— Investing

The Dow Jones Industrial Average: All 30 companies at close today.

Posted on July 24, 2008. Filed under: -- Investing, -- Today's DJIA 30, -- Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |


By Molly Malone
If I fall behind on keeping my posts up in real time, I have this link  for you, where you can get a quick market recap each day, and I also have provided it for you on my blogroll where you can get the daily update in REAL TIME, or you can click here to access it instantly.
If you’d like to check the performance of the 30 companies listed on the DJIA, click here for the daily updated list.
So since you can get these resources right here from my blog each day, I hope you’ll still visit my site each time you check Daily Dow/Daily Market Analysis! Just bookmark me in del.icio.us!   I get the all of the data straight from the WSJ and use Bloomerg for the Daily 30.
Thanks for reading my blog =) I really appreciate it. Feel free to introduce yourself. greaves.molly@gmail.com
 
MARKETS – AT A GLANCE, and courtesy of the WSJ. 
11:04 p.m. EDT 07/24/08Major Stock Indexes
  Last Change % Chg
DJ Industrials* 11349.28 -283.10 -2.43
Nasdaq Composite* 2280.11 -45.77 -1.97
S&P 500* 1252.54 -29.65 -2.31
DJ Wilshire 5000* 12770.96 -315.55 -2.41
Russell 2000* 702.39 -16.80 -2.34
DJ World exUS 232.63 -1.73 -0.74
Japan: Nikkei Average 13393.81 -209.50 -1.54
DJ Stoxx 50* 2859.88 -30.80 -1.07
UK: FTSE 100* 5362.30 -87.60 -1.61
Treasurys
    Price Chg Yield %
2-Year Note*   13/32 2.609
10-Year Note*   31/32 3.999
* at close
10:59 p.m. EDT 07/24/08Futures
  Last Change Settle
Crude Oil 125.64 0.15 125.49
Gold, Aug 928.4 6.1 922.3
DJ Industrials 11348 -3 11351
S&P 500 1253.10 -0.70 1253.80
11:10 p.m. EDT 07/24/08Currencies
  Last (bid) Prior Day †
Japanese Yen 107.11 107.25
Euro (in dollars) 1.5671 1.5685

 

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What is COMPOUNDING INTEREST and How It Can Benefit YOU!

Posted on July 10, 2008. Filed under: -- Building Wealth, -- For The Investor In YOU, -- Investing, -- Money Help (in simple terms), -- YOUR Retirement | Tags: , , , , |


 

By Molly Greaves

If read my posts regularly, you’ve probably noticed that I always say ” if time is on your side.” That’s because when you’re so lucky and don’t even realize the opportunities you have to create a large abundance of wealth. That’s because the sooner you start saving, the more time your money has to compound.

Compounding occurs when the money you invest earns money–such as interest in a savings account or returns on your 401(k) investments– and those earnings in turn earn money. In other words, the more you save now, the more compounding can increase your savings. 

Let’s apply it to real-life.

Start at 20, and set aside 15% of everything you earn (including gifts and such) and you will be in good shape at retirement. Wait until you’re 40, and it will be 25% or more of every dollar earned. Wait until 50, and it will be 45% of every dollar earned.

You can look at it this way too. If you invest $1,000 per year in a tax-deferred account that earns 7% a year beginning at age 25, you will end up with $199,635. If you invest the same amount, starting at age 40, and you’ll end up with only $63,249.

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What the FICO Folks Care & And How YOU Can Do What THEY Want To Make Your Life Cheaper In The Long-Run

Posted on July 9, 2008. Filed under: -- Building Wealth, -- Investing, -- Money Help (in simple terms) | Tags: , , , |


 

1. Pay on time.  This counts for 35% of your score. Even paying the minimum amount counts. All of my bills are set up to automatically get paid when they are due. Not sure if you’ll have enough money in your account to cover your bills? At least have the minimum amount deducted so you can help your credit score, and your future.

2. Manage your debt-credit limit ratio. Does that sound scary? Someone once told me it did. This accounts for about 30% of your score. It’s actually simple. It’s your debt (your combined balances from all of the things you owe including credit cards, loans, etc.) compared to your credit limit. Your credit limit is the combined total of the maximum amount each credit card is willing to let you charge.

