Walter L. Woodrick
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Bulls, bears, and sharks

The three creatures named in the headline of this article all play a role in my life as a resident of Gulf County and a certified financial planner practitioner. All three can financially affect me positively or negatively, but I make decisions on a daily basis preventing them from physically or emotionally affecting me. 

The bulls have had a pretty good grasp on the stock markets since Oct. 12, 2022. The S&P 500 (an unmanaged index that cannot be invested in directly and does not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges) is up 53% off its lows from 2022. This increase is in line with the average two-year bull market gain since World War II (excluding 2009 and 2020). This could be a sign that the current bull market doesn’t have much room left to run. Keep in mind: past performance is no guarantee of future performance.

The bears could be coming out of hibernation as we are starting to see signs of a slowdown in consumer spending. I recently read a report that said that the savings account balances that increased during the pandemic have now been spent and that credit card balances are increasing. When I play music around town, I see families from all over the country who are spending a lot of money to come enjoy our beautiful area. Some appear to have all the money they will ever need in a lifetime. Some may be drowning in credit card debt. At some point, the credit limits will be reached and the habits will have to change for these people.

Ultimately, stock prices are a reflection of the current and expected future profits of companies. There are periods where things get out of whack (called “bubbles”), but, ultimately, things typically get back to long-term averages (reversion to the mean). If companies make lower profits, their stock prices go down. And, if we, the American consumer (and to some companies, the international consumer), spend less, companies tend to have lower profits.

Just like the ocean, the markets have an ebb and flow, ups and downs, and things go in and out of favor. Right now, artificial intelligence and technology are pulling the market indices up. But, that won’t continue forever. NVDA shares during the week of June 18, 2024, experienced their first losing week after an eight-week winning streak. We do not know what this means for tomorrow.

We do know, however, that sharks are in the water – financially and physically. We are all aware of the recent shark attack to the west of us. My wife, Wendy, tearfully read a post to me from the young girl’s mother that described the pain and sorrow the mother feels along with the hope that she has due to her Christian faith. Financially, we have to exercise prudence and not go places where and when the risks are too great. Yes, accidents can occur at any time even with the most well-intended plans, but it’s smart to keep the odds in your favor. Make sure you have prudent and timely advice based upon your specific situation, and keep your eyes open for bulls, bears, and sharks.

Gulf County resident Walter L. Woodrick, a certified financial planner practitioner, is author of two books. His website is, and his text number is 850.724.1369. Securities and advisory services are offered through LPL Financial, a registered investment advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC. The opinions voiced in this article are for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. #596054-1

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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