COMMENTARY | COLUMNISTS | GEORGE CHAMBERLIN

George Chamberlin's Money in the Morning

Stocks have opened higher this morning after another day of modest selling on Tuesday. The profit taking has been very orderly following big gains last week, with the Dow Industrials up nearly 400 points. Today's move might be in response to the start of earnings season. Last night after the close of trading, Alcoa kicked off 4Q reports with numbers slightly above expectations and a positive forecast for 2013. The stock is little changed today but at least it isn't trading lower, which is what has happened following previous quarterly reports.

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LinkedIn, the professional social media network, announced today it has reached 200 million members. It has added 13 million new members since its last update in November, which works out to a new member being added every two seconds. Shares of LinkedIn have seen the biggest success on Wall Street of all the social media companies to go public. It hit the Street at $45 a share in May 2011. The stock is trading this morning at $113, up a couple of bucks today. Of course, when the IPO was announced investors were advised to stay away and wait instead for the Facebook offering. How did that work out? In all fairness, Facebook stock has rebounded lately. The IPO last May was priced at $38; four months later the stock had fallen below $18. It has been moving higher lately and is moving at just below $30 today.

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By the way, Facebook has sent out a message to analysts inviting them to an event next Tuesday. No details on what to expect.

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Don't worry, be happy. That seems to be the result of a new survey showing people have made a resolution to have a more positive outlook in 2013. To accomplish that goal, 87 percent of the people surveyed said they will surround themselves with other happy individuals. "Happiness is often tied to one's sense of accomplishment, but what people sometimes forget is that the little things count -- and in a very big way -- toward feeling good," said Dr. Christine Carter a "happiness expert" at UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center. Your tax dollars at work.

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One thing that should make people happy in 2013 is news from AAA saying gasoline prices will be lower in 2013 than last year. While prices may move up a little bit at the start of the year, the trend will reverse and summer prices should drop to around $3.20 a gallon. The average price for gas last year was a record $3.94. "Absent significant storms, major wars or production and distribution outages, the single largest factor that will influence gasoline prices in 2013 will be the strength of the U.S. economy," said AAA CEO Robert Darbelnet.

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It is going to take a bit longer to get your tax refund this year. The IRS said yesterday it will not be able to begin processing tax returns until Jan. 30 thanks to the inability of Congress and the Obama administration to deal with the "fiscal cliff" until after the start of the New Year. Most early filers, of course, are people expecting a tax refund, so the delay to comply with the American Taxpayer Relief Act -- has there ever been a more inaccurate title for a piece of legislation? -- means they will have to wait until sometime in February. By the way, that could impact consumer spending as people use the money to make purchases for things like Valentine's Day. The fastest way to get your refund, according to the IRS, is to file electronically. Details are available at www.irs.gov.

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