COMMENTARY | COLUMNISTS | GEORGE CHAMBERLIN

George Chamberlin's Money in the Morning

It's a small thing but it could be a sign. In the four weeks since the presidential election the financial markets have, to put it mildly, struggled. Sure, we had a good week last week but some would say it was impacted by the holidays. Yesterday, however, provided a spark of hope. In recent weeks any attempt to rally has been quickly slapped down and markets had a tendency to close at the lowest levels of the day. The Dow Industrials yesterday fell sharply, down 110 points in the first hour, but slowly worked their way back to finish with a loss of just 42 points. No guarantee, but this is the kind of thing you see when markets are trying to regain some positive footing.

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The S&P Case-Shiller home price index released this morning showed another increase, making it six months in a row that prices in the 20 largest metropolitan markets have moved higher. The report showed prices nationwide rose 0.3 percent in the third quarter while prices in San Diego were up 1.4 percent, the biggest increase among all regions. "It is safe to say that we are now in the midst of a recovery in the housing market," said the usually conservative David Blitzer of S&P.

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Also out today is the latest reading on consumer confidence. The Conference Board reports its index rose in November to the highest level in more than four and a half years. Of course, the folks at the Board, who must have the gloomiest Christmas party, felt it necessary to tone down the good news. Lynn Franco said about the rise in the consumer confidence index, "This month's moderate improvement was the result of an uptick in expectations, while consumers' assessment of present-day conditions continue to hold steady." Overall, people are feeling more optimistic about their ability to find a job. Most economists, of course, feel just the opposite.

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Another example of the media glee over "bad news" is evident this morning in the TransUnion report on car loan delinquencies. I saw several reports on TV this morning blaring the news that the national rate of people late making their payments rose in the third quarter. What was omitted from the stories was the actual delinquency rate: 0.38 percent. While it is true the rate is up from 0.33 percent in the second quarter, it is also down dramatically from a year ago when the rate was 0.47 percent. But, somehow the reporters never were able to get to that fact.

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Some interesting awards have been handed out to local companies. For instance, the San Diego Metro KOA Campground was named the 2013 KOA Campground of the Year at the organization’s annual meeting in Orlando. The local campground, actually located in Chula Vista, also received the same honor in 1985, making it the first repeat winner in the 50-year history of Kampgrounds of America. The local KOA is a real family business. Ted Bell built the campground in 1967 at the same time he was working as a detective for the Chula Vista Police Department. His son, Mike, joined the business when he graduated from college and his three children are all working for the family business.

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The College of Business Administration at SDSU was honored by Financial Planning magazine as one of the top 25 "Great schools for future financial planners." Dr. Michael Cunningham, dean of the college, said, "Over 30 years ago, the college laid the foundation for a top-notch financial planning program by offering students a ground-breaking curriculum taught by innovative and dedicated faculty members."

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The SDSU football team will certainly have the home-field advantage for this years' San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium on Dec. 20. They will take on Mountain West rival BYU in what should be a heck of a good football game. It will surely be a better football game than the one being played at the Q this coming Sunday -- which most certainly will again be blacked out for local Chargers fans.

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