COMMENTARY | COLUMNISTS | GEORGE CHAMBERLIN

George Chamberlin's Money in the Morning

It's probably just the opposite of what most people think. That's right, stock prices have been moving steadily higher as we head toward the end of 2012 despite the nagging concerns about the "F.C." -- as I like to call it -- and general malaise about where things will be going in the New Year. The Dow Industrials rose last week for the third consecutive week and during that time has gained a nifty 4.5 percent. This, of course, runs counter to the general belief that investors would be selling their profitable stocks before the end of the year to make sure they take advantage of the current low capital gains tax rate. Of course, most investors are smarter than Wall Street economists and media sorts who like to repeatedly say the end is near.

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The highlight of the coming week will be the two-day meeting of the Federal Reserve to review the economy and offer some guidance for 2013. They probably could mail this one in, as few expect anything of importance to result from the gathering, which will likely include lots of eggnog and a trimming-the-tree party. Ben Bernanke will hold a press conference Wednesday morning (11:15 a.m. Pacific Time) to discuss issues.

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There's no good news in the report this morning from the Conference Board. Its Employment Trends Index fell in November compared to the previous month but is up 3.3 percent from November 2011. Gad Levanon of the Conference Board said the index, "remains weak and suggests that employment growth over the next several months is likely to slow again."

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Be careful on the roads today. FedEx is warning this will be the busiest day of the year for package deliveries, with more than 19 million items being delivered from one spot to another. More than 320,000 workers will be on the job today using 90,000 vehicles and 660 aircrafts worldwide to keep things moving. Put it all together and the company expects to deliver 200 packages per second. Overall, FedEx will handle an estimated 280 million packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas, up 13 percent from last year and an all-time record for the holiday season. And people are saying consumers are cutting back on spending.

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Qualcomm came in at an impressive number nine on the CareerBliss report of the 50 Happiest Companies in America for 2013. The list is based on a number of factors including work-life balance, one's relationship with their boss and co-workers, compensation, growth opportunities and company culture. According to the report, "The dedication of employees is rewarded with an excellent Qualcomm benefits package. Many employees are able to earn vacation time and are offered the opportunity to further their training and education. Qualcomm also offers employees adoption assistance and runs a program that focuses on helping employees balance their family, home and work life." By the way, Pfizer earned the honor of the happiest company in America. Interestingly, the drug company is followed on the list by two government operations: NASA and the Department of Defense.

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There is a mini-merger in the news this morning. Heelys, the skate shoe company, is being bought by Sequential Brands Group for $63 million -- walking around money compared to many of the multibillion dollar deals these days. The offer works out to $2.25 a share for Heelys. The company went public in December 2006 at $21 and was moving at $38 a month later. However, by the end of 2007 the stock had plunged to $6 a share and never was able to regain any traction.

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Chargers fans can smile. The Bolts went on the road to Pittsburgh and put it to the Steelers, 34-24. Of course, too little too late. My take away from the game is this: Who knew the Steelers were such a bad team?

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