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George Chamberlin's Money in the Morning

Four in a row for the Dow Industrials. Granted, the last couple of sessions haven't been very big gains, but the blue chip index has been steadily moving higher in 2013, up more than 3.0 percent in just nine trading sessions. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 were down slightly yesterday, the result of another down day for shares of Apple, dropping more than $18 a share. It has fallen again this morning and is back below $500.

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At 10 a.m., Facebook execs will meet with analysts who were invited to "come and see what we're building." The company has been mum about what the deal is all about and guesses include things like a new search engine or maybe even a smartphone. Odds are it will likely be mostly hype and nothing very dramatic.

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This morning's report on retail sales in December has to be a big disappointment to all of the doomsayers who kept telling us the holiday shopping season was a disaster. The Commerce Department reported sales last month were up 0.5 percent -- a very large monthly increase -- and the report even revised higher the sales reports for October and November. Everything from cars to furniture saw sales increases in December. Of course, MarketWatch.com put a negative spin on the news, saying, "Despite the increase in spending in the last month of 2012, consumers may not be in such a good mood for the new year." What the heck are they talking about? We are past the fiscal cliff, the housing market is on fire, the job market is improving and retailers are aggressively offering discounts to clear out inventory. If any of the pointy-headed analysts had actually gone into a mall or shopping center during the holidays they would have known it was a good season. These fools drive me crazy.

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Speaking of retailers, Wal-Mart is announcing this morning it will hire more than 100,000 veterans over the next five years. Speaking at a meeting of the National Retail Federation, CEO Bill Simon is promising to hire every veteran who wants a job. "Veterans have a record of performance under pressure. They're quick learners and they're team players. These are leaders with discipline, training and a passion for service," Simon said. I wonder how all the people who don't like Wal-Mart will try and put a negative spin on this announcement.

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There is good news for San Diego that may help you sleep better at night. According to pest control company Orkin, San Diego ranks number 32 on the list of cities infested by bed bugs. The ranking, which puts Chicago and Detroit at the top of the buggiest cities, is based on the number of bed bug treatments performed by Orkin specialists in each city. Other California cities were higher on the list including Los Angeles (number 3) and San Francisco (number 14). San Diego actually fell six places -- that is a good thing -- compared to last year.

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Nissan has announced a price cut for its electric vehicle, the Leaf. Sales have been disappointing, to put it mildly, so the company is shaving $6,000 off the price of the car, bringing the cost nationwide down to $28,800. However, here in California, with tax credits and rebates, the cost is now below $19,000. Of course, I still wonder if anybody here in San Diego, especially if they are a Charger fan, would buy a car with the name Leaf.

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