Thursday, April 28, 2005

Market Update

Today's big news... GDP for Q105 shows a slowdown in economic growth. Apparently the latest number indicates that we might have hit a few speed bumps in our path of expansion. Also, unemployment claims rose from 299K to 320K.

This is clearly disappointing... and the market's reaction is gloomy. The majors are all sporting approximately half-percent declines as I report this around 7:05AM PST.

For all of us who are currently long the market... today's not so pretty a sight.

That said, what's positive today?

EBAY is advancing quite strongly for such a down day. It has really shown some serious strength recently. In the sub-31 range, I've been seeing serious buying. Also, when bad news can't push a stock lower, it's probably nearing a bottom if it hasn't already seen one. EBAY has ignored bad news recently, ranging from Amazon's poor quarter the other day to today's economic reports.

Altria Group (MO) -- Phillip Morris, for those who don't keep up -- is on the move as well. The CEO is once again talking about a break-up of the company into two, or maybe three parts. As a shareholder, I'm all for this move. Sometimes the sum of the parts is greater than the whole... this is especially true when it becomes difficult for the world at large to provide a valuation for the whole due to major uncertainty (legal issues, for example) in one of its parts. This isn't the first time the break-up idea has come up. Months ago the company mentioned the possibility at an investors' conference.

And let me finish with a brief update on AskJeeves. Today, Deutsche cut its rating on the shares. Basically, the firm concludes that a rival bidder is unlikely. Well, Diller, I guess the butler is all yours.

Until next time...

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