COMMENTARY | COLUMNISTS | GEORGE CHAMBERLIN

George Chamberlin's Money in the Morning

The markets were open yesterday, Veterans Day, but nobody seemed to notice. At the end of the day the three major market indexes closed within a fraction of a point from where they were at the start of the day. However, the apparent stability won't last very long. It looks like stocks will continue to drift lower today as Congress returns from the election recess to face the challenges of the fiscal cliff.

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Marketwatch.com now has a "Countdown to fiscal cliff" clock on its home page providing a second-by-second report on how much longer we have before Congress and the president run out of time to fix the $600 billion tax deadline.

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Home Depot shares are higher this morning after reporting higher earnings in the third quarter. CEO Frank Blake said the results "were better than we expected and reflected, in part, what we believe is the start of the path toward the healing of the housing market." He also pointed out the company and its associates have been working hard to help businesses and families that were impacted by Superstorm Sandy along the eastern seaboard.

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Research in Motion has announced it will introduce the new BlackBerry 10 smartphone on Jan. 30 with sales expected to begin by March 2013. The Canadian company is calling it a "make-or-break" situation as products have lost market share in recent years to Apple's iPhones and the Galaxy products from Samsung. It will be the first BlackBerry to come with a touchscreen as well as the traditional keyboard. The release of the BB10 has been delayed twice.

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A new survey by Ebates.com finds kids want technology under the Christmas tree this year. For boys between the ages of 8-18 the top item on their list is a 10-inch tablet device like an iPad. Girls say they want the latest iPhone or clothes.

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Deckers Outdoors, an apparel company for camping and other activities, says that its Ugg brand of boots "is not dead," though sales are down sharply. The company's most recent report said Uggs remain a "must-have" item in parts of the country. I never quite got the whole Uggs thing; I guess they are some kind of fashion statement. The most amusing thing here in SoCal is seeing people with the thick boots on and wearing shorts. You are either cold or you're not.

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It was sad to learn over the weekend of the passing of Jim Flick, one of the most respected golf coaches in the country over the past 40 years or so. Flick became famous for his work with Jack Nicklaus early in his career and has been sought out by both men and women professionals for his advice. I had the amazing honor of spending an hour on the driving range at TaylorMade in Carlsbad with Jim last year and it was a wonderful experience. His calm and simple approach to the game made even hackers like me feel comfortable. Flick lived in Carlsbad and passed at the age of 82. He will be missed by many.

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