SmartMoney Blogs

Real-Time Advice
Our real-time advice on how market shifts and news impact you and your money

Dow Breaks Even — What About You?

While stocks rose on Friday,  sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average into positive territory for the year, many investors were still in the red — and seeking new answers from financial advisers.

Getty Images

The Dow finished up 166 points, up 5% for the week and marking three straight weeks of gains — the index’s longest weekly winning streak in six months. Markets were boosted late in the week thanks to better-than-expected retail sales and an impressive earnings report from Google. And while historically, October has been one of the bumpiest months of the year — it claims eight of the 15 biggest single-day drops in the Dow’s history, but also five of its seven best-performing days — so far this month it’s up 6.7%.

The Dow getting back into the black is a mini-milestone for many investors, but stocks are still down more than 6% from July — before the recent market turbulence. And some financial advisers say many of their clients are still trying to recover their summer losses. Since August, the market has closed up or down by 200 points a remarkable 19 times. Many advisers and investors were caught on the wrong side of those moves – moving to cash as the market rose, or buying shares before a major drop. “It’s a more damaging environment than what just the Dow might be indicating,” says T. Doug Dale, a financial adviser with Security Ballew Wealth Management in Jackson, Miss.

To be sure, some advisers say their clients are back in the black, too — if barely, and not thanks to stocks. Dale says the long-term Treasury bonds he bought and sold for clients during the third quarter helped boost investor portfolios by about 5%, which made up for the 4% dive in their stock portfolios.

Other advisers see the current rally as a sign of things to come. Frank Fantozzi, president of Planned Financial Services, a wealth management firm in Cleveland, says he’s been increasing his client’s exposure to stocks by 15%.  “My feeling is the equity side of things will be positive,” says Fantozzi, who says returns for his clients’ portfolios are flat for the year.

Indeed, if history’s any guide the year could finish on a high note, say advisers. Called “the Santa Claus” effect, stocks historically rise in the fourth quarter — especially following a down third quarter. In years where the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has dropped by 10% or more in the third quarter – as it did this year with a 12% drop—the index has gained an average 7.2% in the fourth quarter, according to Standard & Poor’s Equity Research.

But other advisers are playing defense. Financial adviser Mathew Tuttle moved his clients out of equities at the beginning of August, and into cash and long-term Treasury bonds. He benefited when long term Treasurys rallied in September but has been losing money as Treasury yields have come back up this month. He has also missed out this month’s stock market gains. “We’re going to take risk off the table in a period like this,” says Tuttle, adding that he doesn’t believe the European debt crisis is close to being resolved. “We’ve taken volatility off the table.”


We welcome thoughtful comments from readers. Please comply with our guidelines. Our blogs do not require the use of your real name.

Comments (5 of 8)

