201212.31
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Portfolio Changes

We made several changes to our portfolios today. This was not in response to the fiscal cliff situation. We believe that fiscal policy will continue to be a contentious issue throughout at least the first quarter. Any deal reached today or this week will only be a band aid that allows the two parties to…

201212.20
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Colombia GDP

Colombia reported GDP growth today less than expected. Colombia (GXG) is part of our Select Countries portfolio. BOGOTA, Dec 20 (Reuters) – Colombia posted surprisingly weak third-quarter growth on Thursday as the global slowdown bit into expansion and boosted the likelihood policymakers would cut the benchmark interest rate to spur the sluggish economy. The Andean…

201212.19
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Global Opportunities New Highs

12 of the 27 stocks held in our Global Opportunities portfolio are trading at or near their 52 week highs: ABC, AFL, AMGN, BAM, BIIB, BK, CELG, DASTY, KMB, LXP, V and BHP I think that is pretty remarkable. Most of these stocks we’ve owned for some time (some of them for years) and we…

201212.16
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A Closer Look: Commodities

The GSCI Commodity Index ((GSG)) consists primarily of Energy (71%), but also contains Agriculture (14%), Industrial Metals (7%), Livestock (4%), and Precious Metals (4%). The index currently sits atop support but below both moving averages, and the situation is precarious at best. GSG is essentially flat for the year, down 0.06% for all of 2012….

201212.12
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Revisions, Revisions, Revisions

In the context of the now-permanent establishment of QE, there was little note of the downward revisions to the Fed’s economic “forecast” for both 2012 and 2013. The revisions were minor in the, of course, downward direction, but we just need to give them time to be fully downgraded. Last December, the FOMC said the…

201212.11
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Wholesale Trouble

While last Friday’s jobs report had a decent headline number (if little else), the wholesale report is nothing but trouble. Start with wholesale sales, down 1.2% from September on an adjusted basis, while inventories rose 0.5%. Automobile sales fell 3.1%, dragging durable goods sales 0.9% lower on the month. Even nondurable goods had a difficult…

201212.09
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A Closer Look: World Markets

The S&P 500 ((IVV)) has had a nice run since its June lows, but with the impending fiscal cliff and the corresponding turmoil in Washington, and subsequently in the markets, all that is in danger of coming to an end. The index finds itself at a critical stage, having broken the 50-day and 200-day moving…

201212.09
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Is The US Already In Recession?

Is the US economy already in a recession? That’s what Lakshman Achuthan of the Economic Cycle Research Institute believes. He made the media rounds last week and his message was a simple one – the US economy has been in recession since July of this year. ECRI has a flawless record of predicting US recessions…

201212.07
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Employment & Revisions

The headline in the Establishment survey was quite a bit better than expected, but once again it was at odds with most of the rest of the employment report. The Household survey fell by 122,000 reported jobs, while 350,000 people left the labor force. The number of estimated persons not in the labor force rose…