Warning For Slower Growth Ahead

Where’s the beef? You might remember that great advertising slogan for Wendy’s. The same question can be applied to the stock market today. Just where is the leadership in this market?

The broad market indices are up around 5-year highs, but I’m worried about a few benchmark stocks. Don’t get me wrong, I still think the overall trend for stocks is positive, but I’m not super bullish because some great companies aren’t participating in this market.

General Electric; otherwise known as one of the economy’s benchmark companies isn’t doing great on the stock market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is going up, but it is doing so without GE’s help. The stock hasn’t done anything for the last two years and has been trending lower since June of 2005.

IBM also isn’t participating in the renewed enthusiasm for technology stocks. Big blue’s been trending lower since early 2004 and the company continues to layoff staff.

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Even good old Johnson & Johnson, the benchmark pharmaceutical, healthcare, consumer products company is having a tough time in this market. The stock has been going down significantly since May of 2005.

It isn’t a big deal, but the performance of these stocks bothers me because they are benchmark companies. Fortunately, the Dow Jones index hasn’t required their help.

I think the stock market performance of these three companies raises a red flag for stock market speculators. There are lots of good opportunities in the stock market right now, but I think a little caution is appropriate. Perhaps these well managed large-cap companies are telling us something that the market doesn’t want to hear. Is the stock market performance of these global, benchmark companies indicative of the future?

I think the recent performance of these great companies serves as a warning of slower economic growth ahead. They also indicate to me that the stock market isn’t fully healthy right now and that we are due for correction soon. All that’s required for the correction to start is a catalyst.