View all Comments »
    • By WebOsPublisher

      Retail Interior Decor, Checkstand Lights, Store Signage – Moon International
      product catalog
      moon international website version log
      The official log of changes to the Moon website, from the big to the small to the miniscule.
      v3.1.6 (August 1, 2012)
      [New] Added part CSA004 to Checkstand Accessories (Tent Signs)
      v3.1.5 (March 28, 2012)
      [Update] Updated colors on Power Poles to be more accurate
      [Fix] Corrected channel configuration specs on Power Poles
      v3.1.4 (January 25, 2012)
      [Update] Revised all ‘Straight Bracket’ Fixture Mounted Outrigger renderings
      v3.1.3 (October 4, 2011)
      [New] Added Blank Power Poles to Power Poles
      v3.1.2 (August 8, 2011)
      [New] Added LED Efficiency $ Savings Page
      [New] Added Warranty Info in Product Catalog
      [Update] Changed “Side Mount/Cord Out Bottom” description to “Side Mount/Cord Out Base” on Checkstand $ LED Lights
      [Update] Made green icons on Sustainability more ‘natural green’ and less ‘cartoon green.’
      v3.1.1 (June 17, 2011)
      [Update] New Ultra Light Demo on Checkstand Lights
      [Update] Added UL Listed label/sidebar on Checkstand Lights
      [Update] Added UL Energy Verified label on LED Checkstand Lights
      v3.1 (May 6, 2011)
      [New] Launch of LED Checkstand Lights
      [Update] Minor art adjustment on PPT017
      [Update] Clarified standard and optional mounting on PBB010
      [Update] Updated “Fleet Vehicle Graphics” image in Services
      v3.0.8.4 (April 21, 2011)
      [New] Added ВЎViva! Market to Gallery
      v3.0.8.3 (April 20, 2011)
      [New] Added new 6″ x 5″ Express Signs to Checkstand Accessories
      [Update] Added Stater Bros. wine cabinet to Fixtures Gallery
      v3.0.8.2 (April 7, 2011)
      [Update] Added letter codes to Checkstand Light base options
      v3.0.8.1 (April 1, 2011)
      [Update] Updated all product images on Checkstand Accessories page
      [Update] Updated depth on rectangular Express Caps (EXC019 $ EXC020) to be 6″
      [Update] Changed illustrations on Ultra Light base options to better reflect actual bases
      v3.0.8 (March 31, 2011)
      [New] Added News section
      [Update] Converted Flash elements on home page to Javascript for improved interaction and mobile/iOS compatibility
      [Update] Updated message flip details on Endcap Pricing Systems
      [Update] Added new info and image slideshow to Product Catalog intro page
      v3.0.7 (March 30, 2011)
      [New] Added five new items to ‘Basics’ category in Pricing Systems
      [Update] Added mount details for Economy Endcap Pricing Systems (PBB009-010)
      v3.0.6 (March 18, 2011)
      [New] Added new PVC-based Checkstand Lights (CLS051-053)
      v3.0.5 (March 15, 2011)
      [Update] Added new info and image slideshow to About page
      v3.0.2.2 (February 24, 2011)
      [Update] Updated two part numbers in Checkstand Lights
      v3.0.2.1 (February 7, 2011)
      [New] Added Part #CLS054 to Checkstand Lights
      v3.0.2 (January 31, 2011)
      [New] Added Flip Detail drawing to Pricing Systems sidebar
      [Update] Added 3/4″ round post option to Checkstand Light Base Options
      [Update] Updated more catalog part numbers
      [Fixed] Power Pole Retrofit Adapter Kits now display correct size
      v3.0.1 (January 21, 2011)
      [New] Pricing Systems: Added PSZ005 to ‘basics’ sub-category
      [New] Pricing Systems: Added PBS012, PBS024, PBW018 to ‘classics’ sub-category
      [Update] Updated catalog part numbers
      v3.0 (January 7, 2011)
      [New] Complete re-write, with new layout, structure, logo, color palette, functionality.
      [New] Improved overall navigation by adding several context-sensitive links between sections
      [New] About page
      [New] Clients page
      [New] Sustainability page
      [New] Added company video page
      [Gallery] Brand new, expanded gallery (formerly “Portfolio”)
      [Gallery] Added more stores, bringing total to 17 (up from 4 limited-use galleries on old site)
      [Gallery] Added Signage gallery (replaces ‘Custom’ pages, ‘Lettering’, ‘Graphics’ $ ‘Department Signage’ from old Catalog)
      [Gallery] Added Fixture gallery
      Streamlined Services section for easier navigation
      [Services] Added Concept Renderings to Design $ Engineering
      [Services] Added CAD $ 3D Product Development to Design $ Engineering
      [Services] Added Fixture $ Display Design to Design $ Engineering
      [Services] Added Electrical to Fabrication
      [Services] Added Flatbed Printing to Graphics
      [Services] Added Simulated Realism to Graphics
      [Services] Added Vehicle Wraps to Graphics
      [Services] Added Paint $ Finishes sub-section
      [Services] Added Delivery $ Installation sub-section
      [Catalog] Redesigned intro page with usage instructions
      [Catalog] Brand new illustrations for all products
      [Catalog] Added new LED Lighting category
      [Catalog] Added new Wall Lettering category
      [Catalog] Split Power Poles $ Power Pole Light Tops into separate categories
      [Catalog] Restructured product listings into sub-categories based on shape, design, bracket type, etc
      [Catalog] Greatly expanded Fonts $ Colors page by adding new fonts, a selection of stock colors, and converting these into downloadable PDFs
      [Catalog] Consolidated Express Signs, Express Caps and Checkstand Accessories into a single Checkstand Accessories page
      [Catalog] Added ADA Caps and additional ADA Signs to Checkstand Accessories
      [Catalog] Pulled infographics out of tabbed spec pages into more prominent sidebar in main catalog listing; no more “hidden” info on specs pages
      [Catalog] Added lantern style lights to Checkstand Lights
      [Catalog] Added low-profile Aisle Markers
      [Catalog] Added ‘mini’ Aisle Markers
      [Catalog] Added ‘economy’ Pricing Systems
      [Contact] New sidebar with large, readily-visible phone, fax numbers and e-mail address
      v3.1.6 – Copyright ©2012 Moon International Inc. All rights reserved.

