February 2006: Big Changes for America

Charles Payne
The calendar says that the new year begins on the first day of January, but in 2006 the new year may have begun on first day in February. February, the month that brings us cupids and groundhogs, is also the month that comes on the heels of major changes at the Federal Reserve and the Supreme Court. The biggest change, however, seems to be in the atmosphere of the nation.

Tune in this weekend to our Business Block, Saturday beginning at 10am ET, for more with Charles Payne and the entire FNC business team.

The catalyst for all this rejuvenation comes from the White House, which has decided to set the tone this year, rather than counter punch itself into how it spent most of 2005. Even before the State of the Union address, there was a sense that the president was gaining traction. In addition to the aforementioned political victories of Alito and Bernanke, there were other signs that public opinion was on the road to recovery. Consumer confidence is at a three-year high, corporate profits have been coming in at an all-time high, and even the bad news from Iraq seems to be coming with less frequency.

The president says that 2006 will be a “decisive” year, and indeed, it looks like it will be a crossroads. It isn’t just that there will be a lot of good news; it's that Americans will be more receptive to good news. I’m not talking about rose-colored glasses. I’m talking about seeing through the grime that hid a ton of good fortune in 2005. This year already has a different attitude than last year. This year has taken a cue from a famous lyrics: “I can see clearly now the rain is gone…I can see all obstacles in my way.” Last year the president came out of the gate, perhaps in a fit of arrogance, and tried to be everything except the person given an overwhelming victory by the American people. Security for Social Security is a noble cause, but the timing was wrong and the White House pulled it out of a hat when the agenda was already given a stamp of approval.

There will be no such mistakes this year, the year that for all intents and purposes began on February 1, 2006. The president took on a variety of topics such as AIDS, immigration, healthcare and protectionism. His demeanor was solid and his words firm. Heck, Bush even baffled his detractors with talk that Americans have an “addiction to oil.” Gasp! By championing alternative energy, the president displayed an open-mindedness that gives all Americans hope. That hope was manifested in the stock market. Everyone has heard of the "January Effect," which states that the first day, or first week, or entire month of January will be the barometer and set the tone for the remainder of the year. On February 1, 2006 the market faced the prospect that its favorite stock, Google, would be opening down as much as $60 a share. Indeed, the Internet search engine shares finished the session off at more than $30, but the Dow was up 89 points and the NASDAQ Composite, where Google carries significant influence, was up almost five points.

If this were last year, the stock market would have been down — big! Instead, this is a new year, and it began on February 1, 2006. The president has spoken and the stock market has spoken. Happy New Year.

Tune in this weekend to our Business Block, Saturday beginning at 10am ET, for more with Charles Payne and the entire FNC business team.

Charles Payne is the founder and CEO of www.wstreet.com and appears regularly on FNC's Cost of Freedom Business Block.

Charles Payne is the host of Making Money with Charles Payne (weekdays 6-7 PM/ET).