For example: You have two credit cards. One of them allows you a $5,000 credit line. You currently owe $1,000 on it.  You have another card where you have a $10,000 credit line in which you owe $6,500.  Your total debt is $7,500 ($1,000 from card #1 and $6,500 from card #2). The total credit available is $15,000 ($7,500/$15,000). This means that your debt-to-credit ratio is 50%. Yikes, that’s pretty high. The lower the better, of course.

3. CREDIT HISTORY. They’re talking about how long of a credit history you have. Don’t automatically cancel cards that you dont want anymore. If you’ve had them forever, and have a good paying history with them, think about shredding the card and keeping the account open for you credit. It helps show your payment history by giving people a snapshot of your past money management habits working with you. You’ll want to protect that credit history that you have, so if you’re canceling cards, always do the cards that are newest first.

If you wake up one Sunday morning feeling great, and decide to quit shopping, dont cut your cards all at once! Congratulations to you too by the way for quitting shopping. It will effect your score by cutting the umbilical cord on all of them at the same time, so try spacing them out. A month or two in between for each should be enough time to not make too much damage. You can watch your credit report/score while you do this to be sure. 

This, by the way, is about 15% of your score. 

4.  The Right Credit Mix. The last 20% of your score comes from the right kind of credit mix. You know how they say things like “opening this or that type of account could help your credit score” or things like that? That’s because creditors allow you to have a certain mix when they calculate this out. Your ability to juggle a variety and responsibilities is what they are looking for here. They like to see a good mix of credit cards, monthly installment loans (like your mortgage or car note), retail store cards

 

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What is the Dow Jones? Who’s listed on the Dow Jones?

Posted on July 7, 2008. Filed under: -- Building Wealth, -- Investing, -- Money Help (in simple terms), -- Today's DJIA 30, . More Resources For YOU! | Tags: , , , , , , |


Lots of people hear about the Dow Jones over and over again, but many, and I repeat, MANY, people have no clue what it means.  So, to address that, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is the weight-average from 30 blue-chip stocks, which typically are the leaders in their industry. The 30 members can change, but below is a fancy-schmancy chart that lists the 30 stocks as of 6/20/2008. I got this chart from Bloomberg.com  (I’m happy to see Alcoa on there. I used to work for them; really like it.)

 

DOW JONES INDUS. AVG MEMBERS

Time
3M CO 73.02 -1.10 -1.48 7,367,730 06/20
ALCOA INC 37.34 -1.78 -4.55 17,507,949 06/20
AMER INTL GROUP 32.10 -0.97 -2.93 30,876,762 06/20
AMERICAN EXPRESS 41.18 -1.45 -3.40 14,219,995 06/20
AT&T INC 34.43 -0.72 -2.05 43,386,834 06/20
BANK OF AMERICA 27.10 -1.04 -3.70 89,929,669 06/20
BOEING CO 75.83 -1.12 -1.46 8,868,649 06/20
CATERPILLAR INC 79.08 -0.40 -0.50 9,065,511 06/20
CHEVRON CORP 96.62 -0.24 -0.25 15,030,056 06/20
CITIGROUP INC 19.30 -0.87 -4.31 151,603,700 06/20
COCA-COLA CO 53.66 0.30 0.56 16,636,519 06/20
DISNEY (WALT) CO 31.94 -0.95 -2.89 21,345,075 06/20
DU PONT (EI) 46.23 -1.17 -2.47 11,173,619 06/20
EXXON MOBIL CORP 84.91 -0.88 -1.03 36,185,814 06/20
GENERAL ELECTRIC 27.38 -0.53 -1.90 89,703,387 06/20
GENERAL MOTORS 13.79 -1.00 -6.76 38,249,677 06/20
HEWLETT-PACKARD 45.64 -0.95 -2.04 20,129,605 06/20
HOME DEPOT INC 26.25 -0.93 -3.42 17,187,996 06/20
IBM 122.74 -2.28 -1.82 9,624,839 06/20
INTEL CORP 22.37 -0.48 -2.10 71,026,009 06/20
JOHNSON&JOHNSON 64.06 -0.56 -0.87 16,434,932 06/20
JPMORGAN CHASE 37.86 -0.79 -2.04 55,377,221 06/20
MCDONALDS CORP 57.40 -1.19 -2.03 10,427,584 06/20
MERCK & CO 35.13 -0.47 -1.32 20,639,833 06/20
MICROSOFT CORP 28.23 -0.70 -2.42 97,488,232 06/20
PFIZER INC 17.33 -0.44 -2.48 63,389,601 06/20
PROCTER & GAMBLE 63.16 -1.74 -2.68 21,462,039 06/20
UNITED TECH CORP 68.80 -0.02 -0.03 8,822,479 06/20
VERIZON COMMUNIC 35.38 -1.12 -3.07 22,118,831 06/20
WAL-MART STORES 56.26 -1.43 -2.48 27,053,289 06/20
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Drowning In Credit Card Debt?