    • By WebOsPublisher

      eViacam / Discussion /
      General:copy paste icons on toolbar
      font-family: “Pictos”;
      src: url(‘’);
      src: local(“☺”), url(‘’) format(‘woff’), url(‘’) format(‘truetype’), url(‘’) format(‘svg’);

      input.label_edit flo

    • You Are Here – October 19, 2011
      by Slipposlappo

      The SP500 Index: consider this the baseline. Do it.

      Sick yet? One cannot help but look at the charts and see a confused market that is bi-polar at best. The good news is that the SP500 Index is still above the 50 Day Simple Moving Average and has even brought the 10 Day Simple Moving Average with it. At today’s close, the SP500 Index is finding immediate support at the August 17, 2011, high of 1208.47 and the September 08, 2011, high of 1204.40; both of which were formed on the low 3 Billion volumes. Should that break, the next support is at the 10 Day Simple Moving Average at 1198.25. Either way, there is some decent support at ~1200, but this market is not known for its timidity. Should that support break, the SP500 Index will likely just continue downwards to the 50 Day Simple Moving Average around 1175.41, which now has a positive slope for a change! It’s not extremely positive that the world seems to be on the edge of the abyss daily, but it is positive that the SP500 Index is still above the 50 Day Simple Moving Average and the 50 Day Simple Moving Average is still trending upwards now. Factually, these are the first events that would need to occur in order for the SP500 Index to recover higher. On the upside, there is mild resistance at 1220.39, which was established on September 20, 2011, on 3.00 Billion volume. With increased volume on the up days for the SP500 Index, this resistance should be easily surpassed. The more significant resistance will occur at 1230.71, the August 17, 2011, high that was established on 3.02 Billion volume. This resistance is emphasized with the October 18, 2011, high of 1233.10 established on 3.93 Billion volume. To add just one more wall to smash through, this resistance will be further enforced by a falling 100 Day Simple Moving Average at 1234.32. Remaining bold in predictions, the SP500 Index will likely test the 50 Day Simple Moving Average, find support, and then travel upwards again to the 100 Day Simple Moving Average; this all being executed so that it can test the slightly downwards sloping 200 Day Simple Moving Average and bring some resolution to if we’re out of the woods or if the woods are on fire.

      The macro-economic picture remains bleak, but the market may be safer than initially meets the eye because of that very reason. Every up and down day seems to hinge on the leaks emanating from behind the doors of central banks, and that says a lot. That tells the average investor that their financial future has very little to do with anything real and has more to do with the unreal and intangible stimulations executed by central banks. This will be discussed more in a future article, but debt has never done anyone, or more importantly, any government any favors; for that reason, debt will be inflated away. Everyone looks at the Eurozone as a failing economic entity, but the truth is that it is a thriving political entity. The mere fact that so many nations can even agree to vote on a common piece of legislation is incredible, especially for a region as fractured as Europe with so many populations that don’t even speak the same language. Try to imagine Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and California even agree to bring a single piece of border legislation to a vote simultaneously, and then through political maneuvering force a unanimous vote for or against the issue. Impossible, yet residents in these states even speak the same language (Texas vs. California debatable). Due to the massive political success of the Eurozone, the region and its currency will likely become even closer than its members find to be comfortable. Either way, governments started running the show once they nationalized corporate debt. Everyone keeps looking at corporations and consumers strictly out of habit as if they matter at all. Look around, nothing real has mattered for a long time. Attacking my own methods, the very basis of technical analysis is that it once provided clues about real trends for the little investors that were not able to afford massive research budgets or insider information afforded to the big firms. Now technical analysis is nothing more than tracking and trading the trends that are being followed by other people doing the exact same thing. The entire process of making a trade nowadays is the equivalent to a sandwich eating itself. Clearly, this is not real. In the world of all things not real, especially trillion dollar nationalized debts incurred by unpaid future mortgages and their aggresively traded derivatives, the only entities capable of bringing enough imaginary firepower to bear are the governments themselves. If ever there were a more useless and self-imposed imaginary set of restraints society put upon itself, government tops the list. We’re all mimes stuck in an invisible box: complete idiots, Slipposlappo included. Cheers!

    • I’m up about 7 percent for the year across all my accounts. The market was going up fast early in the year and we had Europe coming along with the debt limit vote and I figured I had made enough for the year and with all the risk I started pulling my money out. I’m sitting on about 95% cash. It’s looking less likely we are going into recession now but Europe is still too risky for my money.

About Real-Time Advice

  • How breaking news — in the markets, Washington, and around the world — affects you and your money. Have a question about how current events may change your financial future? Email us at