COMMENTARY | COLUMNISTS | GEORGE CHAMBERLIN

George Chamberlin's Money in the Morning

Not even a drop in shares of Apple this morning can take the wind out of the Dow Industrials. There seems to be a growing consensus that the place to be in 2013 is in blue chip stocks, large cap companies that will ride the economic recovery higher. In early trading today the Dow is up another 80 points, bringing the gain for January to 755 points, more than 5 percent. As a result, the Dow is now just 2 percent -- 300 points -- away from the all-time high of 14,164 set on Oct. 9, 2007.

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Shares of Apple are getting clobbered this morning, down 10 percent in early trading. That works out to a loss of more than $50 to near $458. After the close last night the company reported record revenues of $545 billion in the past quarter, profits of $13.1 billion, and more than $40 billion in cash and short-term securities in the bank. It also said it sold 47.8 million iPhones in the quarter, up from 37 million in the same period a year ago. Also, 22.9 million iPads were sold, up from 15.4 million a year ago. Sales of Mac computers did decline a bit at 4.1 million units, down from last year when it sold 5.2 million Macs in the fourth quarter. What soured investors were comments from CEO Tim Cook, who said things could be a bit slower in coming quarters.

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The Dow is getting a boost this morning from another positive economic report. The Department of Labor said initial claims for jobless benefits fell 5,000 in the past week to 330,000, the lowest level since January 2008. And, the Conference Board reported this morning its index of leading economic indicators -- a sign of activity over the next six to nine months -- rose sharply in January. "The latest data suggest that a pick-up in domestic growth is now more likely, compared to a few months ago," said economist Ken Goldstein. Ah, but he needed to throw in the obligatory negative spin, saying, "However, for growth to gain more traction we also need to see better performance on new orders and an acceleration in capital spending."

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Speaking of jobs, another report from the Department of Labor shows the total number of union workers fell by 400,000 in 2012 to 14.3 million, the lowest level in 97 years.

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This comes as no surprise to people in San Diego, but a report from Mintel, a consumer information company, finds craft beer sales are expected to rise from $12 billion in 2012 to $18 billion by 2017. "Unlike its domestic and imported beers counterparts, craft beer has been able to defy overall beer market trends and continue expansion during the economic downturn and subsequent slow recovery," said Jennifer Zegler of Mintel. The survey also found 24 percent of consumers who drink beer prefer craft beers.

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The problems for Boeing continue to mount as the fleet of 787 Dreamliners has been grounded and orders for the planes have dropped as a result of potential problems in the electrical system. According to the Wall Street Journal, even Michael Dell is impacted by the delay in production of the Dreamliner. There is talk Dell is buying a 787 for his own personal use and will have to wait for production to resume to get his new toy. The price tag for a Dreamliner is about $207 million.

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It was good to see the Aztecs snap a two-game losing streak last night as they beat Nevada, 78-57. But the college stunner last night was the upset by Miami over No. 1-ranked Duke, 90-63. And, it really wasn't that close.

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Looks like it will be a soggy start to the Farmers Insurance Open today at Torrey Pines. A modest storm cell moved through the area this morning but shouldn't have any impact on play and it probably will be beautiful by the weekend when the TV broadcast moves from the Golf Channel to CBS. Am I the only one who is tired of all the talk about Phil, his taxes, and where he decides to live? There are few things funnier than sports reporters trying to talk about personal finance issues. Does the term "clueless" sound appropriate?

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