COMMENTARY | COLUMNISTS | GEORGE CHAMBERLIN

George Chamberlin's Money in the Morning

Maybe, just maybe, the folks in Washington will actually come up with a plan to deal with the "F.C." before the end of the year. That seems to be the opinion on Wall Street as stocks rose for the fifth consecutive session yesterday. The Dow Industrials rose by 79 points, one of the best performances in several weeks, although the index had been up triple digits through most of the session. The Dow is now up 1.7 percent in December and 8.4 percent on the year.

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Investors will now wait for the latest release from the Federal Reserve on the economy due out at 9:30 a.m. Pacific time today. It is expected the Fed will extend its program to buy $40 billion a month in mortgage securities in order to keep interest rates unusually low. There is a chance they could even raise the monthly amount of the program. Ben Bernanke will hold his last press conference of 2012 at 11:15 a.m. Pacific time to explain the Fed's actions.

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OPEC ministers have announced this morning there will be no change in production levels, maintaining the current 30 million barrels a day. The 17-nation cartel is actually producing about a million barrels a day more than the current quota in an effort to take advantage of the market price of crude, which this morning is moving at $87 a barrel, up a bit more than a buck on the day.

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An interesting report issued yesterday by the National Intelligence Council says China will become the world's leading economic power by 2030, but America will remain an "indispensible world leader." The report points out the United States will be bolstered by an era of energy independence. Perhaps the most interesting item in the report is the reference to the spreading influence of the global middle class that will be better educated, have more access to health care and communications technologies.

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How would you like to own a stock that goes up $3,247 in one day? That's right, the stock price is up $3,247, not up to $3,247. Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett's company, announced this morning it is buying back $1.2 billion worth of stock from a single, unidentified investor. The news pushed the share price up more than 2 percent to $134,078. Buffett is not a big fan of stock buybacks, even his own company, and has strict rules about when and how the shares can be purchased. Either way, the big move today is an early Christmas present to his loyal shareholders.

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Speaking of presents, U.S. Global Investors, a publicly traded investment advisory firm, has announced it will pay a one-time special "Santa Claus" dividend to its shareholders on New Year's Eve. "The 'Fiscal Cliff' drama is threatening the wealth of all hard-working savers and investors. Our shareholders benefit substantially by receiving this special dividend in 2012 while the tax rate is a fair and reasonable 15 percent," said CEO Frank Holmes.

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With the likelihood of another home game blackout for the Chargers this Sunday against the Panthers, the season is thankfully winding to an end. Making matters worse -- and showing the low regard of the team -- NBC has demoted the Dec. 23 game between the Chargers and the Jets from the featured evening broadcast and replaced it with a matchup of the Seahawks and 49ers. The Charger game will be aired at 10 a.m., Pacific time, on CBS from New Jersey. At least that game won't be blacked out.

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