Posted on July 7, 2008. Filed under: -- Credit Cards and YOU, -- Investing | Tags: , , |


By Molly Greaves

If you have multiple cards with high interest rates, consider transferring your balance to a card with a low interest rate. I hate to say it, but it’s a smart move if you’re drowning in debt since it can reduce your debt costs. 

Before you transfer your balance to a  new account, ask what the “real” rate will be after your introductory rate expires. This is where a lot of people get sucked in, so don’t let yourself be “that guy.” You think it’s low, and then it skyrockets on you and then you’re going to be stuck trying to transfer again. Don’t start that cycle.

Also, see how much your old company is going to charge you for the transfer since they most likely will have some sort of fee.

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Your Credit Card Interest Rate and Your Savings Account

Posted on July 7, 2008. Filed under: -- Building Wealth, -- Investing | Tags: , , , |


By Molly Greaves

So what is one to do if they have credit card debt, but want to start saving too? 

It comes down to your interest rates. I mean the interest rates on all of your credit cards where you have debt (aka owe a balance), and also the interest rate you’re receiving from your savings account.

Although I do not recommend this, I know people do this, so I wanted share how to best tackle this if you’re about to. 

If the interest on your credit cards is lower than your savings account, then you could pay the minimum required against the debt on your credit card, and put the rest into a high interest yield savings account (do not spend it). But, if you’re interest rate on your credit cards is higher than your savings rate will pay you, then by all means, get that card paid off. I still have the mindset though to not try and juggle around like this with credit cards. Credit card companies are risky to do business with. The rules seem to always be in fine print.  A sudden change in your credit score could unexpectedly spike your rate and most people dont know that. Yep, if your card does a new inquiry to your credit, and things have changed, you betcha your rate is subject to change.

By all means, make sure that if you do this, that you have enough money saved to pay off your card balance once your interest rate rises above your savings account. 

How do you do that? Don’t spend the money from the beginning. Instead, use it to make some “capital gains,” and that’s it.

I use this theory with my student loan. I was so fortunate to be able to finance my tuition bill at the interest rate of 2.85%. I consider that one of the cheapest loans you can get, and practically free money. I mean, it’s lower than inflation! Not that my bill is free, because it sure isnt, but the loan seems almost like free because of the low rate. So, instead of rushing to pay off my huge college bill, I  send in only the monthly minimum needed to satisfy my agreement and keep my credit score in good health. Whenever I have extra money, I certainly dont send it to my student loan. Instead, it goes to my Roth IRA, where my chances are more likely to get a higher return on my money than by making the small progress on my college bill. 

**If you do this with your credit card, make sure you’re always checking in to see what your interest rate is so it doesnt backfire on you. Also make sure you have enough saved to pay off your balance when the rate is expected to go up. Double check your rates on both accounts frequently because they both can fluctuate. DO NOT spend the money that you are putting into your savings instead of using toward your debt/credit card balance. You want the money to be accessible once your credit card rates start going back up. Chances are they will. What you do instead, is come out with some “capital gains” on the short “loan” for your money.

Molly    greaves.molly@gmail.com

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Berkshire Hathaway- A GOOD Investment For YOU?

Posted on July 6, 2008. Filed under: -- Building Wealth, -- For The Investor In YOU, -- Investing | Tags: , , , , |


By Molly Greaves

You’re lucky enough to own some Buffet investments. But are they are the best investment?  

Buffet

All of us know Warren Buffet. And if you dont, I will blog soon about all of the reasons the rest of the world knows him. Stay tuned for that.  If you’re like me, you highly respect the guy, and some of you may also think he’s a funny, nice guy that has quite the knack for investing,  like I think.   Buffet is loved by so many people for making them MEGA RICH. Not everyone, however, is ready to jump into Berkshire Hathaway these days.

