COMMENTARY | COLUMNISTS | GEORGE CHAMBERLIN

George Chamberlin's Money in the Morning

Investors took a bite out of Apple yesterday and the overall market followed the stock lower. Apple stock dropped $9 to $690 despite the successful launch of the iPhone 5 over the weekend. Balancing the drop in Apple was a sharp increase in Google, which rose $15 to $749, a new all-time high for the company since its IPO in 2004. Overall, stocks were slightly lower with the Dow Industrials down 20 points.

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Consumer confidence rose to the highest level since February, according to the latest report from the Conference Board. You would think that was good news, right? Well, the people who put the report together seem to always find a way to put a negative spin on the news. For instance, economist Lynn Franco said, "Despite continuing economic uncertainty, consumers are slightly more optimistic than they have been in several months." It is sort of like he is saying, "Hey, fools, don't you realize things are still pretty bleak out there? How can you possibly be more confident?" Much to the surprise of the Conference Board experts, consumers were actually more optimistic about the job market and their own personal financial situation.

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Consumers are also probably more optimistic because of the rebound in home prices. The Case-Shiller report out today shows home prices in the 20 largest metropolitan areas, including San Diego, rose in July for the fourth consecutive month. "The news on home prices in this report confirm recent good news about housing. Single-family housing starts are well ahead of last year's pace, existing home sales are up, the inventory of homes for sale is down and foreclosure activity is slowing. All in all, we are more optimistic about housing," said David Blitzer of S&P Dow Jones indices.

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Toys "R" Us has joined the list of retailers putting out the "help wanted" sign for the holidays. The company says it will hire 45,000 workers to help out during the busiest shopping season of the year, up 15 percent from last year. In particular, the increased staffing will be necessary to facilitate the "Buy Online, Pick Up in Store" campaign that is part of the "omnichannel" marketing strategy. By the Way, Toys "R" Us says 16 percent of the seasonal hires last year wound up staying with the company as full-time employees.

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A special event will be held in Carlsbad tomorrow afternoon when Domino's Pizza opens its 9,999th store. The ceremonies at 3 p.m. will be held at the new location, 1854 Marron Road. The public is invited to attend the celebration and the first 999 people will get a chance to open a box containing certificates for free food, and 99 of the boxes will include certificates for free pizza for a year. Domino's also will make a donation of $9,999 to Rady Children's Hospital. The franchise owners for the new location are Dan Hosseini and Shane Casey.

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An interesting new study from the Manhattan Institute takes a look at where people move when they decide to leave California. The call it "The Great California Exodus" and explore the direction of the 3.4 million people who have packed up and left the state since 1990. To be sure, California's population has increased during that time as a result of a high birth rate and people moving here from other countries.

"The data suggest that many cost-drivers -- taxes, regulations, the high price of housing and commercial real estate, costly electricity, union power, and high labor costs -- are prompting businesses to locate outside California, thus helping to drive the exodus," reads the report. So, it probably comes as no surprise the states benefiting from the outflow are Texas, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon and Washington.

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A very boring football game last night turned very interesting in the final seconds. The Monday Night Football game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks was pretty much a yawner until a so-called "Hail Mary" pass by the Hawks on the last play of the game led to a controversy being discussed in offices and on sports radio this morning. What seemed to be an interception by Green Bay turned into a touchdown reception for Seattle. The blame, of course, goes to the substitute referees filling in for the regulars because of a labor dispute. Very strange. However, watching some games over the weekend it comes as no surprise.

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