Commentary

George Chamberlin

GEORGE CHAMBERLIN has been associated with The Daily Transcript at SDDT.com since 1998 and became Executive Editor in 2006. He is responsible for the development of editorial strategies for the newspaper and website. He has introduced video and audio into the editorial products and is the public face of the company at many community events. George regularly chairs industry roundtables and conducts video interviews of participants for use on the San Diego Source. He writes two daily columns, "Money in the Morning" and a daily stock market wrap-up.

George, a long time resident of North County, lives in Vista with his wife Terry.

From the Executive Editor

The stealth rally roared in August. Much to the surprise of the business media --and, therefore, poorly reported -- the stock market put together one of its best months in a long, long time in August, quashing all of the suggestions that the end is near. The Dow industrials were up 3.2 percent last month, the best August since 2000. However, the Dow was actually the weakest index, with the Nasdaq slamming out a gain of 4.8 percent and the S&P 500 up 3.8 percent, finishing at an all-time high. Remember, these are performance numbers for just one month, not an entire year.

Whether it’s getting a table at a popular restaurant or waiting in the drive-through line to get fast food, people are spending more money to eat out.

Say goodbye -- and thank you -- to August. Today will be the last day of trading for a month that has treated investors very nicely, thank you. All of the major indexes are up 3 percent or more and have rallied despite repeated warnings that the end is near. The top headline at MoneyNews.com this morning says: "U.S. stocks might drop 30 percent in next 5 years." Then again, they might not. Year to date, the Nasdaq is up a respectable 9.1 percent, the S&P 500 has gained 8.0 percent and the Dow industrials are lagging with a gain of 3.0 percent. These numbers are very impressive considering the huge gains posted in 2012 and 2013. It reminds me of the comments of S&P's Sam Stovall: "Great years are followed by good years."

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation reported in July that it had seized control of the three branches of GreenChoice Bank in Chicago and transferred depositor assets to Providence Bank.

Stocks are losing their momentum. That was the report yesterday from Bloomberg after the close of trading, a day where the Dow industrials rose for the 11th time in the past 14 sessions and the S&P 500 closed at a new record high. If that is how Bloomberg describes losing momentum, then keep it coming. Unfortunately, stocks are trading lower today not because of bad economic news or disappointing corporate earnings updates, but because of renewed global tensions, especially the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.

Rising global tensions, especially between Ukraine and Russia, sent stock prices slightly lower Thursday.

An important threshold gets crossed. The two-point gain in the S&P 500 index yesterday was hardly anything to write home about. But it was just enough to take the broad-based index to a close above 2,000 for the first time ever. The continued absence of sellers has steadily pushed stock prices up for more than a month and has shattered the old adage “Buy in October, sell in May." The Dow industrials started May at 16,500 and finished yesterday at 17,106. Anyone who followed the conventional wisdom has missed a gain of more than 600 points on the blue chip index. The S&P 500 began May at 1,883 and is now at 2K. Tell that to all the bears who keep begging for a crash.

Stock prices were little changed Wednesday as trading slowed ahead of the Labor Day weekend.

SP2K. Just as Y2K struck fear in the hearts of techies everywhere, fearful the world would end Jan. 1, 2000, bearish investors seem equally afraid of what's in store now that the S&P 500 has broken through the 2,000 barrier. The major stock market indexes have put together a very good August after a failed effort to take stocks down at the end of July. The Dow industrials were up 76 points, making gains in five of the last six sessions, and the S&P 500 closed at a new all-time high at 1,998. The index traded above 2K for most of the day but slipped slightly at the close. To be sure, 2,000 is just another number for the markets but it is a psychological barrier that will have to be dealt with. As often happens, the level has been approached and rejected several times lately, but once resistance is crushed it is common for the index to run to the upside.

A better-than-expected reading on consumer confidence and durable-goods orders helped move stock prices higher on Tuesday.

2000.02. It is just another number, but how the S&P 500 stock index got there and where it goes is an interesting journey.

The big one could be coming. Yes, the Napa earthquake is a stark reminder a similar shakeout could be coming to the stock market. Of course, like the earthquake that many expect to break California off from the United States, floating it into the Pacific, no one knows when the crash will hit Wall Street. But one thing is sure: The bears love to talk about it even as stocks climb higher and higher. Pundits can now add a major earthquake to the forecasts along with a massive sell-off in stocks. What they won't tell you is when either will happen.

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