SmartMoney’s June 2008 edition quotes 10 people from the finance sector who share their experience to advise on the question: “Would you Invest in Berkshire?”  A lot people think Berkshire is a must buy if you can afford it, but here are 5 quotes from 5 experts that arent so sure about that. 

-“Berkshire’s out performance versus the market has narrowed over the past decade and will continue to narrow. Finding good investments will be harder than ever. There’s fiercer competition,” says Doug Kass from Seabreeze Partners.

-“The salad these days for insurance–the backbone of the Berkshire complex–are over. Profit margins will be under pressure in the face of a more competitive landscape.  Buffet expects insurance-industry profit margins to shrink by 4 percentage points in 2008–even without a catastrophe.”

-“Berkshire’s premium valuation and it’s perception as a safe harbor are by-products of the credit crisis and market turmoil. Should the stock market conditions improve, Berkshire’s shares may  under per as other financial shares regain their footing.”

-“Investors will dump shares if Buffet, 77, is no longer at the helm. They may even sell if he starts to delegate more tasks and responsibilities than he already has.”

-“A sum-of-the-parts analysis indicates that Berkshire shares are fair-to-overpriced relative to the market. Melding price-to-book ratios on insurance and its other businesses on produces a fair value of $125,000. Buffet himself said investors should be able to find better opportunities than Berkshire stock.”

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Interview Your Realtor? Yes, of course.

Posted on July 6, 2008. Filed under: -- Investing, -- Moving?, -- Real Estate Guide For Today's Market, -- Top 10..., . More Resources For YOU! | Tags: , , , , |


By Molly Greaves

Once you start working with a realtor, I’m sure you’ll want the process to be as smooth and efficient as possible. That’s why after your realtor asks you questions to find out your needs and wants for your new property, you’ll need to interview her too, to make sure you have the right match for you. You’re going to want to be in the hands of a professional known in real estate if you want to close on a place more quickly. If you don’t click with a realtor, don’t feel badly moving on to the next; it’s all part of business. They’re going to make a hunky chunk of change from working with you, so you have the right to decide who you employ. Wouldn’t you agree? 

Also, do make sure that when you go in for your inital meeting, you carry an outline with you of what your needs and wants are. Make sure you spend a lot of time to make sure the list is complete with details that you have. You want to give a good enough description so you can attract the home of your dreams to you. You’ll also want to be most prepared so your realtor finds you something that YOU like, not what she likes or is hoping to sell. Equally important, you also dont want to waste time looking at things that dont interest you in the slightest. Time’s too precious, gas is too high.

This will set the foundation up for a professional experience that will make the buying process easier on you and anyone else involved in the process.  

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Top 10 Wealth Management Firms in Austin

Posted on July 6, 2008. Filed under: -- Austin Related, -- Building Wealth, -- For The Investor In YOU, -- Investing, . More Resources For YOU! | Tags: , , , |


This is more geared toward my local Austin friends, or people interested in Austin Wealth Management. According to the Austin Business Journal, these are the Top 10 Wealth Management Firms ranked by locally managed assets as of February 2007.

1. Charles Schwab 370-3880

2. Merrill Lynch 474-5811

3. Raymond James and Associates 477-3110

4. Veritrust Financial 448-0647

5. Ameriprise Financial Services 346-5400

6. Scottrade Securities 343-8200

7. RiverStone Wealth Management 476-5554

8. Empiric Advisors 328-9321

9. Eltekon Financial LLC 447-3200

10. Caprock Securities 322-0133

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10 Critical Questions Every Investor Should Ask

Posted on July 6, 2008. Filed under: -- Building Wealth, -- For The Investor In YOU, -- Investing, -- Top 10..., . More Resources For YOU! | Tags: , , , , |


By Molly Greaves

I dont know much about Fisher investments, so I decided to try and change that. So, I recently called them to get some information, including their annual report. 

I received the information in the mail the other day, and wanted to share with you what they deem the 10 Critical Questions Every Investor Should Ask–A Portfolio Survival Guide

1. How big does my portfolio have to be for me to reach my goals?

2. How will inflation affect my portfolio?

3. How much money can I safely withdraw from my portfolio?

4. Am I in danger of outliving my assets?

5.  Do I have clear investment objectives?

6. What investment strategy best meets my objectives?

7.  Should I pursue active or passive management?

8.  What’s the best way to assess my portfolio’s performance?

9. Should I manage my own portfolio?

10. What should I look for in a money manager?

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