Dow Diary: Almost the Best September Ever!

Dear Diary,

Seven point seven. Write that down. That’s my percentage increase for September, the best I’ve done this time of year since 1939. Even after today’s 47-point decline, I’m feeling pretty righteous about how I’ve handled this month, which is typically a harsh and painful time for me.

A few nuggets of economic optimism helped me through the day. A new government estimate of second-quarter GDP was revised slightly upward, and weekly jobless claims fell to 453,000 from 469,000. Plus, the Chicago Purchasing Managers’ Index came in stronger than expected. Could that mean green shoots? I’m not going whole hog on optimism, but good numbers are better than bad numbers, and today we got some good numbers. And as you can see from my 7.7 percent gain this month, I’m just generally less queasy about the economy than I had been.

As I’ve said, I’m still a little iffy on what the immediate future holds. The open question of whether the Bush-era tax cuts will expire, coupled with uncertainty about the Federal Reserve’s policy to stimulate the economy, make it a little harder to sleep at night. And then there’s the sovereign debt mess in Europe. Moody’s downgraded Spain’s credit rating, not exactly a way to start a “running of the bulls,” if you take my meaning.

Meanwhile, it was nice to see AIG (one of my stocks until 2008) figure out a deal to help it get out from under government control. It kills me to see a company that was so dear to my heart have to answer to bureaucrats, so I’m hoping the transition goes smoothly. They have a long way to go, but I’m rooting for them.

Here’s hoping October is somewhere near as good as September was.

Toodle-oo,

The Dow Jones Industrial Average

Dow Diary: Almost the Best September Ever!