Surprises in Store for 2004
3. Facing rising energy prices, the automobile industry's fortunes erode dramatically as the consumer is nonresponsive to further incentives. Ford (F) loses more than $1 billion in the second quarter of the year. William Ford Jr. steps down.
4. With the cost of capital declining to unprecedented low levels, a relatively quick restoration of order in South America and the emergence of an overall calm in Iraq (as President Bush orders more troops in to stabilize that country), merger activity explodes and stock prices follow suit. The world equities markets end the year nearly 30% higher than the May lows and close at about 15% higher than year-end 2003 levels. Financial stocks and, briefly, oil stocks are the principal market leaders, but technology stocks languish throughout the entire year (portability proves to be a nonevent) and end the year slightly lower than at 2003's year end.
Despite a widespread belief that housing activity will fall off the cliff, the rise in home prices (fueled by ever-lower mortgage rates) continues apace and begins to resemble the bubble in the Nasdaq of the late 1990s.5. Beginning at midyear, Genworth Financial, the General Electric spinoff, embarks on a series of high-profile acquisitions (which include CNA Financial (CNA), Fidelity Financial and H&R Block (HRB)), spurring an unprecedented round of industry consolidation in the financial sector. 6. After the minipanic in the markets in the first half, and in response to Genworth Financial's takeover announcements, the following acquisitions are announced and consummated:
Merck (MRK) acquires Schering-Plough (SGP).
Fidelity acquires Janus (JNS).
News Corp. (NWS) and MGM Mirage (MGG) acquire a loss-ridden DreamWorks.
J.P. Morgan (JPM) acquires Countrywide Credit.
Fifth Third Banks (FITB) acquires National Commerce Financial (NCF).
Wachovia (WB) acquires First Tennessee (FTN).
GrupoTelevisa (TV) acquires Univision (UVN).
Wells Fargo (WFC) acquires Capital One (COF).
Tyco (TYC) acquires Toll Brothers (TOL).
Citigroup (C) acquires Alliance Capital (AC).
Polo Ralph Lauren (RL) is acquired in a leveraged buyout.
Nike (NKE) acquires Gap Stores (GPS).
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV