Markets Tumble Across the Board: Everything Is Lower. Well, Almost Everything.

Dow tanks, with only a handful of winners on the market.

Feb 3, 2014 at 9:00PM

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

It was a sea of red on Wall Street today, as the markets continue January's sell-off during the first trading day of February. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) ended the day down 326 points, or 2.08%, while the S&P 500 fell 2.28%, and the Nasdaq slid 2.61%. The big declines came after the Institute for Supply Management released data indicating that the Purchasing Managers Index, essentially an indication of how purchasing managers feel about the economy, fell from a 56.5 in December to 51.3 January. Analysts expected  a figure of around 56 for January.

Is it time to run for the hills and get out before things get worse? Well, we at the Fool believe in long-term investing, and I'm here to say that now is the time to do nothing, just as if the markets were up, rather than down, by 7% year to date. In fact, if you must make a move, buy more of the companies you love. There's no need to sell. For more about the market sell-off, read a few of my more recent articles about how to think about what's happening in the markets right now: "The Challenge of Fighting Your Emotions" and "How to Think About 2014."

Now, back to day's moves.

Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) was the only one of the Dow's 30 components that ended the session in the black. The stock rose 0.66% after the company announced that its breast cancer treatment palbociclib in clinical trials has successfully met its goals of delaying progressive symptoms in women who have locally advanced or newly diagnosed metastatic cancer. Some analysts believe this drug could top $5 billion in sales if the FDA approves it. If that happens, it could become Pfizer's next blockbuster drug.  

Two other winners may simply have had great days because of their Super Bowl ads. Shares of RadioShack increased more than 3.3% today, while CarMax (NYSE:KMX) saw a 1.44% rise. Neither company had any real news pertaining to it today, so it looks as if shelling out millions for a Super Bowl spot paid off, at least temporarily, for these companies.

Elsewhere, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) rose 0.19% as some analysts are now calling the stock a correction protection trade. Shares are currently trading at 12 times past earnings and under 11 times future expected earnings. The stock pays a 2.4% dividend yield, and while the company is set for a $100 billion buyback, many investors, including Carl Ichan are pushing for even more. The buyback plan alone should act like a backstop for shares to fall dramatically lower, which may be one reason the stock rose today, as many on Wall Street think a more substantial correction of 10% or more is on its way.

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Matt Thalman owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Apple and CarMax. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

A Financial Plan on an Index Card

Keeping it simple.

Aug 7, 2015 at 11:26AM

Two years ago, University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack wrote his entire financial plan on an index card.

It blew up. People loved the idea. Financial advice is often intentionally complicated. Obscurity lets advisors charge higher fees. But the most important parts are painfully simple. Here's how Pollack put it:

The card came out of chat I had regarding what I view as the financial industry's basic dilemma: The best investment advice fits on an index card. A commenter asked for the actual index card. Although I was originally speaking in metaphor, I grabbed a pen and one of my daughter's note cards, scribbled this out in maybe three minutes, snapped a picture with my iPhone, and the rest was history.

More advisors and investors caught onto the idea and started writing their own financial plans on a single index card.

I love the exercise, because it makes you think about what's important and forces you to be succinct.

So, here's my index-card financial plan:


Everything else is details. 

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