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Your investments and the economy
By Michael Sean Comerford | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 9/15/2007 6:26 AM | Updated: 9/15/2007 7:20 AM

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Market Watch

Janna Sampson of Lisle is a founding partner of OakBrook Investments, with $1.3 billion under management.

What was the tenor of last week's stock market?

"Overall, it was a good week. Much better than we've had recently. The larger cap stocks performed well, up on the week close to 2 percent. The smaller cap stocks trailed quite a bit but it's the best week we've had in several."

Which large caps did better?

"In the large caps, we had the information technologies sector kind of dragging -- although positive on the week -- dragging compared to the other sectors. That's because we had some downgrades in the telecom world … So that pulled down sales in technology and pulled most of technology sector with it."

At $80 a barrel, are oil stocks still a good investment?

"I think most of the oil stocks are close to their cyclical highs, I would think. (Prices) are kind of ugly right now and that's not good for the economy."

You are a McDonald's investor; what happened with its stock last week?

"We had McDividend, then McBuyback, then McSales all in one week. In my mind the sales were the most important. But the dividend went up 50 percent, that's huge … In our view the buyback restores McDonald's back to its normal level. Also, if McDonald's is willing to buy back its stock when it is at an all-time high, they must think it has room to grow. The stock, over the last year, is up over 50 percent. It's up 25 percent since the end of 2006."

Has the risk of a recession risen?

"We had a weak retail sales report this week, showing retail sales at the lowest level -- although positive overall -- at a lower level than we've seen in some time. And when you take out auto sales and transportation, it was actually negative, and (because) two-thirds of the economy is retail spending, having retail sales down is definitely a sign the risks are higher than we might have thought before. I think it is unlikely we'll see a recession but certainly we'll see much slower growth than people had been expecting for the quarter coming up."

What may move markets this week?

"All eyes will be on Tuesday's Fed meeting. It's widely expected the Federal Reserve will cut the Federal Funds rate by at least .25 percent on Tuesday. The market will be extremely disappointed, and sell-off dramatically, if we don't see at least a quarter of a percent cut. There are quite a few people out there, even, looking for a half a percent cut."