Dow Drops 100 as Boeing Leads Decliners; China Chokes Caterpillar

Stocks fell this morning after Chinese exports plunged. Find out what's happening in the market in early trading.

Mar 10, 2014 at 11:00AM

Monday morning, the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI) responded to news on the international front once more, but for many investors the source was probably a surprise. Without market-moving news from Russia and Ukraine, economic data from China took center stage, with an 18% plunge in exports from the emerging-market giant once again raising fears of slowing economic growth as the nation's trade balance turned from surplus to deficit. As of 11 a.m. EDT, the Dow was down 108 points, with Boeing (NYSE:BA) posting the worst decline and Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) also falling because of its connection to China.

Boeing was off more than 2.5% as the aircraft maker had to deal with several problems. After the company said Friday afternoon that hairline fractures in some of its 787 Dreamliner aircraft being built could cause minor production delays, a Japan Airlines 787 flying from Tokyo to San Francisco had to make an emergency landing in Hawaii over the weekend when an oil-pressure drop triggered warnings. Combined with the disappearance and presumed crash of a Malaysia Airlines 777, Boeing is starting to see investor fatigue from the repeated news items hitting its newer aircraft models. Until the problems are resolved, Boeing might finally see the substantial correction in its stock that it has avoided for more than a year.

Meanwhile, Caterpillar fell about 0.7% following the news from China. With exports falling, China caused many key commodities markets, including crude oil and base metals such as copper, to drop in response. Copper hit a 2014 low, sending Southern Copper (NYSE:SCCO) to a 4% loss and Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (NYSE:FCX) down more than 3%. That in turn will hurt Caterpillar, whose mining-equipment business needs a full-blown recovery in commodities markets to continue. Unfortunately, with China driving so much of the world's economic growth lately, bad news from that economy ripples across the globe; Caterpillar's recovery is fragile enough that a longer-term disruption in China's economy would cause substantial problems throughout the industrial sector.

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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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