comments from Bill|Tags: , , , , , |Comments Off on Market Update

How Could Mr. Right Have Been So Wrong?

Amid the financial meltdown, former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan is a rock star no more

by The Oregonian Editorial Board

He was a legend, the “maestro,” the man who knew how to pull the levers that others couldn’t even see, the man who uttered the market-crippling phrase “irrational exuberance,” who courted celebrity and married the television news reporter, whose absolute faith in free markets led many to declare him the greatest chairman of the Federal Reserve the country had ever known.

Now, with markets crashing and wealth evaporating around the world, he is regarded as the man who steered blindly into a storm, tacking when he should have jibed.

“Man, I loved Alan Greenspan,” lamented Portland economist and business consultant Bill Conerly this month on his Businomics blog, “but it turns out that he is to blame for today’s problems.”

Conerly says Greenspan and many others failed to see that the Fed’s policy of keeping interest rates low was fueling a housing bubble — a bubble that popped and has plunged the world into recession. […]

Bill Rutherford Quoted By MarketWatch.com

Beyond the pail: Where to invest in a post-bailout world

by Jonathan Burton, MarketWatch

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Wall Street is bound to get its bailout, in one form or another. The government’s rescue package will be costly to taxpayers, politically controversial — and quite possibly not the last. It will also dramatically change the landscape for U.S. stock investors.

The bailout has a singular task: to grease the locked wheels of the financial system and get credit moving again. What investors need to remember is that even if this plan works, the deep problems plaguing homeowners, consumers and the broader economy won’t magically disappear. The Troubled Asset Relief Plan isn’t called TARP for no reason. It is intended to avert a flood of Depression-era size, but the ground around us will still be soaked. […]

September 26th, 2008|Categories: Bill Quoted|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Bill Rutherford Quoted By MarketWatch.com

Bill Rutherford Quoted In Business Week

Business Week logo

Second-Quarter Profits: Grief or Relief?

The coming blizzard of earnings reports has Wall Street on edge, but it’s not all bad news ahead. Here’s what to expect.

by Ben Steverman

With just a few days left in the second quarter, Wall Street is preparing for yet another disappointing round of corporate earnings reports.

According to Thomson Reuters (TRI), analysts expect the earnings of the S&P 500 to fall 10.2% this quarter, a number that keeps getting worse as pessimism deepens about the financial sector. It would be the fourth straight quarter of falling earnings, the first such losing streak since 2001-02. […]

Bill Rutherford Quoted By Reuters

Reuters logo

US STOCKS-Techs rise, helped by falling oil price

by Walker Simon

* Oil price tumble helps techs, airlines, retailers
* Citigroup shares fall on CFO warning on write-downs
* Financials weigh on the broader market (Updates to midafternoon)

NEW YORK, June 19 (Reuters) – The Nasdaq rose on Thursday as top technology companies and other exporters benefited from tumbling oil prices, seen as easing strains on global economic growth.

But the Dow and the S&P 500 indexes were little changed, restrained by an extended slide in financial companies that was triggered by Citgroup’s warning of write-downs in subprime mortgages.

U.S. oil prices Clc1 fell $4.13 a barrel to $132.53 a barrel on the belief that demand will take a hit after China raised gasoline and diesel prices by 18 percent, its first domestic fuel hike in eight months.

Shares of big manufacturers, including Boeing Co (BA.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and DuPont Co (DD.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), rose on the back of the lower oil prices. Retailers’ shares also benefited, with Costco Wholesale Corp (COST.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) up 0.7 percent. Both sectors were helped by the view that lower oil prices would take less of a toll on business and consumer spending. […]