COMMENTARY | COLUMNISTS | GEORGE CHAMBERLIN

George Chamberlin's Money in the Morning

Just as tides flow in and out, so do stock prices go up and down. It seems every rally on Wall Street is followed immediately with a decline. Monday saw the Dow industrials gain 125 points followed by a 180-point decline yesterday. Things are off to a quiet start today as investors wait for tomorrow's speech by Fed chair Janet Yellen and the anticipation that she may clear up some of the many concerns people have about the recent decision to leave Fed interest rates unchanged.

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So where are people putting their money? The U.S. Treasury yesterday auctioned off $15 billion in one-month Treasury bills with an interest rate of zero. That's right, loan your money to the Federal government for 30 days and get paid not even one cent of interest. That is a very clear indicator of how scared people seem to be, thanks to CNBC and the other fear-breeding media outlets.

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By the way, that auction of one-month notes saw 9.47 cents in bids for each dollar sold, the highest ratio of bidders to the size of the auction in history. Just another example of how many people are more concerned with the return of their money rather than the return on their money.

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And, this willingness to accept an investment with absolutely no return is a contrarian's dream. The higher the level of fear the more likely stocks will rally. As Buffett and others have said many times, buy when others are selling and sell when others are buying.

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Could we be on the brink of the first trillion dollar holiday shopping season? I know it is still September but the first holiday forecast for 2015 is out from Deloitte and it expects total holiday sales to come in as high as $965 billion, an increase of 4 percent from last Christmas. "An improving labor market, increasing home values and relief at the pump gave more Americans reason to believe the economic recovery was gaining real traction this year," said Deloitte economist Daniel Bachman. They point out 90 percent of all sales will take place in stores and shopping centers but more consumers will use their smartphones and tablets to refine the shopping process.

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We'll miss you, Yogi.

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