COMMENTARY | COLUMNISTS | GEORGE CHAMBERLIN

George Chamberlin's Money in the Morning

Two weeks in a row. 2013 is off to a good start and has yet to have a down week this year. Granted, there have only been two week in the new year, but it is better than two down weeks. Last week’s gain in the Dow Industrials was a modest 40 points but, combined with the previous week, the index is up an impressive 4.25 percent. This week brings back some key economic reports including updates on producer and consumer prices, as well as some housing reports.

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Fed head Ben Bernanke will deliver a key speech this afternoon at the University of Michigan. He is expected to expand on the role the Fed plays in the economic recovery and actually take questions from the live audience and online viewers.

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Apple is weighing on the markets today. There have been reports the company is reducing orders for components used to assemble the iPhone 5 in China. Apple says it is old news. In addition, the company has denied its plans to launch a cheaper version of the iPhone using plastic cases instead of the current aluminum casings. And the final rumor is a new iPad will be rolled out in March. Too many rumors are rarely good for any company's stock.

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It is interesting timing for San Diego's Websense to report the appointment of a new CEO. John McCormick will immediately take over the controls of the company from Gene Hodges, who is retiring after serving as chief executive since 2006. John Carrington, chairman of the board, said "we are confident that he leaves Websense well-positioned as we continue to expand our technology leadership and achieve corporate objectives."

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Meg Whitman had a better year in 2012 than Hewlett-Packard shareholders. While shares of HP fell 45 percent last year, Meg saw her compensation as CEO climb to $15.4 million. Granted, her salary is just $1, but she received stock bonuses and options inflation to overall compensation. Whitman inherited a real mess at HP and it will take some time to turn things around.

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Speaking of Hewlett-Packard, a report this morning from Gartner analysts show HP continues to hold the top spot in worldwide shipments of personal computers in the fourth quarter of 2012. The company shipped 14.6 million units in the quarter for 16.2 percent of the market share. That topped both Lenovo and Dell. However, industry wide, shipments were down 4.9 percent from the same period a year ago. The explanation is very simple: "Tablets have dramatically changed the device landscape for PCs, not so much by 'cannibalizing' PC sales, but by causing PC users to shift consumption to tablets rather than replacing older PCs," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner.

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I have to say I'm a bit suspicious of this whole flu thing. Once again the media has whipped the populace into a frenzy about the "epidemic." By the way, the NIH says every year we have a flu epidemic based on the number of people who get sick. I was encouraged by two doctors on Fox News this weekend who worried about the number of people going to emergency rooms simply because they had a cold but assumed it was the dreaded flu. I also noted a report there is a shortage of Tamiflu, a prescription treatment for people with flu symptoms. That leads me to wonder if other companies, besides the maker of Tamiflu, Genentech, might be benefiting from this year's flu season. I'm pretty sure I had the flu a few weeks ago and I know my 8-year-old granddaughter did, but we made it through. I'm sure some people have suffered complications from the flu this year, but that happens every year.

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There are probably not too many local fans disappointed to see the Denver Broncos lose to the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday. It was interesting to watch Peyton Manning play so well for so long and then make rookie blunders to give it away. But, that's why they play the game. It looks to me like a 49ers and Patriots matchup is looming for the Super Bowl. Both teams looked awesome yesterday. I'm guessing the Falcons will be favored over the Niners, but the way they let Seattle back into the game in the second half tells you something about their defense.

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Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy might want to look back over their shoulders at a couple of rookies who tore it up this past weekend at the first full field PGA tournament of the year in Honolulu. Russell Henley won the $1 million prize for winning the Sony Open with three rounds of 63 and a 67. That is sick. For the first three rounds he was playing stroke-for-stroke with his good friend, Scott Langley, also a rookie. However, Langley posted a 70 yesterday that dropped him to a tie for third, picking up a check for $324,800. It will be interesting to see if they can continue to play at this caliber.

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